As you head down the home stretch for the September LSAT, you may be thinking about whether you should invest in private tutoring. It’s a common question, and for many students a perfect solution to achieve that final score push just before test day. It’s also–and this is coming from someone who has watched the progress of countless LSAT tutoring students–incredibly fulfilling: you get to truly connect with someone entirely dedicated to helping make your unique goals attainable.
A question that most people have when they consider whether to invest in tutoring is what they can expect from their PowerScore tutor. The short answer is “a lot.” You’re paying for a top-flight, premium service. Even more than that, at PowerScore our first two Core Values are: 1) to deliver the best test preparation imaginable; and 2) to connect with every customer and provide killer service. Your PowerScore tutor will do everything possible to meet, and exceed, those two promises.
That said, this post is really about your role as a tutoring student. What should you do to get the most out of your tutoring experience?
First, you need to own it. Some students choose tutoring because they are unsure of themselves and want to hand over the reins to someone else. While I completely understand that impulse, and while it’s okay perhaps to start your tutoring sessions with this attitude, there is no doubt that those who take responsibility for their own LSAT preparation invariably get the most out of tutoring. This means they don’t simply wait for the tutor to give them an assignment or to bring up topics for study. Instead, they proactively take practice tests, select questions and concepts to cover, identify their weak spots, and think about possible solutions.
A person who is not taking responsibility for their test preparation will come to an hour-long session with only a practice question or two to go over, and no clear understanding of what sorts of issues they’d like to address. An optimal tutoring student will come to the session highly prepared and organized, having completed the work assigned and considered what to do with it moving forward. They may have several practice questions to cover. Or they may say, “I felt uncomfortable with the conditional rules in the third game of this test. Could you review with me the conditional reasoning topics pertinent to that game, discuss the errors I made, and point me to some other games in which similar concepts are being tested?”
That student’s question is music to any tutor’s ears. Not only are they prepared, but they are engaged, and they are being an advocate for their own success. The response to that student would be to directly address their concerns and expand, as appropriate, to related concepts, revealing additional ideas ripe for growth. Could that also occur with a less engaged student? Absolutely. But it would likely take longer and thus be less efficient for the student.
Of course, this doesn’t imply a lack of guidance! On the contrary, this proactive approach on your part allows your tutor’s advisement to be more effective, more appropriate, and ultimately more impactful.
Next, be open to challenging your views about the test. While it may seem counterintuitive, there are some people who pay for tutoring with an LSAT expert, yet who refuse to even try certain techniques recommended by the tutor. For example, we know that, for nearly everyone, reading the question stem first in Logical Reasoning questions is a hindrance, not a help. Yet some tutoring students will refuse to even try a practice test in which they commit to reading the stimulus first. Or, some students will balk at even testing out our Assumption Negation Technique, which provides a rare and powerful opportunity to double-check your work when doing Assumption questions.
This degree of stubbornness is akin to a person in a burning building who is terrified, yet refuses to follow the firefighter’s instructions. The person clearly knows he is in a bad position. But, even though his position is perilous, he takes comfort in the known, and can’t bring himself to move.
Give your tutor the benefit of the doubt. If you aren’t performing well, you may need to shake things up a bit. Be willing to work with your tutor and experiment with recommended techniques. Provide your tutor plenty of feedback, so he or she can know what’s working and what isn’t and make calculated adjustments as needed. You’d be surprised at the combination of factors that can go into a person’s LSAT score, and your tutor needs the context of your feedback to best prepare you for the test. Fortunately, for an expert tutor more information clarifies, rather than confuses, the issues you’re facing.
Finally, communicate, communicate, communicate. As you may have guessed from the two points above, communication is the key to getting the most out of tutoring. Let your tutor know how things are going, how you’re feeling, and what your concerns are. Stay in touch with updates between sessions. Remember, the person you’re working with is committed to your success, so knowing exactly what you’re up to before and after your discussions is welcome news! In short: your input and feedback are critical to helping your tutor help you. You’re a team, after all, and great teamwork is all about communication.
The decision to invest in LSAT tutoring is an important one. Make the most of your investment by taking responsibility for your preparation, being open to new approaches, and communicating early and often with your tutor as you progress.
Have questions or comments about private tutoring? Let us know below, or contact us directly to learn more: firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-545-1750.
Photo “Everest Basecamp Trek” courtesy of Ryan Kilpatrick.