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Whether you’re looking to work or attend a university in an English-speaking country, getting a high score on the IELTS can make or break your chances of success.
Before you spend a lot of time and money on an IELTS prep course, it’s important to understand exactly what you’re getting with your investment and if it will meet your needs.
Magoosh is one of the popular budget options out there when it comes to IELTS prep. But, is this course the right one for you?
To help you decide whether Magoosh IELTS prep can help you achieve the highest band score you can on test day, we’ve spent countless hours combing over their lessons and materials. And, with our background in exam prep products, we’re able to provide you with the most in-depth course review.
By the time you finish this review article, you’ll have all the information you need to make a decision about whether Magoosh is the ideal IELTS prep course for you.
Magoosh IELTS offers high-quality lesson content and about 900 practice questions to help you improve your performance on test day. Better yet, they’re one of the best values available, making their courses accessible for most budgets.
Is the Magoosh IELTS Prep Course Right for You?
Who we recommend the course for:
- Students who can keep themselves on a study schedule and prefer self-guided learning
- Anyone looking for subject-specific refreshers or reviews
- Those looking for a budget-friendly course option
- Someone looking for writing and speaking assessments
Who we don’t recommend the course for:
- Students who need one-on-one instruction or private tutoring
- Someone who cannot manage their own study schedule
- People who prefer interactive learning
Magoosh IELTS Prep Overview
Magoosh is 100% online and can be accessed from any personal device with internet access. Their courses are self-paced and self-guided, so you’ll need to be able to keep yourself on task while completing the lessons and course work.
There are two options - Premium (one month) and Premium (6 months). The one-month premium course includes 30 days of access, while the 6-month premium course includes 180 days of access.
At this time, Magoosh IELTS Prep doesn’t provide options for private instruction or tutoring, and the lessons are pre-recorded.
Still, the information is delivered in an easily digestible way, and users are able to ask unlimited questions with their “Ask-an-Expert” feature.
Magoosh IELTS Prep Course Highlights
Both Magoosh Premium course offerings provide essentially the same features, with only very slight distinctions between the two.
Whether you go with the one-month or 6-month option, here’s what to expect with the course:
- Video Lessons: There are approximately 135 IELTS video lessons provided with instructor narration. The lessons range from an introduction to the IELTS and what to expect with the exam, to basic exam prep skills, to more advanced grammar concepts.
- Practice Tests: Both options offer up to 10 full-length mock tests to practice your skills. That’s a significant number of attempts to see what you might expect come test day.
- Practice Questions: Both plan options offer about 900 practice questions with videos to explain the answers.
- Graded Speaking and Writing Assessments: Whether you go with the 1-month or 6-month option, you’ll have at least one graded speaking assessment and one graded writing assessment. The 6-month plan has access to three additional speaking assessments (4 total) and three additional writing assessments (4 total).
- Ask-an-Expert: Even though the course is self-guided, Magoosh provides unlimited access to IELTS prep experts with their “Ask-an-Expert” feature. So, if you have more questions or want extra help with a certain topic, you can reach out as much as you’d like.
It doesn’t matter what a prep course offers or how many lessons it provides if the instruction isn’t good quality.
Lesson quality is one area where Magoosh really does a great job with its offerings. While you can skip around to different topics if you choose to, the lessons are laid out in a sequence that builds up to more advanced topics as you progress through the course.
For example, the first 13 lessons are all focused on the general format of the IELTS, overviews of the different sections, and help to create your study schedule depending on how far away your test date is.
Then, the lessons go into basic IELTS skills like how to skim and scan while reading, and how to build your vocabulary.
The lessons go on like this, becoming more advanced as you continue through each segment.
We like that the lessons are mostly short (under 15 minutes), so you can really take advantage of any study time that you have without having to devote hours at a time sitting in front of your device.
Each lesson is a slideshow-style video narrated by the instructor. The instructor often uses a marking feature to underline or make notes on the slide to further engage the student, which makes the lesson more engaging and authentic.
We also really like the closed captions option and the transcript that’s displayed just below the video. For many students, it’s easier to read while listening along, especially on more complex and complicated topics.
And, the transcript even highlights the narration in real-time so you can keep up if you prefer to read while listening.
Each lesson also has a text box right next to the video screen for notes you can take along the way or work on some practice of your own.
We also found the playback speed adjustment option to be helpful, especially on topics where you maybe just need a quick review. That way, you can listen and see the content but at up to 2x faster than the original playback speed.
Another thing that Magoosh does really well with their lessons is covering techniques for answering each question type on the IELTS.
They have videos for all the kinds of questions you’ll see in the reading section as well as what to expect during the listening portion of the exam.
The instructors do an excellent job giving examples of the types of questions you’ll see, strategies for answering, as well as some common techniques the IELTS uses to try to trip you up during the exam.
We found these question type-specific videos to be highly valuable when preparing for the IELTS, and they’re a big part of what Magoosh offers.
Most of the lessons are loaded into the listening, speaking, reading, and writing topics. However, that’s to be expected as you’ll be focusing most of your attention on preparing for those sections on the IELTS.
Still, Magoosh offers video lessons across many grammar-specific subjects, broken down into individual videos for each grammar topic.
We like the lesson layout here because it allows the user to skip the more basic grammar videos if they don’t need to review while focusing on those that they need more help with.
Having used and reviewed different exam prep products like Magoosh, it’s clear to us that their lessons and content will provide you with a solid foundation to prepare for the IELTS.
The only thing we would have liked to see more of was an opportunity to practice the skills throughout the lessons or immediately following the instruction.
Overall, we found their instructional materials and lesson quality to be very good and their course offerings are impressive, especially for being 100% online and self-paced.
Magoosh provides users with an easy-to-navigate dashboard and platform. It’s extremely user-friendly whether you’re on a desktop computer or mobile device.
When you first log in, the landing page will be your dashboard. There, you’ll find all your progress on the lessons so far, how many practice questions you have left to do, and links to any notes you took during the lessons.
You can also see how you’re doing compared to other students, so you know if you may need to pick up the pace or if you may have some time to slow down a bit.
From the dashboard, you can click on the “see all lessons” link to go to the complete video lesson library. There are also suggested lessons that are pulled to your dashboard screen based on your progress through the course.
The lesson library is laid out in a very organized manner, with the simplest lessons at the start and the most advanced grammar concepts toward the end.
This format makes it simple to navigate and easy to decide where you might want to jump in and get started.
Plus, there’s an easy to find and use “Help” icon right at the bottom of the screen, so Magoosh experts are always just a click away.
Review of Magoosh IELTS Practice Material
Practice Questions in Lessons and Drills
As we previously discussed, Magoosh IELTS offers about 900 practice questions across the four sections you’ll see on the IELTS.
There are far more reading and listening questions than speaking and writing, but the skills on each part of the exam help provide extra practice for the others.
So, no matter what part of the exam you’re practicing for, you’re still focusing on skills that will improve your performance on test day.
Since Magoosh doesn’t provide opportunities to practice skills throughout the lessons, you’ll have to click on the dedicated practice sections to complete questions and drills.
However, Magoosh does an excellent job organizing the practice questions and providing a good mix of difficulty levels.
You can either jump into practice questions right from your dashboard (“quick practice”), or you can set up the questions like a quiz or practice test from the “practice” menu.
Under “custom practice,” you can start your practice session under the section of your choice and you can even select the specific subjects you want to focus on.
You can set the question pool from the complete question bank or only use the ones you haven’t answered yet, and you can even give yourself a time limit.
We like that you can set it up in practice mode or quiz mode so you can decide whether you want the answers and explanations to display after each question or all together at the end.
By using this feature, you can essentially create your own practice test focused on the topics you need the most practice in.
Full-Length Practice Tests
Magoosh offers “up to” 10 full-length practice tests, but it’s important to know that the practice test questions come from the same question bank as your practice and drills. So, if you go through all the practice questions on your own, you will not have any new or unique questions you haven’t seen before when you complete your practice exams.
Still, with their extensive question bank, there’s a very good possibility you won’t finish all the practice questions outside of the practice exams. So, you should be able to still have a good test simulation experience.
When you begin your IELTS mock test, Magoosh first provides information to help you get the best prep experience. The instructions recommend having a pen and paper for notes and that you set aside 3 hours and 15 minutes of undisrupted time to complete the test.
While you have the ability to pause between sections to go to the restroom or take a break, you won’t be able to do that on the actual test day. So, Magoosh recommends you try to work straight through to build up your test-taking stamina.
There are some other features available on the practice test version that are useful for studying and prepping, but that you won’t find on test day.
For example, underlining and highlighting features won’t be available during the IELTS beyond what the facilitator tells you is allowed with your pencil and scrap paper.
You also can’t go back to previous sections during the exam, and you can’t listen to audio more than once. These are things that you will be able to do during your Magoosh practice exam.
Compared to the questions and difficulty level that you might find on the actual IELTS, much of what Magoosh provides (especially in the reading section) is more difficult. Depending on your perspective, this could be a good thing or a bad thing.
We think it’s beneficial for the practice content to be more difficult than the actual exam content. If you can get through the harder questions, then you’ll know you don’t need to worry when you get to the real test.
Still, some users report feeling discouraged from being marked “wrong” on questions that are exceptionally tricky and don’t necessarily reflect what you’ll find during the real IELTS.
The listening sections are very similar to what you’ll experience on test day. They’re clear and easy to follow, and the difficulty level is close to the real exam. But, you should remember that you won’t be able to pause the audio or listen more than once during the IELTS, so you should avoid doing so during your practice sessions as much as possible.
Quality of Answer Explanations
Magoosh does a very good job of providing thorough video explanations for each practice question. This is one of the best tools available for preparing for IELTS, in our opinion.
Sometimes, the difference between a correct answer and an incorrect answer is extremely subtle. Magoosh video explanations provide extremely detailed responses to guide you through the question and answer process, including how to avoid common pitfalls and not miss the same type of question again.
After the video explanation, Magoosh also suggests related lessons that may be useful if you need more practice with other similar topics.
There’s also a textbox for notes where you can type anything useful to help you remember what you learned and not make the same mistake in the future.
Magoosh provides the correct answers in text and video format for each question across all four parts of the prep materials. If you’re still having trouble or you don’t believe the provided answer is correct, the trusty “Help” button is just a click away.
The writing and speaking portions of the IELTS are typically some of the most stressful for students to prepare for. When you complete your exam, those writings and recordings will be sent off for another person to grade subjectively, and you may never feel fully prepared for it.
Still, Magoosh provides plenty of opportunities to help you feel as ready as possible ahead of the IELTS.
Between the countless hours of video explanations, the “help” feature that’s always a click away, and their unlimited “Ask-an-Expert” offerings, Magoosh does a great job of providing support every step of the way.
If you submit a question to one of their experts, you should expect a response within 24-48 hours, which is a reasonable turnaround time and better than some of the other companies out there.
When you do the practice speaking and writing assessments, they provide detailed and useful feedback to help you improve.
We used the graded writing and speaking assessments, and we were pleasantly surprised with the thorough feedback we received. Each assessment was returned with an outline describing what we did well, what we needed to improve on, and some tips for what we can do to help.
The writing assessment scoring outlined specific examples of grammar errors, punctuation mistakes, spelling errors, and other mechanical concerns. Magoosh also provided tips to elevate the writing and make better word choices.
The speaking assessment included details about misused or mispronounced words, grammar errors, or times when it was difficult to understand the speaker. They also provided specific advice about how to improve word choice or sentence structures to sound more natural when speaking.
The only thing we noticed was that there was an occasional recommendation that we didn’t agree with. For example, one assessment recommended rephrasing “reduces paper waste” as “reduces wastage of paper.” We know that native English speakers don’t say “wastage of paper,” but that was really the only glaring error that we found during the assessment scoring.
Magoosh IELTS Pricing
One month of Magoosh IELTS Premium starts at $109, while the 6-month Premium option starts at $129. That means that the monthly price for the 6-month premium comes out to $21.50 per month, or they offer a 4-month payment plan of $25.80 per month.
So, if you purchased the single month option and renewed it for a second month, you’d already be paying significantly more than the price for the 6-month Premium option.
In addition to these savings, Magoosh often runs specials on their website offering as much as 20% off their already discounted prices.
Compared to the other IELTS course options out there, Magoosh has them all beat when it comes to value. If you’re looking for a prep course on a budget, they really have the right idea.
Plus, you get many high quality features and exceptional content at a fraction of the price of some of the other IELTS prep courses available.
We see their budget-friendly offerings as proof of their commitment to helping all families and students succeed in their academic endeavors.
Other Features and Resources
All the prep companies out there pack their pages with added offerings and resources in an attempt to improve the value of their product. Most of the time, these are features that you don’t really need and they just serve to justify their higher prices.
Magoosh isn’t really one of those kinds of companies because they already provide a lower price point than many of their competitors. Still, there are some added features they offer making them an even better value.
Dedicated Mobile Apps for IELTS Prep
In addition to being able to access your lessons and practice materials on any web-enabled device, Magoosh also has apps to help you prepare for the IELTS.
They offer both the Magoosh IELTS Prep App and the Magoosh IELTS Vocabulary Flashcards App to help you study on the go. Magoosh apps are compatible on both iOS and Android devices.
Apps provide over 40 additional video lessons in both grammar and exam topics. Plus, you can access the Ask-an-Expert feature straight from the app if you have more questions.
The IELTS Vocabulary Flashcards App gives you access to over 600 vocab flashcards to help you review vocabulary words, their parts of speech, definitions, and example sentences. We like the flashcards because they also have audio clips so you can hear the correct pronunciation of each word.
Pause Your Account
There may be times when you’re just too busy to dedicate enough time to studying. That’s okay - it’s life! Still, it can be frustrating to continue to pay for a service you’re not using, or lose some of your valuable access time that you will need later.
Magoosh takes care of that problem with the option to pause your account or subscription. On a normal basis, you can use the pause feature once per month, but you may be able to pause more frequently by sending an email request or using the “help” function.
Magoosh IELTS Blog and Podcasts
For extra resources, study plans, and additional writing help, you can check out the Magoosh Blog or their podcast library. There, you’ll find plenty of free resources to help you prepare for the IELTS.
Whether you want to learn more about a specific section on the exam or just get some tips for test day, you’ll find all sorts of useful information on the Magoosh website and blog.
Trial, Score Improvement, and Money-Back Policies
Availability of Free Trial
Magoosh IELTS offers a risk-free seven day trial period. Access to the trial doesn’t require any credit card or payment information or contracts to sign. It’s simply access to Magoosh IELTS Prep content for a full week without any risk to you.
During the 7-day trial, you’ll have access to Magoosh IELTS video lessons and practice questions, just like you would during a paid subscription.
The trial period includes:
- Over 20 questions from the Magoosh IELTS practice question bank
- Over 20 video lessons
- Access to free online resources
- Access to mobile apps
The only things you won’t have access to during the trial are added features like the graded writing and speaking assessments, “Ask-an-Expert” access, score improvement guarantees, and full-length mock tests.
Score Increase Guarantee
Magoosh IELTS promises that you’ll achieve your target band score or they’ll provide you with a full refund. Of course, there are some requirements you’ll have to complete on your end to qualify for the guarantee.
Still, this is one of the few score improvement guarantees we found where you tell Magoosh what your desired target score is ahead of time. Then, they’ll give you advice to guide you toward your goal score.
To qualify for the target band score guarantee, Magoosh requires that you follow their expert advice throughout the course. That means you’ll need to:
- Watch all of the video lessons
- Complete at least two mock tests
- Complete all of the practice questions
- Complete all of the speaking assessments
- Complete all of the writing assessments
- Follow your study schedule
- Use the “Ask-an-Expert” feature for help
It’s important to remember that you’ll need to send your target score to Magoosh before your exam date. Otherwise, you won’t qualify for the guarantee.
After you take the official IELTS, if you don’t achieve your target band score, you’ll just have to send Magoosh a copy of the score report. Then, they’ll give you a full refund for the course.
Another way that Magoosh stands behind their product is with their refund policy, or their money-back guarantee.
If you start the course and decide that it’s not for you, that’s perfectly fine. Magoosh gives you a full seven days to decide whether or not you like the course.
If you decide that you don’t want to proceed with the prep course, all you have to do is email Magoosh and let them know that you want to cancel your subscription. Then, they’ll provide you with a full refund - no questions asked.
Which Magoosh IELTS Prep Course Should You Get?
The two options for Magoosh IELTS Prep are essentially the same course materials. The one-month option provides access for a single month, while the 6-month option gives you 180 days of access to their content and materials.
Still, with a price difference starting at only $20, you really can’t go wrong with the Premium 6-month course option.
In terms of value for your money, you’ll get five additional months of access along with three extra graded writing assessments and three more graded speaking assessments.
So, you should definitely go with the Premium 6-months option if you…
- Plan to study for more than 30 days
- Would like more than one attempt at your graded speaking assessment
- Want to complete more than one graded writing assessment
- Are taking the IELTS more than 6 months from now
On the other hand, if you’re only going to study for four weeks or less, or you’re not interested in more writing and speaking practice, the one-month option might be best for you.
How Does Magoosh IELTS Prep Course Compare to Other Courses?
Knowing how Magoosh IELTS compares to some of the other prep course options out there will help you make the best decision for your situation. Before you invest your time and money into any single course, let’s look at how Magoosh IELTS stacks up against their competitors.
Magoosh IELTS Prep vs. BestMyTest IELTS Prep
- Magoosh provides up to 10 full-length mock tests, while BestMyTest offers 20 full-length, 3-hour IELTS simulations.
- Magoosh promises you’ll achieve your target score band or you’ll get your money back, compared to BestMyTest which offers up to a 2.5 band score improvement guarantee.
- You can purchase either one month or six months of Access to Magoosh IELTS Prep, while BestMyTest offers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 months of access, or one year of premium access. There’s also a seven-day option for last-minute exam preppers with BestMyTest.
Magoosh IELTS Prep vs. E2Language IELTS Prep
- Magoosh IELTS is 100% self-paced learning while E2Language Prep offers both self-paced and live classes.
- E2Language Prep offers one-on-one tutoring while Magoosh IELTS does not provide this option.
- Magoosh IELTS has about 900 practice questions compared to E2Language with just 100+ practice questions in their packages.
- E2Language packages only include 1 full-length mock test, while Magoosh provides up to 10 practice tests.
Magoosh IELTS Prep vs. The Road to IELTS by The British Council
- The Road to IELTS course from The British Council offers just 13 video lessons and tutorials, compared to Magoosh IELTS which includes about 135 video lessons.
- The British Council’s Road to IELTS (full version) gives you access to 36 practice tests. Magoosh IELTS includes up to 10 full-length practice tests.
- Magoosh IELTS offers comprehensive graded assessments and feedback for writing and speaking sections, while The British Council does not include this in their IELTS prep courses.
- Video explanations are provided after each practice question with Magoosh, while The British Council’s Road to IELTS only gives you an answer key with the correct responses.
Magoosh IELTS Prep FAQs
Is Magoosh effective for IELTS?
Absolutely. Based on our comprehensive review of the prep course and materials provided by Magoosh, we can confidently say that it’s an effective course for preparing to take the IELTS so long as you complete the course as intended.
Still, it’s important to remember that Magoosh is a self-paced course. So, if you’re not a motivated learner who can stay on-track with your lessons, you may want to go with an option that includes one-on-one or live instruction.
Is Magoosh harder than the actual IELTS?
We found the difficulty level of Magoosh practice questions to be comparable to what you’ll actually see on the IELTS. When there was a difference, most users reported that Magoosh was more difficult than the real exam. We think that’s a benefit because if you can get through the more difficult Magoosh questions, you should have no problem on test day.
Is Magoosh IELTS free?
No. The Magoosh IELTS Prep course is not free, but they do have plenty of free resources available on their website. However, Magoosh does offer a risk-free seven-day trial where you can access their practice questions and video lessons for a full week. Plus, they offer a money-back guarantee if you don’t like the course, along with a score-improvement guarantee.
Is one month enough time to prepare for the IELTS?
Even though Magoosh offers a one-month option, we don’t think it’s enough time to fully prepare for the IELTS. Of course, there’s no official minimum time to study, but most experts and test-takers agree that you’ll need at least 4-6 months to feel fully prepared.
But, if you find yourself in a time crunch and only have 30 days or less to get ready, Magoosh can help you get some last-minute studying done and hopefully improve your score.