Monday, September 28, 2009

Zen of 180 - Tutoring Services

We've been receiving a lot of e-mail traffic about our online and in-person tutoring services, so we've decided to post the following generic e-mail reply. We'll update later this week with a FAQ that we've generated to address the most frequently asked questions that aren't addressed here.

The basics: $75 an hour for tutoring sessions. We offer an initial consultation of more than 2 hours for a flat $75 fee, which will cover how to recognize your greatest task standard weaknesses; we will also provide you with an excel spreadsheet showing your performance on each standard and a prediction of your score on a modern LSAT if you have taken enough PrepTests in timed conditions for us to have accurate data.

The excel spreadsheet is only available to our paying clients at this time. We anticipate launching a website where users will be able to input their missed questions and receive an output with their performance on each of the task standards, explanations and strategies for missed questions, suggested PrepTests and individual questions for practice on their weaknesses, and predicted score on a modern LSAT based on statistical norms. We don't anticipate this will be ready for clients until September 2010.

If you have proof of a Pell grant for your undergraduate degree, we'll gladly discount the $75/hour rate. If this is the case, let us know and we'll send the link where you can print out that information.

Another way we would be willing to discount the rate is if you buy your official PrepTests through our Amazon store. It's exactly the same as Amazon.com--free shipping over $25 and 4-for-3 pricing--except we receive a referral fee (from Amazon's profits, not from your pocket). We'd be willing to offer you a $5 discount on the initial consultation if you buy your LSAT materials from our store.

We are currently based in NYC and can only offer the diagnosing and application review services for distance learners. That is, clients send their missed question numbers on official, timed PrepTests by e-mail, we analyze the mistakes and identify strengths and weaknesses, create individualized PrepTests--using real LSAT sections from different PrepTests--that have higher densities of questions on weaknesses, and generally support the self-studier in any way possible. That includes video or voice chat on strategy sessions and personal pencasts

If you live in NYC, we typically meet with in-person clients once a week for 1-2 hours. How often we need to meet with clients is always based on your schedule, not a pre-determined amount of hours.

Generally, if you plan for 1-2 hours ($75-$150) for every 4-6 PrepTests, depending on your number of missed questions that need explanation, that will be plenty. Some clients only meet every other week, as we are very flexible with prior notice.

As you can see, we break down LSAT prep into three distinct phases:

Diagnose: Two 3.5 hour sessions a week of practice for 10 weeks. You should be prepared to spend two whole evenings, or preferably one weekend morning and one weekday evening, on the LSAT for the first two months. During this time, we should meet once or twice for 1-2 hours to go over any mistakes and make major adjustments to your thought processes that will take time to settle.

During this stage, you should budget 9-11 hours a week of actual sitting in front of an LSAT or excel spreadsheet, and two online tutor-sessions where we discuss how to use the excel spreadsheet we'll send with all your strengths and weaknesses spelled out in percentage chance, normalized for a modern LSAT.

After this stage, we'll spend 1-2 weeks combing through your tracker to find trends and develop personalized strategies. These online sessions will be ~2 hours each.

Apply strategies: Two 3 hour sessions a week of strategy application for 5 weeks. Again, two whole evenings, or preferably one weekend morning and one weekday evening, on the LSAT for the next month. During this time, we should meet twice for ~1.5 hours to completely analyze each missed question and your progress in using the strategies.

During this stage, you should budget 9 hours a week of actual sitting in front of an LSAT or excel spreadsheet, spread across two self- and two tutor-sessions.

Endurance: Two 5+ hour sessions a week of endurance building for 1 month. These are the killer weeks when you develop the mental fortitude to shrug off the length of the test day. This will probably take up the entire mornings of your weekends, as it's best to practice at the time you'll take the test and in a slightly distracting environment. During this time, we will meet as often as you need to address any missed questions.

During this stage, you should budget 14 hours a week of actual sitting in front of an LSAT or excel spreadsheet, spread across two self- and two tutor-sessions.