There are many ways to have a great experience with an LSAT tutor. The key is to decide what role you want the tutor to play in your LSAT preparation. One sure-fire way to have a bad experience is to develop a certain set of expectations, not communicate those expectations to your tutor, and then become frustrated as the sessions come and go and you aren’t getting what you expected from the relationship.
As you think about hiring an LSAT tutor, it can be a good idea to keep three tutor “archetypes” in mind. Obviously, your tutor might be a bit of a combination of these three archetypes, but if you read through the three descriptions below and identify better with one than the others, then you can communicate those expectations to your tutor (and choose the right tutor in the first place).
Three Ways to Work with an LSAT Tutor
Here are the three types of LSAT tutors that students typically seek:
1. Guide/Mentor Tutor
- Your tutor is with you every step of the way in your LSAT prep process.
- In your first meeting you craft a personal study plan with the tutor.
- Your tutor helps you stay on track with the study plan by assigning homework and checking in regularly.
- You and your tutor meet on a regular basis, at least once a week, to work on developing your skills.
- You modify your study plan periodically to reflect your growth as you progress through the study plan.
- This type of tutor works best for students who have lots of time before the LSAT and like have formal structure to their tutoring relationships.
- Note of caution – if you’re looking for this type of tutoring relationship, and the potential tutor you’re evaluating seems brilliant but really unstructured and doesn’t even talk about study planning when describing his or her approach, then this particular tutor probably isn’t the one for you.
- Another note of caution – you still “own” your LSAT prep. Don’t use a tutor as a crutch – you need to understand the core concepts tested on the LSAT on a deep level on your own, not just when the tutor explains them.
2. “On-Call” Tutor
- You create a study plan together.
- Then your tutor is available to answer specific questions for an hour every week or so.
- You do most of your studying on your own and design your own homework plans.
- You tutor serves more as a specialist, who you turn to in those few areas that are tougher for you, or to help you understand the really difficult problems.
- This tutor is ideal for the student who has already done a decent amount of self-study and is looking for specific guidance to break into the higher tier scores.
3. “Crash Course” Tutor
- Your tutor dives in and helps you on specific areas where you are weakest.
- There is no real formal study plan.
- Meetings with your tutor run more on a triage system, focuses on areas where you are missing “easy” points.
- This type of tutor is ideal when you have little time to prepare for the test and need to bolster your basic skills in one area quickly.
- This type of tutor may also work well for students who are solid in most areas of the LSAT, but are weak in one section, for example, a student that needs focused LSAT Logic Games tutoring.
A note of caution on options 2 and 3 above – if you think an on-call or a crash course tutor makes sense for you, make sure you are realistic as you assess your progress as your test-date nears. Trying to work with a tutor at the last minute, weeks before your test, can be stressful. So, if you are going to use the “on-call” or “crash-course” approach with an LSAT tutor, plan your tutoring sessions far enough in advance.
LSAT tutoring can be expensive relative to self-study or LSAT classes, yet at the same time, private, customized help on the LSAT can help you achieve a score that you otherwise would not have achieved – if you use an LSAT tutor effectively and efficiently. Identifying which of the above three “tutor types” would work best for you can help you identify the right LSAT tutor and work with him or her in the right way. Good luck.
About the Author
Jayeeta Kundu is one of MyGuru’s most senior LSAT tutors. She’s been an in-person LSAT tutor in Chicago for the past several years while obtaining her law degree from the University of Chicago. Her undergraduate degree is in Physics and Economics from Reed College, and she holds a M.S. in Technology from MIT as well. She’s worked at several of the larger, well known national test prep companies, tutoring for the SAT, GRE, GMAT, and of course, the LSAT. She is also currently an cademic counselor at the University of Chicago law school.