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Value of a tutor?

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New post 22 Sep 2018, 11:48
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Hey everyone, new to the forum but not new to gmat preparation. I've already taken the Vritas Prep live online course and am trying to explore the value of a 1 on 1 tutor. Veritas and other gmat prep companies have very expensive packages. Is there any organization or supplemental list of private/independent tutors to help me with the gmat prep without the several thousand dollar cost? Is there any value in a tutor or do most just self teach the prep courses and consistent practice?
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New post 22 Sep 2018, 16:16
Hi Midwestguy,

From what you describe, it's not clear whether you actually need a tutor or not. Before I can offer you the specific advice that you’re looking for, it would help if you could provide a bit more information on how you've been studying and your goals:

Studies:
1) How long have you studied?
2) What study materials have you used so far besides the Course you listed?
3) How have you scored on EACH of your CATs (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH)?

Goals:
4) What is your goal score?
5) When are you planning to take the GMAT?
6) When are you planning to apply to Business School?
7) What Schools are you planning to apply to?

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New post 23 Sep 2018, 11:12
Thanks for the fast response RIch! My answers are in red.

EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi Midwestguy,

From what you describe, it's not clear whether you actually need a tutor or not. Before I can offer you the specific advice that you’re looking for, it would help if you could provide a bit more information on how you've been studying and your goals:

Studies:
1) How long have you studied? About 2 months at a slow pace.
2) What study materials have you used so far besides the Course you listed? The only other material was a manhattan prep basic math practice book
3) How have you scored on EACH of your CATs (including the Quant and Verbal Scaled Scores for EACH)? 510 V28, Q32

Goals:
4) What is your goal score? 710-730
5) When are you planning to take the GMAT? Preferably end of October, but I don't know if that's realistic given the score I want
6) When are you planning to apply to Business School? 2nd round
7) What Schools are you planning to apply to? Wharton, Sloan, Duke

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New post 23 Sep 2018, 11:27
Hi Midwestguy,

If it's been at least a couple of weeks since you took that CAT, then you should plan to take another CAT soon - and make sure to take it in a realistic fashion (take the FULL CAT - with the Essay and IR sections, take it away from your home, at the same time of day as when you'll take the Official GMAT, etc.). Once you have that score, you should report back here and we can discuss how best to proceed.

Raising a 510 to a 710+ will likely require at least another 3 months of consistent, guided study - and you'll have to make significant improvements to how you handle BOTH the Quant and Verbal sections. Thankfully, the GMAT is a consistent, predictable Exam, so you CAN train to score at a higher level. That having been said, a late-October Test Date would give you just a little more than a month of additional study time though, and that type of score gain in such a short period of time is likely too difficult to be considered realistic.

1) Going forward, how many hours do you think you can consistently study each week?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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New post 23 Sep 2018, 11:49
I took my first full practice test on 9/8/18 and did the IR( 2/8) and AWA that the TA from my class scored as a 4. I can allocate ~20 hours a week to studying (2 each week night, 5 each weekend day)
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New post 23 Sep 2018, 11:57
Hi Midwestguy,

Taking that 2nd practice CAT would be a good idea at this point. It will help to define the accuracy of your 1st CAT and whether your last couple of weeks of study have led to an improvement or not. Once you have that score, you should post back here with the results.

1) What are the exact Round 2 application deadlines for each of the Programs that you plan to apply to?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
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New post 23 Sep 2018, 12:04
EMPOWERgmatRichC wrote:
Hi Midwestguy,

Taking that 2nd practice CAT would be a good idea at this point. It will help to define the accuracy of your 1st CAT and whether your last couple of weeks of study have led to an improvement or not. Once you have that score, you should post back here with the results.

1) What are the exact Round 2 application deadlines for each of the Programs that you plan to apply to?
MIT Sloan - Jan 22, 2019
Wharton Jan 3, 2019
Duke's 2nd round Oct 10th so that's a no go. Not really interested in a round 3 application.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich


I probably won't be able to take another practice test until next weekend, but will do! I was peaking around the EMPOWERgmat website but did not see any tutoring services. Do you offer them?
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New post 24 Sep 2018, 11:22
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Hey, to answer that initial question about the value of a tutor - at least when you're tutoring for one of the bigger (and, yes, more-expensive programs, I'd definitely say that the value is NOT in "going over lesson material" (which isn't really what a tutor should be doing). With those programs, you also get access to video lessons, thorough written books, and often live classes, too. That's where you should build the groundwork of content and strategy (with a tutor's guidance of course to help you prioritize, and to assign targeted homework), and then the valuable time you spend with a tutor is more about diagnosing where you're breaking down on certain topics/strategies, deep-diving on areas where you're not getting the results you should be, etc. As the host of Veritas Prep's "On Demand" program, myself, my line to students is always "don't pay me to tell you something you can watch me say for free (as part of the recorded/written lessons), but do X/Y/Z and this homework and then let's roll up our sleeves and dig in to the stuff that's giving you trouble."

So the value of a tutor comes in large part from:

-Assigning targeted self-study lessons, homework, etc. based on your weaknesses, practice test results, homework results, etc.

-Diagnosing where you're missing key concepts or breaking down on strategies (whether that's from watching your pencil strokes as you do scratchwork, asking you questions as you're thinking through problems, listening to your thought process, etc.)

-Making sure that the necessary concepts/strategies "click" for you

-Assigning tailored homework to ensure that you get the repetition on the content/strategies you need

-Keeping you accountable and on task (so often self-study is a little erratic - a good tutor makes sure not just that you're putting in the work, but that you're doing the work you need to do and using the strategies you should as opposed to just "going through problems"

-And I'm probably missing a few others (helping you prioritize what to study, interpret your practice test results, craft a pacing strategy based on your own strengths/weaknesses, etc.).

Ultimately tutoring *is* just really expensive and I'd argue it's not always the best ROI. You're paying for one-to-one so when you're looking for customization, personalized diagnosis, etc. it can be perfect and really efficient. But I've also told a lot of students in my day "hey you're paying me too much to essentially be your glossary - I need you to do some of this stuff on your own so that we can add real value when we're working together."

Anyway that's a long, long answer to "do tutors just go through the lessons" but I'm passionate about it - good tutors add a ton of value beyond the stock lessons. (Now the question becomes which tutors are good tutors...that's something to think about before you elect to go with tutoring)
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New post 24 Sep 2018, 11:47
Hi Midwestguy,

While we don't offer tutoring services, with a 510 it's not likely that you actually need that type of service at this point.

"Review" is an exceptionally important part of the GMAT training process; your ability to define WHY you're getting questions wrong is essential to defining the areas that you need to work on (and the specific things that you need to 'fix'). Depending on why you're getting questions wrong, a tutor might not be needed at all. As such, I'd like to know a bit more about your first CAT. While a full Mistake Tracker would provide a lot more information, there are some basic questions that you should be able to answer (and the more EXACT you can be with your answers, the better):

After reviewing each section of this recent CAT, how many questions did you get wrong....
1) Because of a silly/little mistake?
2) Because there was some math/verbal that you just could not remember how to do?
3) Because the question was too hard?
4) Because you were low on time and had to guess?
5) How many Verbal questions did you 'narrow down to 2 choices' but still get wrong?

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
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New post 25 Sep 2018, 18:55
Brian, Rich,

I wanted to thank you both for your advice! I am compiling my error logs now to answer your questions Rich. You have both given me a lot to think about!
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New post 25 Sep 2018, 23:31
A one-on-one tutor helps students improve his/her in-class performance through personalized learning.

Personalized learning, when composed of mastery learning and one-on-one mentorship, allows the student to perform at an average of 98% better than his/her untutored peers.

Unlocking incredible potential and achieving way better grades, as a result, is the value-add.
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New post 27 Sep 2018, 17:15
Hi Midwestguy,

I’m glad you reached out, and I’m happy to help. So, before thinking about a GMAT tutor, the real question that you need to answer is why, after two months of prep, you are stuck at a 510. Although a tutor can certainly help you improve your GMAT skills, the bulk of your prep will still be done independently. Thus, even if you end up working with a tutor, you want to ensure that you use thorough prep materials to improve your GMAT skills in between your sessions. With that in mind, I recommend that you spend some time reading success stories of past GMAT students as well as reviews of various GMAT prep courses to see what prep materials have worked for other test-takers.

You also may find it helpful to read this article about
how to score a 700+ on the GMAT.

If you have any further questions regarding your study plan, feel free to reach out.
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New post 27 Sep 2018, 17:27
Midwestguy

There are already tons of excellent replies above, and I will like to add my two cents.
You shall get answers to WHAT sort of questions you are missing (e.g. weaken in CR / or inequalities in DS;
If you practice from gmatclub and remember to select the timer, the error log automatically does that for you
and so does all above online courses.); The more important question you need to answer here is
WHY are you missing them?
I can not emphasize the value of 'aha' moment when you see the video solution from any of above course/ best reply on gmatclub forums,
however, it is important to know why your thought did not match theirs. The more you introspect on yourself and the reasons
for missing the target (could be fatigue, anxiety, or social media distractions) the earlier you will be able to achieve that elite score.
Wishing you all the best in your prep and do keep us posted with your progress.
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New post 28 Sep 2018, 00:19
A good tutor can offer a lot of value. And I emphasize, a good tutor. A bad tutor not only costs money but can also do more harm than good. I am of the opinion that when you're studying for the GMAT and putting together your applications, time is the most expensive asset. If you take the test once and don't do well, you'll have to study for it again, and if that fails too you'll end up spending too much time on the GMAT and not having enough time for the rest of your applications. I often recommend that students who are short on time hire a tutor, because a tutor can make the learning process several times more efficient. A good tutor can talk with you and understand your background, strengths, and weaknesses at a level that a software program and recorded videos cannot reach. A good tutor can help you keep track of your progress and provide the mental support when you are having a bad week and cannot keep the focus on the test. A good tutor can explain a problem in multiple ways to help you really understand the problem and can help you diagnose your mistakes to make sure you won't repeat the same kind of mistakes.

Most good tutors are expensive because the value they provide is worth it. There may also be hidden gems somewhere. Before you decide to hire a tutor, make sure you have a conversation with the tutor to understand his style and communicate your goals. Hiring a tutor is something you want to do only once. Make sure he is a good tutor. Good luck!
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