Five Questions To Ask Before You Hire a Bar Exam Tutor
If you need assistance with the bar exam, a tutor is a logical way to go. But just like you would before any major purchase, you need to make sure you make an informed choice. In our opinion, you need to find out the following five pieces of information before you hire a bar exam tutor! Note that these are five basic questions. In our next portion, we will talk about some even more specific questions you want to ask.
Five Questions To Ask Before You Hire a Bar Exam Tutor
1. “How long have you been tutoring?”
This should be the first question you ask before you hire a bar exam tutor. With so much riding on the results, you do not want to be someone’s first attempt at tutoring. Make sure that whoever you hire as your tutor has had past experience working with bar exam students. A high bar exam score or an impressive job out of law school does not necessarily mean someone knows how to teach bar exam material. Ideally, you want someone who knows the material inside and out, and has experience teaching it to potential bar exam takers!
In addition to asking how long someone has been tutoring for the bar exam, you may also want to ask how many students the tutor has had each administration. If a tutor only takes on one or two students per administration, they have less experience than a tutor who takes on more.
2. “When did you take the bar exam?”
This is an important question to ask anyone you want to hire as a bar exam tutor. If they took the bar exam very recently, then they may not have the experience necessary. If they took the bar exam decades ago, and have not been actively involved in the tutoring sense, they most likely won’t have a grasp on the modern iterations of the exam. The bar exam changes over time. You don’t want a tutor unfamiliar with the current formatting trying to teach you how to pass it!
3. “What was your score?”
This may seem like prying into very personal territory. However, you need to know this if you want to hire a bar exam tutor. If someone did not excel on the bar exam, chances are they did not engage with the material well. How can a tutor help you pass the bar exam if they could not do well themselves? You want an experienced professional who mastered the exam to teach you effective strategies. If a potential tutor could not explain the law to themselves when they took the exam, chances are they will lead you down the same path.
Most bar exam tutors who advertise their services have received high scores on the bar exam. However, some bar exam tutors have not received very high scores. Or they do not know their bar exam scores at all because their jurisdiction does not release passing scores to applicants. (The latter is not necessarily a reason to not hire the tutor but it should lead to an additional question which is “how well did you do in law school?” If a person did not receive their bar exam score but graduated in the top 10% of their law school class, they likely know the material well enough to teach it! However, if they will not reveal their law school GPA or class ranking, you should consider going elsewhere for tutoring services!)
4. “What is your approach to the bar exam?”
When you hire a bar exam tutor, you want clear instruction geared toward helping you pass conventionally. You do not want to be a pilot project for someone looking to try an innovative approach to “hack” the exam. Make sure that your potential tutor’s approach makes sense. If they advise you to do anything that seems odd, it’s best to steer clear. For example, if someone tells you to only focus on the MBE when your state equally weighs the essay portion, you may want to reevaluate your options. A holistic approach to the bar that focuses on helping you understand each facet of the exam is the best approach. Anything else is a risk not worth taking.
5. “Do you give any help outside of sessions?”
A bar exam tutor should be there for you when you need them. Often, this may be outside of your sessions when you encounter difficult material during your prep. So, make sure you won’t be left high and dry by your tutor. It is standard to ask questions outside of sessions, so make sure your tutor is open to this. Some tutors also offer essay feedback after covering material in sessions. (Also, clarify if the tutor charges extra for these services or if they are included in the tutoring fee. We answer essays as part of most tutoring sessions.)
Make sure that if you hire a bar exam tutor, you don’t have to worry about getting answers to your questions. It’s probably best to avoid someone unwilling to communicate outside of sessions!
Note that in our next post, we discuss even more specific questions you want to ask your tutor once you have decided they meet the basic requirements you are looking for!
We offer bar exam tutoring services by experienced bar exam tutors. Please read more about our bar exam private tutoring here.
Go to the next topic, Topic 4: How expensive is it to hire a bar exam tutor.
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