You can study on your own and follow the strategies that worked for you before. You can follow the tips and tricks from any decent test prep company. However, I advise you to employ the help of a private tutor if it does not strain your budget.
There are many reasons to study with a one-on-one tutor and there are many steps you need to take to make your test prep a successful one. Let us discuss them.
Why Hire a Tutor?
- One-on-One Instruction:Students who take a class in a group may not get the individual attention they need to thrive academically because group teaching does not address individual learning styles. One-on-One instruction helps a student identify his or her weaknesses and concentrate on them.
- Shyness: If the student is an introvert, he or she might be too shy to ask questions in a classroom for fear of attracting attention or looking silly. Even if the questions are good ones, the student won’t want to be seen as currying favor with the teacher.
- Learning Environment: Some students just don’t learn well in the more rigid classroom environment. They need more flexibility. This is much more common than one would think.
- Absorption of Material: Students learn better and absorb material more easily when they get personal attention. When the student is privately tutored, he or she engages more intensely with the tutor and the material than when learning in a group.
- Discipline: Some students lack the discipline to study on their own, and countering this is one of the most important advantages a tutor provides. The tutor can guide the student to develop the discipline needed to ace an entrance exam.
- Focus: The tutor ensures that the student focuses on his or her weaknesses and the material he or she struggles with.
- Self Esteem: Hiring a tutor increases the student’s competence in the subject. This, in turn, increases the student’s self-esteem. As the student’s self-esteem increases, he or she does better in school and in other academic environments.
- Results: Students who are tutored do markedly better on entrance tests. Some students show improvements within the first few sessions. By the end of the prep course, you should see significant results and better entrance exam scores.
When to Hire a Tutor?
- Test Appointment: You should hire a tutor at least six months before the test. This will provide enough time for more tutoring if needed.
- Test Taking: Some students do well in school but are just not good at taking tests. They work hard and get high grades, but they don’t do well on entrance exams for a variety of reasons, the most common of which is anxiety. These students need to take the test earlier than others; additionally, they may need to take it two or three times, which they may do, as schools consider only the highest score.
- Validity Period of the Test: GMAT scores are valid for five years. So, students should take the test in the summer of their junior year in college. This will give the student enough time to prepare and ace the test as they will have enough time during the summer to take the test numerous times. If the student has stellar GPA and GMAT scores, he or she can get into a top business school with less work experience. So, the student should plan accordingly, but should take the test while he or she is not working full time.
Guidelines for Hiring a Tutor?
- Patience: It is important to hire a tutor who is patient. After all, you’re hiring the tutor to provide private instruction so the student can ask questions uninhibitedly. The tutor must be able to answer all the student’s questions patiently.
- Tutoring Level: The tutor should be able to understand the student’s weak areas and then tutor them at that level. Some tutors teach at an advanced level, which is not helpful if the student is a beginner in the subject. So, hire a tutor that can teach at the proper level and teach what the student needs to know.
- Specialty Area: Hire a tutor who has experience specific to the test. There are general tutors for all sorts of tests. However, if the student is taking the GMAT, they should hire someone who specializes in the GMAT test, because it is different from other tests, as it has trick questions.
- Reliability: You should hire a tutor who can devote the time needed to go through the entire prep course without interruption. Of course, you should accommodate emergencies, but generally, the tutor should provide a regular schedule and honor it.
- Truthful: The tutor should be truthful with you. You don’t want a dishonest or untrustworthy person as a tutor, especially if he or she is coming to your home.
- Education Level: The tutor should have a higher degree than the student has. Make sure that the tutor has the experience and teaching qualifications commensurate with his or her education level.
- Experience: If the tutor aced the entrance tests, showing that he or she is qualified, you still need to be convinced that he or she is a good tutor. That is what you need to judge. Acing the tests does not mean the tutor is good at teaching. So, if you find a tutor with a lot of experience, seriously consider him or her, and ask to speak to students he or she has tutored.
The downside to experience is that it costs more. Experienced tutors charge more. So, you must balance experience with what you can afford before you hire a tutor. And, here is another caveat: Don’t automatically hire a tutor because he or she charges more because you think that means that he or she must be good. You don’t always get what you pay for.
- Communication: Your tutor should communicate to you the educational issues you face. In addition, communication between the tutor and the student should be open. If the tutor is critical, take the criticism constructively so that you can benefit from it. The tutor should openly communicate regarding progress in the subject.
- Addressing Your Concerns: When hiring a tutor, ask questions. See if the tutor’s answers address all your concerns. If the tutor does not answer questions to your satisfaction, look elsewhere.
- Learning Style: Every student has a learning style. The tutor should be able to identify it and tutor accordingly. Some students learn by reading, some by observing, and others by doing. A tutor with a one-size-fits-all approach may not have the size that fits you. Ask whether the tutor can accommodate all learning styles and teach you in a way that will help you understand the subject material.
- Know Your Budget: You must consider your budget when hiring a tutor. If you really like a tutor but he or she charges more than feel comfortable with, ask for a discount. Tutors generally give discounts if the student is going to be a long term student. It doesn’t hurt to ask. The tutor can only refuse, and you just may get that discount.
- Location: Tutors teach in a variety of places. Some have offices, some tutor in libraries and other public places, and others come to your home. You should feel comfortable with the location. If you don’t feel comfortable, look online for ACT Tutors.
- Session Hours: Hire a tutor who can offer sessions that are at least two hours long. One reason for this is that it trains the student to concentrate for longer periods of time. Entrance exams take at least 3.5 hours.
- Passion for Tutoring: Look for the tutor’s passion for teaching. Passion will motivate the student and the tutor to reach the goals set. If the tutor is disinterested, he or she will be less likely to make sure that the student is progressing. Hire a tutor who has a genuine passion for enabling learning.
How to Find a Tutor:
- Ask your friends and family if they know a tutor they can recommend.
- Check out local yellow pages.
- Do a Google search online see if there is a private tutor who matches your needs.
Questions You Should Ask a Potential Tutor:
- Do you provide private (one-on-one) tutoring?
- What age groups do you tutor?
- What standardized tests do you help students prepare for?
- How many years have you been a tutor?
- What are your qualifications?
- Can you provide references?
- What is the cost?
- Are there additional fees?
- Is there any way to reduce the cost for tutoring?
- What supplies and materials do you provide? What will I need to provide?
- How long will the sessions be, and how often?
- Where will the sessions take place?
- Will I have a contract?
- How can I get out of the contract?
- How will you know what my educational needs are?
- Do you believe in a particular teaching philosophy?
- How will you communicate with me?
- If you are a parent, ask if you can observe tutoring sessions and how involved you should be in your child’s tutoring program.
What You Should Tell Your Tutor To Make Your Tutoring Sessions Successful:
Tell him or her
- What motivates you.
- Whether you like school, and what your favorite and least favorite subjects are.
- How good your memory is.
- How you feel about being tutored.
- How you feel about taking standardized tests−whether you get anxious, and what your past standardized test scores have been.
- Whether you have any organizational or study-skill issues.
Following the steps above can help you have a successful test prep experience. One-on-One tutoring allows for personalized instruction and often is the best way to improve scores. In an individual setting, students are more accountable for completing assignments, and all the time is dedicated to making sure that the student progresses. This will help the student to achieve a high score on the ACT entrance test.