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How to be a professional GMAT tutor?

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Joined: 10 Sep 2013
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New post 28 Sep 2019, 00:54
I know this may sound funny, but I am interested in having a career in professional test industry.

I am currently working at one of the best R&D institutes in India and I like what I do there, but my heart belongs to GMAT.

Here is a little bit about myself
- In 2014, one day I wrote India's most difficult graduate admission test-GATE (for IITs) without prep and scored 99.5%le
- In 2015,2016 and 2017, I wrote CAT and always scored 99.xx%le and managed to get admission in top B-schools(IIMs) in India. Didn't join though.
- I possess a degree from IIT
- I have taught test strategy for GATE as GATE mentor and enjoyed doing that.
- I always scored 760 in my GMATprep exam but unfortunately ended up scoring just 720 on the test day. The sad thing to note here was that the anxiety even butchered me-Only Q50- in my strong area- Quant, which is as sharp as a razor owing to CAT preparation.

I am planning to up the ante and targeting 780 on the GMAT. In the meantime, I am also looking for advice to make a career in the GMAT preparation industry.

Any advice in this regard will be helpful. bb GMATNinja egmat and other experts, please suggest.
Thanks
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Re: How to be a professional GMAT tutor?  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Sep 2019, 10:02
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You want to join the test-prep industry? ArtVandaley, why would you torture yourself like that?!? ;)

Just kidding. I've been at it since 2001, so either I enjoy it, or I'm completely nuts. Or both. You decide. :idontknow:

I could make all sorts of wisecracks about the various ways to get into the test-prep industry here in the US, but I'm a little bit worried that those things wouldn't necessarily apply to the Indian market at all. So take all of this with a grain of salt.

If you're just looking to break into the industry, the easiest way to do it is to get a super-high score on a standardized test (not necessarily the GMAT: here in the US, there's still a bigger market for SAT/ACT prep than for GMAT prep, for example), and then go work for a big test-prep company. Some companies require some evidence of teaching skill and experience, but many of them don't, and that gives you an opportunity to get test-prep teaching experience with little more than a shiny test score.

When I got started in test-prep, I already had a couple of years of experience teaching other things, but the company I worked for didn't seem to care about that -- they just asked me for my SAT score, and hired me without bothering to ask much else. That's obviously not the type of company that will help you become a great instructor, but it's a great way to get some experience and exposure. When I felt that I'd outgrown that company's pedagogy, I moved on, and was grateful for my time at that firm.

I also know some great test-prep tutors who developed a TON of teaching expertise in other areas before switching over to test-prep. Most of the best test-prep tutors I know took this path. It's a longer path, but I would argue that the single most important quality in a teacher -- any type of teacher -- is the ability to "read" their students, and understand what their students really need in order to accomplish their goals. When I hire GMAT tutors, I'm mostly looking for that general ability to "read" and connect with students, and there's no reason why you couldn't build that skill teaching something else, and then transition to test-prep later.

There's no "right answer" -- it's mostly just a question of where your passions lie. If you're passionate about teaching in general, you could teach all sorts of things first, especially if it's hard to break into test-prep where you live. If you're mostly interested in test-prep, then a great test score is probably the easiest ticket into an existing company -- and then you can see how things unfold for you from there.

I hope this helps a bit!
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New post 28 Sep 2019, 10:13
VeritasKarishma, VeritasPrepErika, or VeritasPrepHailey

Anyone care to weigh in on this from the Veritas side? Ninja summed it up very well, but another perspective might be helpful.
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New post 28 Sep 2019, 19:33
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Thanks, nightblade354! I'd be happy to add my two cents - though GMATNinja did a fantastic job of expressing most of what I would suggest for consideration!

It sounds like if you - like me - have found that your "heart belongs to the GMAT," and that you enjoy teaching in other capacities, you might very well be suited for a career in test prep! Having a superb GMAT score (or other strong evidence of standardized test success) is definitely a great start - but as has been mentioned, the true test that larger prep companies seeking career instructors will look for, and that will guide your success in private tutoring if you take that route, is your ability to connect with students, diagnose and address their opportunities for improvement, and understand the learning process well enough that you can apply that process for students with differing needs, backgrounds, and learning styles!

I will say, in my personal experience, I had taught in many different capacities throughout my life before entering test prep - so I would very strongly second Charles' suggestion to consider teaching in other facets if you find test-prep difficult to break into at first. Teaching in capacities such as training, coaching, and other instructional roles has affirmed to me over and again that instructing is my passion and joy, and 10ish years later - I find each new day of test-prep instruction more interesting and engaging than the last!

While I'll also admit that my advice may be limited in application to your market - I will weigh in on the "test prep company" route, should you choose to take it! Before you look to gain employment with a test prep company, I'd strongly suggest taking the time to familiarize yourself with all the major materials out there, so that you can seek employment somewhere that:

1) Places value and importance in your passion to teach and grow as a career instructor (not just a top percentile score) and

2) Aligns with your teaching style and preferred materials/approach techniques

I've been teaching this test privately for a lot longer than I've been working for Veritas, and after digging into all available resources, I decided to apply for and instruct with Veritas because they quickly became my preferred resource; their teaching style and materials were something I wholeheartedly believed in, and the materials "sounded like me" when looking into them. If you're looking to work for a company and teach utilizing their resources and materials (though most allow quite a bit of freedom and flexibility to instruct in whatever way is best suited to your students!) - it's absolutely essential that you work for a company you believe in and align with!

So, while some of my thoughts may not be *quite* as applicable in your market, I'd powerfully second the advice given to seek out teaching/instructing in any capacity to build experience and a curiosity for teaching and - just as importantly - for learning! It definitely also sounds like you felt your performance on test day wasn't indicative of where you feel your true potential falls, so a retake could definitely work in your favor (and potentially provide valuable insights to future students on overcoming test anxiety and achieving your goals!)

Finally, if you are seeking a career with an established company, I'd strongly suggest you familiarize yourself with all major available resources (you'll want to anyways - even as an independent tutor, I often worked with students with various previous experience with and exposure to different resources for the test, and understanding their backgrounds in that capacity was incredibly useful in "connecting the dots" on their paths toward success,) and identify firms that align with your teaching style/ability to help your students succeed!

Best of luck to you in this journey, ArtVandaley! I hope this helps! :)
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How to be a professional GMAT tutor?   [#permalink] 28 Sep 2019, 19:33
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