Updated: Feb 19
If you are set on taking the LSAT, this may be the first question you ask. In this article, I'll give 5 advantages of hiring a private tutor to assist your LSAT prep compared to taking prep courses and studying on your own.
5 Reasons Why You Should Get an LSAT Tutor
You will feel more supported and less anxious
You will better understand your strengths and weaknesses
You will receive customized training
You will study on your own more efficiently
You will have a flexible schedule
1. Psychological Support
Studying the LSAT all by yourself can feel rather lonely. I went down the self-studying route in my own LSAT prep journey as a student and experienced many emotional breakdowns. There were multiple periods where I went through a long plateau in my prep test scores and felt hopeless.
The good thing about getting a private tutor is that it makes you feel that you are not alone in your LSAT prep journey - a good private tutor who is supportive, that is. The confidence you gain from finding a good tutor may be invaluable to your study experience.
If you can find a good tutor who can genuinely relate to your struggles and frustrations and tailor their teaching to suit your personal needs, it can go a long way in making your prep experience less arduous than studying alone.
The same can rarely be said for taking prep courses with dozens, or even hundreds of students in the same room or on screen.
When I was a first year undergrad student at the University of Toronto, I attended in-person classes with hundreds of students in one large lecture hall. There were hundreds of students around me, but I felt like I was alone.
Similarly, I had many professors in university, but none knew me personally unless I made an effort to go their office hours. Higher education in large universities can be an incredibly isolating experience if your professors don't know you on a personal level.
The same goes for taking LSAT prep courses. You will be one among many dozens of students with an assigned instructor solely responsible for teaching the material. Their job is to instruct, not to get to know you and understand your situation.
In my LSAT tutoring, the students I work with consider me not only their instructor but also their mentor and friend. I am often their first line of support whenever they encounter a difficult roadblock in their studies. I am a tutor whom they can learn from but I am also their companion to rejoice with and their shoulder to cry on.
This is one of the most important, albeit overlooked, reasons why getting private tutoring may well be worth the price.
2. Complete Diagnosis
You may already have a rough idea of where you are at in your LSAT prep journey, but getting a private tutor can give you a more wholistic and well-rounded overview of your strengths and weaknesses.
When you are going to a private tutor for the first time as a student unacquainted with the LSAT, a good tutor will ask you to take a diagnostic to help them form a picture of your primary areas of need.
As an LSAT tutor, I not only consider their score in each of the three sections, but also meticulously analyze their answers choices (or the lack thereof if they run out of time) to see if there are patterns to be gleaned.
If a student has taken a couple of prep tests in a row, I ask them to send me reports of their three most recent one so I can get a more complete picture.
I also interact with the students and ask them why they picked some of the answer choices they did and get a gauge of their problem-solving habits.
The danger in going the self-study route is that you may spend countless hours solving LSAT questions, but pick up deeply ingrained bad habits in the process. In the end, you may have "drilled" in all the bad habits that may prove detrimental to your overall approach.
This is why complete beginners to the LSAT are sometimes easier to teach than someone who has done dozens of prep tests. The latter will need to first undo their bad habits and unlearn their inefficient problem-solving processes.
The scary thing is: you may never know if you have bad habits until someone else points it out to you. This is why getting a private tutor can help you detect and undo them in time.
In my private tutoring sessions with students, I not only impart my thoughts on how to best tackle questions, but also ask them, for select questions, what their problem-solving process is. And their response oftentimes helps me diagnose exactly where they are at.
This interactive, diagnostic exercise simply cannot be replicated through self-study or course-taking with minimal instructor/student engagement.
3. Customized Training
As I discussed in the point above, one of the greatest advantages (if not the greatest advantage) of having a private tutor is that you will receive highly customized LSAT training tailored precisely to your needs.
A common practice for course instructors at large prep companies is to primarily teach on the easiest LSAT questions that tailor to the entire student population.
The obvious problem is that LSAT questions have varying levels of difficulty and each student has their own idiosyncrasies.
Some students of mine find grouping games more intuitive than linear games, while others find it is the other way around. Thus, it may not be wise to enrol in a prep course with a fixed lesson plan when you need little or no training in some areas and much more in others.
This is where the major advantage of private LSAT tutoring comes in.
In my LSAT tutoring, for instance, my private sessions with one student may look entirely different from another, and oftentimes they are different for each student's benefit.
Some students have poor LSAT fundamentals while others have a higher baseline but make a ton of careless errors. I will then tailor the tutoring sessions to accommodate some of their most glaring areas of need.
For students who are prone to making careless errors, for example, I often stress the importance of adopting the right habits in both the question-reading and problem-solving process and recommend best practices.
I had a student who almost exclusively made careless errors on his Logic Games section. As a result, I had a full one-hour session with him to address this issue and his LG score became much more consistent afterwards.
This kind of customized training is not possible without a private tutor and is not an available option for most prep courses.
4. Efficient Studying
Not only will a private tutor afford you a customized training regimen, they can also help you formulate a personalized study plan.
What type of questions should I drill in my own time? How should I drill them? Should I focus more now on LG or LR? How much time should I devote to RC? When is a good time to take full-length prep tests? How often should I take them in a month to maximize my improvement?
If you find yourself asking yourself these questions or feel directionless in your LSAT prep journey, this is a sign that you should get a private tutor.
An experienced private LSAT tutor can provide you with a clear roadmap with a tailor-made self-study plan in between and after tutoring sessions.
Some students have a year to study for the LSAT. Very few students have that luxury. Many students have only one or two months to prepare, so every hour is precious.
When you are in a time crunch, a private LSAT tutor can help you allocate your study time as efficiently as possible.
In my tutoring practice, I tell my students exactly what to drill and how to drill, when to take prep tests and how often they should take them.
I tell them that for every tutoring hour, they should spend roughly 4-5 hours studying on their own, and precisely how they should allocate those hours to optimize their progress.
5. Flexible Scheduling
This is the most obvious advantage of getting a private tutor over taking prep courses with a pre-determined schedule.
Private tutors often have the flexibility to make tutoring fit your schedule.
I understand that some students cannot afford to hire a private tutor at a large prep company that charges hundreds of dollars per hour. But oftentimes you can find a very good tutor for way less. A good tip is to find an LSAT tutor who doesn't charge you everything upfront, but affords you the luxury of trying out a session with them first before you have to make a commitment.
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