How to choose an LSAT tutor.
A quick look at craigslist will tell you there’s thousands of LSAT tutors out there, but how do you pick the one that’s going to work for you?
A good LSAT tutor can do wonders for your LSAT abilities but it’s got to be the right tutor. Ask all these questions and you should be well on your way to finding the right tutor for you.
Before committing hundreds or thousands of dollars to an LSAT tutor we recommend that you interview them. This can be a quick phone interview to start with followed by an in person interview once you’ve narrowed down your search.
Here’s a few things to ask your potential LSAT tutors:
How long have you been teaching or tutoring the LSAT for?
Many tutors have a great LSAT score but very little teaching experience. Over years of teaching teachers become more and more adept at portraying information to students in a way that is easy to learn. Also, the more students they have taught the more likely they are to catch on to your areas of weakness. By seeing the problems faced by dozens or hundreds of students a good teacher will develop a collection of teaching methods for different learning styles as well as an awareness of the different pitfalls that students get caught in. A high score alone is not sufficient as high scorers often have no idea about the problems the average student faces. Don’t get stuck paying top dollar for someone with only a years teaching experience.
What was your LSAT score?
While teaching experience is paramount, a good LSAT score is also important. It’s not necessary that they scored perfect but a solid 95th percentile or above is a good cut-off.
What are your LSAT teaching methods?
Some LSAT tutors will simply give you practice questions and then explain them to you. Others will send you off with a text book and then follow up from there. There are some limitations to these approaches and most of this kind of help you can find yourself either online or in a text book. The best LSAT tutors will actually have their own methods and systems for teaching. We recommend that they begin with a skills assessment and then develop a lesson plan that fits the areas you need to improve in. Be careful though, if tutors tell you they develop lesson plans or customize their teaching ask them to demonstrate or show you an example from a past student. Unfortunately many that teachers claim to offer custom solutions often fall short of this mark.
What does the LSAT tutoring cost?
LSAT tutoring can range from $25/hr on the very low end to $150+/hr on the high end. Most commercial LSAT prep companies charge in the neighborhood of $90-$125/hr. Price does not always equal quality in this area, the same is true for LSAT courses. Some of the more expensive tutors and LSAT courses have turned out to be the biggest waste of money. Don’t assume that a high price means high-quality. Do your research and interview the tutor directly to ensure they will offer something you’ll be happy with.
Free LSAT tutoring trial?
Many good LSAT tutors will offer a free trial of their services. This might just mean a few questions or a full hour of tutoring. It’s a great way to get to know whether their teaching style is right for you. If they don’t offer this, you can offer to pay for the trial if you choose them.
Do they have extra study materials and official LSAT exams available for you and is there a cost?
Find out now what kind of extras you’ll get and if there’s any fees associated with them. Most tutors should have access to lots of practice LSAT exams and be able to provide them to you. If you’re looking to put a number on these extras, the value of practice LSAT exams is about $5 each.
Do they work for or with a commercial LSAT test prep company?
Coming from someone who does, I’m the first to admit that there are pros and cons to this. Working for a commercial test prep company means they will likely have access to lots of great resources that they can pass on to you such as extra practice tests and possibly even text books or more. However, they may charge you for all the extras. Check first and ask if there are additional costs for extra practice exams or other study materials. Also, test prep companies tend to charge a premium for their services, this is often as much as double or even triple the going rate. You can often find a good private tutor for $50-$75/hr but commercial test prep companies often charge $90-$150/hr and more. The extra cost does not necessarily mean the tutor is better it’s just a result of the fact that you now have to pay two people, the tutor and the company. The verdict on tutors at commercial test prep companies, treat them just like a private tutor, interview your tutor ask them about their experience and what they offer and see if this justifies the added cost. If you can get the same out of a private tutor then go for it.
See your LSAT tutor in action
Even if you can’t arrange a free trial of their services, at the very least you will want to see how they teach. The best way to do this is to pick a few hard questions or questions that you find hard and ask them to explain it to you. If after the explanation you not only understand the question but think you have a better approach for questions of this type in the future then you’re probably on the right track. Many tutors scored high but just have no idea how to teach, and asking for a few quick explanations is the best way to find a good teacher. Make sure you put them on the spot with these questions. That means springing the questions on them either in person or on the phone so that they don’t have chance to research the answers or find a good explanation in a text book and email it to you.
Track your LSAT exam progress
Take a practice LSAT before you go see your tutor. Then keep taking practice Official LSAT exams as the weeks go by. Is your score improving? If not you may need a new tutor.
Good luck in your search for the perfect LSAT tutor!
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