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How to find a good tutor (and not just one with a personal high score?)

moonlightmoonlight Member
in General 22 karma

Hi! I am trying to find a tutor to help me break from low 170s to the mid-high 170s. I have seen a lot of advertisements/posts online where it seems like the tutors' main draw is their own high LSAT score. This doesn't necessarily mean that their pedagogical skills are top-tier & tutors are VERY expensive, so I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations of specific tutors/tutoring companies/etc who have experience teaching and demonstrated track record of improving scores? My budget is up to 250/hour, but can go higher if needed.

Also, tangentially related question, but how many tutoring sessions/hours did it take for you guys break the low 170s plateau?


  • Jonathan WangJonathan Wang Yearly Sage
    edited June 2022 6866 karma

    From the tutor side, it's a similarly thorny question - how do I demonstrate that I know better than the next guy? Lots of people score 175+, but how many of them can teach?

    So as one of said high priced tutors, my best advice is to ask questions. Ask about their track record - greatest success, biggest challenges, etc. Ask how what their teaching philosophy is, what they expect out of their students, and what a typical lesson looks like. Describe your situation and ask what experience they've had helping others in similar positions. The way those questions get answered (and in particular, the depth to which the person can address them) can tell you a whole lot about their ability to get you to the next level. Maybe I'm just an egomaniac, but I >love< talking about my experience and it's an easy way to differentiate people with experience from people without.

    It's not foolproof, of course - nothing is except for an actual evaluation of their work during a lesson - but there aren't that many other options. Combined with the other normal stuff like checking references and reading testimonials, it's probably the best that can be done.

  • Aastha SAastha S Member Administrator Sage 7Sage Tutor
    413 karma

    Hey! Here at 7Sage, not only are our tutors 99th percentile scorers but we also have experience helping hundreds on clients reach their goal score. We take a personalized approach to each client that we work with to ensure that there are no stones left unturned come test day. If you work with our tutoring services, we hand pick a tutor for you based on your specific needs!

    If you have any questions about what tutoring here at 7Sage looks like and how it can fit into your own studying, feel free to use this link to schedule a free 30 minute consultation with me:

    I'd love to be able to speak with you soon about how 7Sage can help with your LSAT journey!

  • HopefullyHLSHopefullyHLS Member
    445 karma

    A good method of filtering is asking them how long it took them to get to their desired score. If the time is quite short (e.g. 2 months for a 175+) that might suggest that they will not be good tutors. The reason is that a person who is a natural talent in the skills the LSAT requires does not need as much work to get a 175+ as does the rest of us. In other words, they simply „get it“, without thinking much about the process of „getting it“, or what exactly happens in their brain every time they answer a question correctly. Consequently, they might struggle to encounter people who just „don‘t get it“, simply because they rarely have been in their shoes.

    Just as an analogy (recalling the words of my undergrad professor in solid mechanics, who was trying to explain the concept of Geometrical Moment of Intertia as well as illustrate how hard it is to explain):

    You know what a „surface“ is. You have seen and touched it multiple times in your life. You never actively thought about its exact definition. Now, imagine a person who is blind and can‘t sense anything on his/her whole body. I bet it will not be an easy task for you to explain him/her what a surface is.

    The above is especially true for Reading Comprehension. Only a small minority of high-scoring tutors can actually teach RC effectively. The #1 reason for that is that the vast majority of them never really struggled with RC, they could naturally read dense material fast, without losing comprehension. Thus, it is difficult for them to help people that struggle with reading, simply because they probably never encountered such difficulties themselves. Oftentimes, they resort to standard-bullshit tips like „read for structure“, „learn how to speed-read“, „aim for finishing first 2 passages in 15 minutes“, „skim the questions before reading the passage“ etc.

    My advice would be to look for tutors who have the nuts to tell you „Hey, I got that 17x, but it took me a year and 3+ attempts to get there“. It is an indicator that these people not only have a good score, but also know how to get there, what works and (more importantly) what doesn‘t work. These are the people who will help you most.

  • redwolf90redwolf90 Core Member
    9 karma

    You are so right. JY on 7Sage, for example, may have a high score but he is one of the worst video tutors I've come across. There are waaaaay better videos on Youtube, unfortunately they don't come with all the practice sets. To me, 7Sage's only value is all the practice problems so I don't have to go out and buy 10 different books, but the tutoring is a complete joke. I just went through a video lesson where he did not explain the wrong answers at all, and even breezed over one of them saying "well that's just obviously wrong." Like, what if it isn't obvious to everyone? It's very demoralizing and it feels like he's calling you stupid. I get that he has a high score but I see now that that doesn't really mean anything.

  • Cant Get RightCant Get Right Yearly + Live Member Sage 🍌 7Sage Tutor
    27822 karma

    There's a lot of tutors out there, and they run the spectrum from the truly great to the spectacularly awful. There's a lot of easy ways to weed out the really bad ones, but that still leaves a ton of middle-of-the-roaders being priced the same as the top-tier. I'd definitely reinforce Jonathan's point on the importance of talking to people. There's no substitute. Schedule lots of free consultations. Don't give anyone money who's not willing to talk to you for free first--absolutely not. (Refundable deposits are okay--got to let people secure their time.)
    And be skeptical in consults. Ask lots of questions and make them prove to you why they'd be a good fit. There are way more bad and so-so tutors than good ones, so statistically speaking, it's unlikely you're talking to a great one. Put the onus on them to convince you otherwise--it's literally a job interview, and you're the boss. (That relationship gets a little more complicated once you hire someone, but that's exactly why it's so important to find someone you really trust.) If I can't convince a skeptical student that I am the best tutor for them, I promise you I am the wrong person for that student. Do not hire me. And, of course, I extend that same sentiment to any tutor any student speaks with.
    Look for passion. It'll sound weird to most people, but LSAT tutors really do love this test. We love studying it, we love teaching it, we find it endlessly fascinating, and there is nothing else we would rather be doing. If you're not picking up on that kind of energy, thank them for their time and keep looking.
    If it's someone charging the BIG MONEY, you also need to look for experience. I started off charging $15 an hour, and that was probably overcharging, lol. I knew my stuff, I just wasn't seasoned. I was still learning my job. But the inevitable inadequacies cost my students time and money. It is only appropriate that it was costing them far less money than the big money tutors. So just to state the obvious: Don't pay pro prices for amateur tutors. Pay amateur prices. Everyone has to get their start somewhere, and you can find some emerging greats among the amateurs. But mostly not. In either case, you're gambling on them. And there is absolutely no reason to pay top dollar on a gamble when you could get a proven veteran for the same rate.
    Look to develop rapport. Your tutor needs to be someone you enjoy spending a little time with, someone who's style and personality you gel with, and someone who engages with your intellect in an effective way. It's an intangible, but it's important. It takes time to build any relationship, so you do have to take a bit of a risk on this, but if you aren't actively looking forward to working with a tutor, that should give you pause.

    Also, JY is the GOAT.

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