The college admissions process can be daunting for parents today. From letters of recommendation to essays and community service, it’s hard to make sure your child has everything they need to get into their dream school.
Of course, one key component for a competitive application is a high standardized test score. If your child decides to take the ACT, you’ll want to help them find the best way to prepare for the test to set them up for success.
Luckily, there are tons of great ACT prep courses out there. We already did an overview of the Best ACT Prep Courses for 2022, but now we’re going to dive deeper into our top picks. This review focuses on the Magoosh ACT Prep Course.
Is the Magoosh ACT Prep Course Right for Your Child?
Who we recommend the course for:
- Video-lovers: If your child loves video-based lessons, then the Magoosh ACT prep will likely be a good fit. From the very first lesson, the Magoosh ACT experts explain everything you need to know about the test in their engaging videos.
- Busy Students: If your child is typically running from school to extracurricular activities, jobs, and other obligations, the Magoosh Test Prep App can make studying for the ACT possible with a busy schedule.
Who we don't recommend the course for:
- Structured Studiers: If your child is a student who prefers the structure of a guided class with specific meeting times, then the Magoosh self-paced ACT prep course isn’t a good fit.
- Pen and Paper Test-Takers: Everything about the Magoosh ACT prep course is online. Whether you’re reading and taking notes on your laptop or watching lessons on your phone, you won’t be using a pen and paper or a hard copy of a book for this prep course.
Magoosh ACT Prep Review
Magoosh has two options for ACT prep. The first is a fully self-paced program with 12-month access. However, for those who want extra guidance and support, Magoosh also offers the Premium + Live Classes package, with 16 hours of live instruction from the Magoosh ACT experts.
Magoosh ACT prep course similarities
Let’s take a look at what the two Magoosh ACT courses have in common:
- 12-month access to the Magoosh ACT platform: Both courses allow students full access to the Magoosh platform on their computer and phone for one year to prepare for the ACT.
- +4 point score improvement: Whether you opt for the completely self-guided program or the live class add-on, students who complete the Magoosh ACT prep course are eligible for the 4+ point score improvement guarantee, which we will cover in detail later.
- 250 Video Lessons: Both courses offer the same video lessons and video explanations for every practice question the student completes on the platform.
Magoosh ACT prep course distinctions
- Live Classes: The regular Magoosh ACT course is completely self-guided, while the extra live classes give students the chance to learn live from the top instructors at Magoosh. Students will gain 16 hours of live instruction by selecting this option.
- Pricing: Of course, with the addition of 16 hours of live instructions, there is an extra cost. While the regular Magoosh ACT course is regularly $129, the live class add-on package is $399.
The Magoosh ACT lessons are primarily video-based. However, you can also read the transcriptions if you prefer. Lessons are divided into sections and modules. For instance, the English section has 12 modules, while the Math section has 20 modules.
Within each module, there are several video lessons and interactive quizzes. The length of the modules and videos vary, but videos typically range from 5-10 minutes, while the full modules are around 30 minutes long.
The videos include the lesson presentation accompanied by a voiceover from the Magoosh ACT instructor. One interesting thing is that each lesson contains information about the instructor, so you can see their credentials and experience. You can also turn on the captions if you want to read the text along with the video.
Additionally, we liked that there is a section for taking notes in the lessons and providing feedback to Magoosh based on your experience. The instructors are very personable and clear in their explanations.
Typically, a video will contain a question with notes that break down the key concepts. The videos conclude with the key takeaways from the lesson. After completing a module, you have the chance to take a quiz to demonstrate your understanding. To 'pass' the lesson, you need to get a certain number of questions right on the quiz. For example, a 5-question quiz might require 3 correct answers to move on.
Let’s take a look at some of the core modules in each section of the ACT. There are beginner, intermediate, and advanced lessons within the guided practice covering tons of topics for each section of the ACT. Below we list a few of the topics reviewed:
- English Section
- Parts of Speech
- Knowledge of Language
- Math Section
- Data Analysis
- Math strategies
- Word problems
- Reading Section
- Key ideas
- Craft and structure
- Integration of Knowledge
- Science Section
- Passage Types
- Interpretation of Data
- Test-taking strategies
- Writing Section
- Introduction to the Writing Section
- Time Management
One thing that we didn’t like about the lessons was that they aren’t tailored to a student’s specific level. Despite learning your strengths and weaknesses during your diagnostic test, students will be encouraged to go through all lessons (beginner, intermediate, and advanced), even if they prove to be starting at a higher level.
Live Classes are available with the Magoosh ACT prep course. The Live Class option includes 2-hours classes twice per week, adding up to 16 hours of instruction.
The instructors for the classes are the Magoosh expert instructors who scored in the 99th percentile on the ACT. Most of the instructors seem engaging and the live classes give students the chance to ask questions in real-time and get personalized feedback.
Another thing that is helpful about the live classes is that students can also hear from other students who are in the same situation. Sometimes hearing from a peer about how they approach a problem or how they study can be beneficial.
The Magoosh online ACT course platform is easy to navigate and user-friendly. Students will start at their dashboard. On the dashboard, they can see their timeline for preparing for the test, how long they've studied, performance levels for each test section, and a list of additional resources.
Additionally, we downloaded the Magoosh app on a smartphone to test out the user experience there, and were pleasantly surprised to find that students could access many of the resources for free (without a premium membership). There were about 34 hours of video lessons available for free on the app. There were also over 700 practice questions
We preferred watching the video lessons on a smartphone because they are so short and easy to digest on the go. However, it was hard to approach the practice questions on a smartphone, specifically for the math problems. The video quality was exactly the same on the app as it was on the website.
Review of Magoosh ACT Practice Questions & Tests
Practice questions in lessons and drills
The Premium plan includes over 1300 practice questions for English, Math, Reading, and Science. The English and Math sections each have slightly over 400 questions, while the Reading includes over 200 questions and the Science includes close to 200 questions.
Students can choose to complete their guided practice by watching videos and doing quizzes between lessons and modules, or they can create custom practice sections. This allows them to pick the number of questions or tasks and the specific topics to cover.
Additionally, students can choose a time limit for their practice. Furtherfore, students can take the quiz in practice mode, where they get explanations after each question, or in quiz mode, which treats it more like a real test with the answers revealed at the end.
Full-length practice test experience
Students can take up to 4 full-length ACT practice tests. These questions are comparable in their difficulty level to the questions they will see on the test. Additionally, the format of the questions is right on point.
Another good thing we noted is the practice tests prioritize questions that you haven't completed yet in your lessons. Hopefully, this ensures that you don't get repetitive practice.
Additionally, students are prompted to start each section of the test separately. For instance, they can complete an English practice section and skip the Math if they are already comfortable with that material. By completing a full practice test students gain access to the Magoosh score estimator. This allows them to see how they're progressing and which areas they need to work on under the true testing conditions.
Quality of answer explanations
The answer explanations are video-based. This allows students to either watch the instructor solve the problem and walk through the steps or read the transcript if they want a quick overview.
The answer explanations are thorough and outline each step of the process. The videos might be worded slightly differently from the text-based answer explanations. However, both options allow students to see where they went wrong and take notes for the future.
Magoosh prides itself on offering 24/7 student support for its Premium ACT prep course. Within the platform, students can submit questions via the help icon. This allows the student to specify what they need help with as well as provide their email address to receive a response. In addition, students may attach files to better explain what they are having trouble with, which is specifically helpful for content-based questions.
When we submitted a question to Magoosh, we received a response later that day. This response was thorough and even included screenshots to show us where we might have missed a feature that could help.
There doesn't appear to be a community forum for asking questions about the Magoosh ACT prep course, but it does provide FAQs on their page and links to the blog with other resources to help.
Magoosh ACT Pricing
The regular price for the Magoosh Premium 12-month ACT access is $129. The cost of the Premium + Live Class option is $399.
However, we noticed when we signed up for the Premium program, we also received a notice that we could upgrade to the live classes for an additional $199.
Magoosh also allows for payment plans. For the Premium Plan, you can make 4 monthly payments of $32.25 and for the Live Class option, you can make 4 monthly payments of $99.75.
Other Features and Resources
Magoosh offers two mobile apps for their prep courses. First, there is the ACT Test Prep app with video lessons and practice questions. Second, there is a Magoosh ACT Flashcard app that allows students to focus on English, Math, and Science concepts. The flashcards are also available online via the website.
Another great feature that Magoosh offers is an online textbook. This is nearly 300 pages with content covering all the core areas of the ACT and the pdf is easily searchable for those who want to jump to specific sections.
There is also an option to download pdf tests. While the full practice test experience on the Magoosh platform is meant to be online, students can opt to take a pen and paper test as well and enter their answers manually.
Trial, Score Improvement, and Money Back Policies
Availability of free trial
Magoosh ACT offers a 7-day free trial. In addition, if you sign up for the premium plan and are unhappy after 7 days, you can get a full refund.
The free trial is available without submitting credit card information and includes access to all the video lessons and practice questions for one full week.
Score increase guarantee
Magoosh offers students a full refund on both the Premium self-paced course and the Premium + Live Class course for students who do not improve their overall ACT score by at least 4 points. However, like most companies, students and parents will have to ensure they meet all the requirements of the score guarantee.
Here are some of the requirements:
- Take the exam before studying with Magoosh.
- The old score must be valid (i.e. less than 5 years old).
- Email Magoosh a copy of your "Before" score report when you sign up.
Therefore, it is very important to make sure your child has taken the ACT before studying with Magoosh if they want to qualify for the score increase guarantee.
This seemed like reasonable requirements. However, we noticed additional stipulations in the fine print regarding the refund policy for the Live Class course.
With live classes, Magoosh guarantees you'll improve your score by 4 points. However if you don't, you can choose between a refund for the Magoosh prep software ($129) OR free enrollment in another live class.
Money back policy
If a student doesn't like the Magoosh ACT prep course in the first 7 days, they can get a full refund. Their policy states that if you Email Magoosh within the first 7 days to cancel, you'll receive your money back.
Which Magoosh ACT Prep Course Should You Get
After reviewing all the features, we recommend the Magoosh Premium course without the Live Class add-on, at least to start. We say this because the premium self-paced course seems to be comprehensive enough to cover everything you need, and the cost to add on the live classes is over $200, which is a big jump.
However, if you start with the Premium self-guided plan and then decide you want the live classes, Magoosh may provide an upgrade offer for less than the full cost of the Premium + Live Class regular price.
How Does Magoosh ACT Prep Course/Courses Compare to Other Courses?
Magoosh ACT prep vs PrepScholar ACT prep
- Magoosh's one-year premium access costs $129, but PrepScholar's 12-month program is $397
- PrepScholar does not offer a mobile app for ACT prep
- PrepScholar and Magoosh both offer a 4+ point score increase guarantee
- PrepScholar boasts 40+ hours of instruction for their ACT course, but Magoosh offers over 250 video lessons and their app offers about 34 hours of instruction for free.
Magoosh ACT prep vs Kaplan ACT prep
- The one year access to Magoosh’s ACT prep costs $129, while the Kaplan program is $119 for 6 months
- Kaplan does not offer a mobile app for ACT prep
- Kaplan also has an option to add on 1:1 ACT tutoring, while Magoosh does not offer tutoring
- Kaplan offers 5 official practice tests vs. Magoosh’s 4
- Kaplan's self-paced course only offers 30 video lessons, while Magoosh has about 200 video lessons
- Kaplan offers a 1+ point score guarantee vs. Magoosh’s 4+ point guarantee
Magoosh ACT Prep FAQs
To conclude this review article, we decided to include some of the frequently asked questions about the Magoosh ACT prep course:
Is Magoosh ACT Prep Free?
While the Magoosh Premium ACT prep is not free, you can download the Magoosh ACT Prep app and do tons of free practice. There are over 700 practice questions and approximately 34 hours of videos. This is a solid first step for those unsure about investing in the Magoosh Premium ACT prep course.
Is Magoosh a good ACT prep?
Magoosh is known for having an excellent self-paced test prep course. With engaging video lessons and interactive practice, the Magoosh ACT Prep is a great option for busy students that want to reach their goal score.