Should I Hire An LSAT Tutor?: A Guide
Studying for the LSAT can be a difficult and stressful experience. With law school dreams within reach, there can be a lot of pressure to do well on the LSAT to ensure you are accepted into your dream law school. What are your options when studying for the LSAT is going anything but how you planned? In this post, we provide a guide on when you should hire an LSAT tutor.
Should I Hire An LSAT Tutor?: A Guide
BEFORE considering tutoring
1. Take at least one full practice LSAT before seeking tutoring to see where you stand
Most people who are seeking LSAT tutoring services have taken at least a practice LSAT before reaching out to a tutor. However, if you have not yet taken a practice test, this should be the first thing you do before pursuing any other options. Free full LSAT tests are available through LSAC’s LawHub.
You can also locate free preparatory material elsewhere, but official resources are a great place to start! If you go into a commercial course or tutoring session without any previous LSAT exposure, you may feel lost and confused, so try a practice test or diagnostic first!
2. Know your law school application timeline
The first and most critical step before learning to take and take the LSAT is to know your personal goals and upcoming deadlines. This includes not only knowing LSAC/LSAT-related deadlines but also knowing when and where you want to go to law school.
If you plan to enroll in law school during the fall semester of a given year, it is generally recommended that you submit applications approximately 8-12 months before the anticipated start date. Before submitting these apps, you will want to have your best LSAT score ready to send to schools. Additionally, you will want at least several months of studying time before taking the LSAT to get that high score (the LSAC recommends at least 3 months of studying).
In simpler terms, if you plan to enroll in law school in the Fall of 2023, you should start studying for the LSAT no later than the Spring of 2022, take the LSAT in June or August 2022, and aim to submit your law school applications in the Fall of 2022.
If you have already signed up for a test and have limited studying time, using a tutor can be a great way to catch up! Similarly, if you don’t know what your timeline looks like, a tutor or admissions advising service is a great way to figure out your application timeline!
3. Try using free resources before moving to paid services – but beware of using too many different services!
There is a LOT of free LSAT information available online. The LSAC has officially partnered with Khan Academy to provide a completely free LSAT preparation course, which many people find to be a great resource. As such, we do recommend that you give some of the free LSAT material a try before moving to paid services, such as workbooks, commercial courses, and tutoring.
However, it can become confusing and even overwhelming if you use too many different prep materials. Different prep materials tend to all vary slightly in things such as their diagramming for logic games, how they approach reading a passage, or their focus on formal logic in answering questions. If you try a couple of different services and still find that you are not getting the results that you hoped for, it might be time to search for a tutor.
Is tutoring right for me?
If you have not been able to find success with other methods of learning, you may need to hire an LSAT tutor. A dedicated tutor is an option that can help LSAT learners advance beyond scores where they feel stuck. We’re including some specific benefits of tutoring below.
Focus on specific material
Enrolling in a commercial course will generally teach you all of the LSAT fundamentals from beginning to end. However, many LSAT learners find this to be unnecessary. Some students only struggle with one section, such as Logic Games or Reading Comprehension. Other students have specific question types that cause them trouble, such as assumption questions or mixed Logic Games. A tutor can tailor tutoring sessions to focus as narrowly as each student needs. This allows students to address the issues that are causing them the most trouble quickly and efficiently.
Individualized attention and learning style
Tutoring is the best learning method for ensuring that you receive individualized attention and feedback. If you are someone who learns best from one-on-one teaching, then tutoring is definitely your best bet. Tutors are also able to tailor their teaching style to the learning style of the student. Large commercial courses or prerecorded material cannot be customized to the needs of each individual student, but tutoring can be styled so that each student gets the most out of their time.
Accountability and consistency
An LSAT tutor doesn’t just teach you LSAT material, they also are able to assist you with other elements of preparing for the LSAT. Many tutors help their students with planning a study/practice test schedule. Further, when a student meets with a tutor regularly, a student will feel a degree of accountability to have studied since the last tutoring session. This can be very helpful for students who may not be studying as much as they would like. A student might buy a self-directed LSAT course or other self-study materials for a lower cost than a tutor, but this might not be the best use of your money if you are unable to stick with a study schedule.
What does a good LSAT tutor offer?
Hiring an LSAT tutor that can match your LSAT journey and learning style is very important!
High official LSAT score
Ideally, a tutor should have an official LSAT score in the 90th percentile (about a 165) or above. If your practice tests are already yielding a high score, but you want to push your score even higher, you will want to find a tutor who has scored in the 97.5th percentile (170+) or above on an official LSAT exam. We do not recommend using any tutor whose highest advertised score does not come from an official administration of the LSAT.
BUT – don’t exclusively focus on the highest LSAT score that a potential tutor earned.
Many very smart people are good at performing well on the LSAT, but that does not necessarily mean they are good teachers! Also, a tutor who scored a 173 on the LSAT might not be meaningfully better than a tutor who scored a 172 or 171 – you want to consider the other factors that make for a good teacher as well!
Prior teaching experience
Ideally, an LSAT tutor should have proven experience in teaching. This might mean that your tutor has a lot of good reviews from other LSAT students who previously engaged them for tutoring services. Perhaps they teach an LSAT class. Alternatively, maybe your tutor was a Teaching Assistant in college, or has other tutoring/teaching experience. In this regard, even tangential experience is better than none! You do not want to risk your valuable time and money on a tutor who hasn’t taught someone before, as they may not be comfortable and confident in their abilities.
Pricing, Schedule, and Flexibility
Price is an obviously important factor, but whether a price is good depends on many individual factors, including the factors listed here. A low price might seem appealing, but the price may be low for a reason, so be sure to check reviews and policies, such as cancellation policies, scheduling availability, multiple session discounts, and so on. Confident tutoring services also don’t require you to buy packages of tutoring services in order to get started with a tutor.
Tutor’s learning path
It can be valuable to learn the LSAT from someone who didn’t get their target score the first time they tried taking the LSAT. A teacher who had to study hard, raise their score, and use other learning services and materials can be very helpful, as they have gone through the process before! A tutor who had to work hard to raise their score might have a lot of insight into what methods for studying work as well as which methods or study materials are best or not as good. Someone who got a very high score the first time they took the LSAT may be talented and smart, but might not have the same insight into the learning process!
Available outside of sessions
Ideally, you should want a tutor who does more than just show up for the sessions. A good tutor should be responsive to questions asked outside of sessions. Be sure to check with any tutors you hire or consider to see if they charge for time outside of sessions, and when they are available.
The quality of LSAT tutoring is certainly the most important feature in your search, but having additional services available is a sign of a robust company, and can help you with other areas of your journey to law school. Having services such as application assistance can ensure that you are making informed decisions throughout the law school application process. An application advisor can help you time your LSAT studying and tutoring with your other application components to ensure that you are on track to have a strong law school application – which is the whole point of taking the LSAT!
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