I sometimes see students asking around for LSAT tutors, and their requests usually go like this:
“Anyone know a good in-person tutor in <insert small city name here>?”
“Looking for a good tutor in <city>. Looking for in-person first.”
And you know, I understand the desire to find someone local. Especially if your experience with online classes in college has mostly involved logging into Moodle, watching a boring video posted by your instructor, then uploading your homework and writing a few posts on a discussion board. What an impersonal way to learn!
My goal here isn’t to convince you that those boring online classes in college were somehow better than you remember. I’m also not trying to sell you my tutoring. I promise! (I don’t want to work with someone who isn’t sure we’re a good fit.)
Instead, my goal is to show you how online LSAT tutoring actually works so that you can make a more informed decision about the best prep for you.
Why should you consider online tutoring for the LSAT?
The LSAT is a specialist test. Not everyone can do it well. That much is probably painfully obvious to anyone reading this and considering tutoring!
But an important implication is that not every tutor out there can do the LSAT well. While it’s fine if an LSAT specialist decides to branch down into easier tests like the SAT, it can be a problem if an SAT or GRE tutor, even a good one, decides to start listing the LSAT as one of their tutoring subjects without first really taking the time to master the LSAT. The result? In small cities, you’ll often have a hard time finding a highly qualified LSAT tutor.
This isn’t arrogance talking. I used to be in charge of recruiting and hiring test prep teachers across the state of Tennessee for a prominent test prep company. Not sooo difficult to find good LSAT tutors in bigger cities like Nashville, thanks to Vanderbilt University and a good music scene (great for entertainment law). Harder to find a good tutor in Knoxville or Chattanooga. Harder still in cities you may not have heard of if you live a few states over.
When I lived in Hawaii later on, I was the *only* independent LSAT tutor I knew of in town. Maybe some others were out there, but I never came across any of their ads, so I’m not sure how a student would have found them.
When you limit yourself to whoever is local, you also run the risk of working with someone who’s not a good fit for your personal style. I don’t know about you, but I’m really picky about teachers. I have some hero teachers I absolutely love working with, but I’ve learned I do NOT get along well with those who don’t know what they are talking about or who seem more concerned with their own ego than anything else.
But enough with the negativity. Let’s switch gears to talk about how online tutoring actually works and why you should consider it.
How does online LSAT tutoring work?
Every tutor is different of course, so I’ll just be sharing with you the set up I personally use with my students.
Audio and Video
I use Zoom with most of my students so that we can see and hear each other during the sessions. It’s like Skype or Facetime, but with a few additional benefits:
- It doesn’t require an account or certain types of devices.
- It can even work in your browser without a download.
- It’s completely FREE to you.
- Stability is better than with Skype.
- We can automatically record sessions for you to review later.
- Zoom has a great screen share with extra features that make it perfect for working together on materials.
I use a free online whiteboard program which allows us to work together on anything we upload. We can use it to do all of these things:
- Sketch out games
- Work through questions
- Make notes on strategies, LR question types, etc.
- Basically anything you would want to do on paper in person!
What’s even better, these notes are all saved in the whiteboard, and we can also export them to pdf for you to review later.
Homework & Study Plans
When I tutored in person, I used to give my students their homework list on the paper notes we made during the session. Soooo easy to lose that paper. Or so obnoxious to lug around heavy LSAT books and an increasingly large pile of notes and prep tests.
Going digital means we can organize study plans and homework in tidy Google Drive folders. And since the LSAT itself has now gone digital, it just makes sense to make at least some parts of your prep paperless as well.
Want an example?
**Check out the image below for an example of one page of (copyright-violation-free) notes from a recent lesson with a student. We were working on some basics for logic games–contrapositives, necessary (trigger) and sufficient conditions, deductions for in/out games, and ways to organize the scratch paper to make the rules easier to scan. My hope is that these notes will give you a clearer picture of how online tutoring works.
Benefits of online tutoring
Feedback from my own online students suggests that online tutoring offers several benefits over face-to-face tutoring:
- It is more convenient since you don’t have to travel to another location. As a tutor, I also end up having more availability since I am no longer stuck in traffic for large portions of the afternoon.
- Online tutoring allows you to meet with a true expert even when one is not available nearby.
- Some students focus even better than they do in face-to-face lessons. Fewer distractions than meeting in a coffee shop, for example.
- We can adjust the lesson plan instantaneously to fit what you need without having to rely on only the printed materials we have with us.
- It’s greener!
- With the new digital LSAT, online tutoring better mimics the way you will actually face your test.
- Fewer cancellations = more consistent prep. We don’t have to worry about spreading germs on the days when you feel fine but are still technically contagious. We can still meet even when I’m out of town for the weekend. And snow days or accidents on the freeway are now irrelevant.
- Online tutoring works well for busy students and working professionals because we can often exploit time zone differences to find a time that works great for both of us.
- You can review the material from tutoring sessions in multiple modalities: our written notes from the session and/or a recording of the session.
- Sessions are cost-effective since you aren’t paying rates that have been inflated to offset transportation costs. In other words, you get a higher quality online tutor for the same price as a local tutor.
When you expand your search for the perfect tutor to online, the whole world is your oyster. Be picky, and make sure you are working with someone you trust.
And if that happens to be me, I’d love to know! Click here to send me a message so we can schedule your FREE consultation.