Tests and Admissions

How to Choose Between Tutor and Prep Course

So, you now have confidence and positive attitude towards test you are aiming to take. But, you feel that you did not learn enough materials in your coursework that you want to seek help from a tutor. Your parents, on the other hand, suggest that prep courses may be better. Both sound like a good idea, and you have friends who have done well in either way (and friends who didn’t do well in both methods).

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Image is credited to franlhughes.

It’s not simple as just choosing between two though. Let’s say you won and you decided to find a tutor. Should you do it through prep companies like Kaplan, Princeton Review, and Powerscore? Or, should you consider local tutors or small companies like Examkrackers (MCAT) or Sylvan Learning (SAT)? There are levels of tutors, and each tutor charges different amount per week – varying from $50/hour to $200/hour for some expensive tutors, such as few LSAT tutors in NYC.

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Prep course tutoring is complicated as well. Do you want to do in-class tutoring or online tutoring? Some online course tutorings have schedule – as in, on Tuesday at 7:00 PM Eastern Time, you have to be online to watch a live course with other students using “chats” to respond. Others have previously recorded lectures that you can watch again and again.

Assuming your concern is about content, would having a same tutor for both GRE Math and Verbal be a good idea? At least in this case, you will get to know the tutor very well and personal “feel.”

Note that higher tutor charges, more credentials you can ask. With prep courses, this is not always a viable option because they claim (and for the most part, true in numbers) that their instructors received 99% in tests and went through personal training for teaching. Individual tutors have more flexibility and freedom to gear towards your needs and maybe better for some students.

It’s really about what you want. Do you want content review? Or, do you want someone to pinpoint your weaknesses and modify schedules to best meet your needs? Can you trust someone who is not a part of big prep companies? What if she/he gives you a wrong advice?

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The best way to answer this is to talk to people around you and see what YOU feel like you will need.


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