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eGMAT vs Magoosh
A Comparative Analysis (based on ‘21 stats)
December 2, 2021
10 min read
Magoosh and e-GMAT seem similar to many students and there are good reasons for the same. Both companies started about a decade ago, have served thousands of students, and offer primarily self-paced learning courses. Both companies are self-funded for all practical purposes. Hence, in this post, I will address, how despite these similarities, our respective GMAT offerings are very different and how these differences have led to different outcomes. Post reading this post, you should be able to answer the following questions:
1. Which company’s offerings are a better match to my learning style?
2. How are their learning architecture and methodologies different?
3. Is e-GMAT better for non-natives and Magoosh for native speakers?
I understand that many of you may be skeptical given that an e-GMATer has written this post. However, we will try to be as objective and factual as possible. Every claim here is backed by data; data which you can verify independently. Having said that, feel free to report to us if you feel that any information here is misrepresented.
1. Comparative Success in 2021 – eGMAT vs Magoosh
Most of you aim for 700+ score. The reason why we (e-GMAT and Magoosh) exist is to help you (the diligent student) get there. Hence, the most objective means to compare any two companies is to compare the number of 700+ scores reported in 2021. Since both e-GMAT and Magoosh are partners on GMAT Club, one means to compare their respective effectiveness is to compare the number of 700+ scores reported through GMAT Club’s verified review process. The table below does that comparison:
both learning & practice
Overall, e-GMAT’s students have reported 17X as many 700+ scores as Magoosh’s students have. Note, in 2021, based on their web traffic, and Magoosh’s claim of having served 1.5M students across tests, we estimate that in 2021, Magoosh has served at least as many students as e-GMAT has. (The gap increases even further for 700+ scores reported in 2021 – 215 for e-GMAT, and 3 for Magoosh)
You may verify these numbers on GMAT Club.
Click here if you want to see this comparison since 2016. Click here if you need specific data on number of Q49+ or number of V38+ scores from 2016 to 2021. Why these thresholds – because both are 80th percentile numbers.
in the last 5 years
in the last 5 years
in the last 5 years
2. Learning Methods: Private Tutor vs. book based learning architecture
Contrasting learning architectures
The system is designed with a vision that regardless of a student’s starting ability, when they finish a module, they reach a certain minimum threshold ability or a launchpad for success. We call this process “normalization“.
e-GMAT and Magoosh follow very different learning architectures. e-GMAT follows a private-tutoring-based learning architecture where each learning concept is first taught through numerous examples and then student’s learning is evaluated in-place. Students who fail the evaluation are recommended remedial actions, ensuring that any conceptual gaps are addressed in place. Students who perform well are then taught how to apply concepts through specially designed application files. These application files, positioned right next to the concept files, have built in assessments to evaluate a student’s ability to apply these concepts. Students who falter while applying are given the corresponding remedial feedback. Overall, the system is designed with a vision that regardless of a student’s starting ability, when he finishes a module, he reaches a certain minimum threshold ability or has a solid launchpad for success. We call this process normalization.
The concept of normalization does not exist in Magoosh’s learning architecture. The system only knows that you have watched a video but has no means to evaluate (Read more)
Magoosh, on the other hand, follows book-based architecture, where many concepts are taught in bulk. These concepts, primarily non interactive videos, do not contain any purpose-built assessments to evaluate student’s learning. As a result, the system only knows that you have watched a video but has no means to evaluate whether you have truly mastered the underlying concepts. Similarly, the system does not teach you application at this stage, i.e. the equivalent of application files does not exist. Overall, the concept of normalization does not exist in Magoosh’s architecture. As a result, in the learning phase, many students, especially those who start with low abilities, may not be able to improve enough to be able to tackle GMAT Like questions.
2.1 Case Study – Comparing the SV modules
To illustrate the point above, I am comparing how Subject Verb (SV) is taught in the two courses. Why SV – because it is a small and well contained module and is easier to illustrate. However, everything that is true for the SV module is also true for other modules in Quant and Verbal.
The screenshot shows the SV module in the e-GMAT course. You will observe a few things:
Three are seven learning activities, all dedicated to Subject Verb, amounting to approx. 3 hours of learning. Each of the learning activities has an evaluation score. This score is personalized to the individual. Thirdly, there is practice built into each activity. In addition, there are specific practice quizzes. Lastly, you not only learn concepts, but you also learn how to apply these concepts through a dedicated application file. Your ability to apply these concepts is then tested in the subsequent Practice Quiz (2.7). Overall, you get 3+ hours of learning, 7 personalized feedback points, and 45+ examples and practice questions in Subject Verb.
Here is the corresponding coverage of Subject Verb in Magoosh’s course. Here are a few things you will observe.
First – there are 4 learning activities totaling to 28 minutes of content. These activities are not designed to give personalized feedback, i.e. they have no ability to assess your quality of learning. Next, there are no practice problems during the learning stage. Lastly, Magoosh’s course does not teach application while you learn concepts. In short, this learning architecture follows a typical book-based learning architecture where you learn all the concepts first and then solve questions. Overall, the table below summarizes this comparison.
both learning & practice
Extending the above to Quant and Verbal, e-GMAT offers about 6X as much content in the learning phase as Magoosh does. (350+ total hours of learning). (Read more)
3. Question Solving Methods – Logic vs. Splits
e-GMAT and Magoosh also follow very different question solving methods. While we will focus on Sentence Correction, to maintain consistency, the same holds true for other sub-sections in GMAT Verbal.
At e-GMAT, we follow the meaning-based approach to solve sentence correction questions. Thus, we believe in doing a lot of pre-work on the original question prompt, including identifying author’s intended meaning, and identifying at least one error in the original sentence before looking at answer choices. As a result, e-GMATers spend approximately 40% of the time on the original question prompt. Because of this extended prework, they are able to arrive at the correct answer very quickly.
Magoosh on the other hand follows the grammar-centric splits approach to solve sentence correction questions in which there is little focus on the intended meaning. As a result, students spend a lot more time with the answer choices and do a lot of back and forth between the original prompt and the answer choices.
Example – eGMAT's Meaning based approach:
Here is an example of the meaning-based approach. Note two things. The author:
Spends time on identifying the intended meaning and identifying errors in the original sentence.
Uses logic rather than complex grammatical rules to reject answer choices and to arrive at the correct answer.
Example – Magoosh's Splits approach:
Here is an example of the splits approach used by Magoosh. Note, here the author:
Spends very little time on the original prompt or on identifying the meaning.
Makes greater use of grammatical rules rather than logic to arrive at the correct answer.
These methods appeal to very different audiences. Grammarians would probably identify with the splits approach whereas the meaning-based approach may appeal more to folks who prefer logic over learning hundreds of rules. In addition, in 2021 , the meaning-based approach has a clear advantage when solving 700-level questions because many of these questions have one or more answer choice that is grammatically correct; i.e. the only way to select the correct answer is by using the intended meaning. Here is one such question.
4. Study Plans: Generic vs. Personalized
Let us take the case of student, Rhea who has a starting score of 630 and a target score of 730. Overall, this student needs about 100 points of improvement. Let us visualize this student’s 100-point improvement journey through Magoosh’s offering.
4.1 630 to 730 journey Using Magoosh Premium
One of the first things that this student would have to do is to choose a studystudy plan from this post. The student would have to choose between one-month and three-month study plans. The student would then simply execute on the study plan and hope that by the end of the same, they are able to improve to 730. Here are a few things to note.
Despite starting at a 65th percentile, the student would need to complete the entire Magoosh offering.
The student does not have any idea of the target sub-sectional abilities that the student needs to aim for.
Overall, Magoosh’s offering does provide one path that a 630 scorer (used here as an example) can traverse to reach their target GMAT score. This may not be the fastest way for nor the most optimized way for this student.
As a result, up to 60% of the time that the student spends may yield little benefit; why because this time is either spent on learning content that the student already knows or is spent on practicing and mastering questions that the student does not need to worry about. Let us see this with an example.
4.2 630 to 730 journey using e-GMAT’s personalized study plan
Let us take the same student, Rhea, who wants to improve from a 630 to a 730. Rhea will start her learning by building a personalized study plan using e-GMAT’s GMAT Planner. The GMAT Planner takes Rhea’s starting abilities and creates a personalized study plan. The plan is outlined below:
This plan shows precise starting abilities on the left and optimized starting abilities on right along with the time required to complete each sub section. It also includes a sequence in which Rhea will execute her plan. GMAT Planner uses AI to determine the shortest path to that 730 score for Rhea. It is also the path that she is most likely to execute successfully. The fact that Rhea has specific ability targets ensures that she knows when to measure her progress weekly rather than monthly through the tools (ability quizzes) provided by the e-GMAT platform. Rhea also gets a day-by-day calendar.
The planner than outlines the stage of learning that Rhea should start every subsection with.
For example, in SC and CR, Rhea does not need to learn concepts since she has demonstrated that she knows them. The same holds true for Arithmetic. However, in Algebra and Reading Comprehension (RC) she needs to start with the very basics. By avoiding spending time on content that Rhea already knows, this personalization helps her save time.
4.3 To summarize
True to its book-based learning architecture, Magoosh offers generic 1-month to 3-month study plans which may be effective for student starting at a score of 500 but are not optimized for students with 600+ scores. These study plans do not provide effective target abilities nor subsection specific time estimates. As a result, many students may end up wasting useful time either studying content they already know or studying content they don’t need to worry about.
e-GMAT’s GMAT Planner ensures that every student’s study plan is optimized for his strengths and weakness. As a result, every student spends time learning content that will help him achieve his target score in the shortest possible time and not waste time on content that he already knows. In addition, in every sub-section eGMATers work towards optimized milestones. Furthermore, using sub-sectional ability quizzes, eGMATers can validate their progress every week without resorting to taking mocks.
5. Support – Transactional vs. Purpose built
Both e-GMAT and Magoosh provide fast support. However, both companies look at support in very different ways. Hence, the support structure at both companies is very different. As usual, we will start with Magoosh.
5.1 Transactional support
"We're happy to help you with questions you have about any of our material. You can use the "Help" tab on the Dashboard or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll usually respond within 1-2 business days. We do have limitations to how much we can help any individual student, but in most cases (for 99% of students), we can answer all of your questions!"
The excerpt above is from Magoosh’s pricing page. Support at Magoosh is designed to be transactional. This means that when you have a problem, you write to the Magoosh’s team and they respond withing 1-2 business days. Now, this is the mode of interaction regardless of whether you have a study plan related doubt or a subject matter doubt.
5.2 e-GMAT: Purpose built support
Below is a screenshot from our pricing page. Here are a few things that you will observe. First – this support purpose built: There are specialist teams that help you with your study plans, subject matter doubts, score plateau queries, etc.
Second – we provide support not only on weekdays, but also on weekends.
Lastly, we have a specific support team – Last Mile Push that helps students improve from 680 to 740+.
All support at e-GMAT is not transactional. For example, our students get invited to weekly onboarding sessions. In these sessions, they work directly with our Strategy experts who address any doubts they have about their personalized study plans.
Similarly, our subject matter support is provided through an innovative item-based forum. This architecture ensures that it is easy for you to ask a doubt. It also ensures that 95% of your doubts get answered even before you ask them, saving your precious time. Also, you can bookmark responses to these doubts and revise them on a weekly basis, ensuring you don’t repeat mistakes.
Read this article to learn how our support architecture keeps you motivated and pushes you to achieve your best score on the GMAT.
6. Overall Summary
While both e-GMAT and Magoosh served thousands of students, they offer very different courses and the results that they have delivered are hence very different. Magoosh courses are built on a traditional book-based architecture where there is little feedback and learning whereas e-GMAT’s courses are built on a private-tutoring-based architecture that provides more than 500-points of personalized feedback. In addition, both companies have a very different approach to study plans and to support.
In terms of results, on GMAT Club, e-GMAT’s students have reported 20X as many 700+ scores as Magoosh’s students have (2021 statistic), even though both companies served a very similar number of students in 2021.