LSAT Tutor

Choosing the right tutor can make all the difference in your LSAT performance.

Targeted, one-on-one test prep can help you achieve your highest-possible score—one you might not be able to get without a tutor. An investment of time and money now can pay dividends later. A good LSAT score could mean admission to a top-tier law school, from which you’re more likely to get a coveted—and well-paid—job after graduation. It could even yield tuition scholarships during law school!

But not every tutor can help you achieve those results. It’s important to remember that anyone can claim to be an LSAT tutor—there are no formal requirements for the job. It’s up to you to be discerning and savvy! Here are six questions you should ask about the LSAT tutors you’re considering.

Question #1: How qualified to teach the LSAT are they?

Evidence that a tutor scored very high on the LSAT certainly indicates mastery of the material. That said, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that the tutor with the highest score will be most qualified to teach you! A few points’ difference between tutors doesn’t mean that much—especially where teaching is concerned. Moreover, the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) does not permit instructors to take the exam for professional purposes (it’s against the rules to take the LSAT for any reason other than applying to law school), so not everyone can even obtain a recent official LSAT score.

For these reasons, it is better to focus on prospective tutors’ teaching experience. How long have they been teaching the LSAT, and how many students have they taught? While all great tutors need to start somewhere, engaging a brand-new instructor is riskier than sticking with a seasoned one.

While a tutor need not be a lawyer or law student to be superb, either should be considered a definite plus. The study and practice of law both hone the type of analytical reasoning skills that the LSAT is designed to measure.

Question #2: Does the LSAT tutor have excellent teaching skills?

The ability to do something well and the ability to teach others to do it well are very different! Accordingly, a tutor can have impeccable qualifications to tutor the LSAT and yet remain a poor or mediocre teacher. Most tutors will be willing to work through a few problems with you (usually by phone or Skype) before they’re hired in order to give you a sense of their teaching style. As you go through this process with a prospective tutor, ask yourself:

  • Does this tutor explain concepts and techniques in a way that I can easily understand?
  • Do I find this person interesting and engaging?
  • Does he or she answer my questions thoroughly and provide adequate clarification?
  • Do I feel comfortable talking with this individual, and do we have a good rapport?
Don’t be shy about assessing a potential tutor’s skills beforehand. Another great way to do this is to ask for references. Many tutors will, upon request, put you in contact with one or two former students who are willing to chat about their experiences. Keep in mind, though, that it is very unlikely you will be directed to anyone who wouldn’t offer a glowing recommendation. Still, you can (and should!) ask those former students specific questions about how the tutor helped them improve their scores—and by how many points they increased their LSAT scores.

Question #3: Which teaching materials will they be using?

This is actually an extremely important consideration. There is a finite number of official LSAT questions available, and anyone can purchase released exams and work through the questions with students. Usually only large test-prep companies have elaborate instruction manuals and workbooks designed to teach LSAT concepts in a systematic way, and LSAT tutors working for large companies can offer you access to those resources. (It should be noted that we are in fact a test-prep company with elaborate instruction manuals and workbooks—and likely a bit biased on this issue.) That said, while the use of books and other instructional aids is highly desirable, never work from anything that contains unofficial LSAT questions. Mock problems are often published on the Internet, but knowledgeable tutors do not use them. The LSAT is an extremely well-crafted and reliable test that is not easily simulated—even by highly skilled writers.    

Question #4: Are they considering my individual needs?

The best LSAT tutors know that every student requires a personalized strategic approach to the test. From the time of your first contact, your tutor should be asking you questions: How have you prepared for the LSAT in the past? Have you sat for the actual LSAT before, and if so, how did that go? What problems have you experienced in your efforts to prepare? What is/was your college GPA? Where do you want to go to law school? An astute and experienced tutor will be gathering information about your academic situation, cognitive strengths and weaknesses, potential pitfalls, learning style, and level of test anxiety. If your potential instructor seems to take a standard or cookie-cutter approach to LSAT preparation, you may want to look elsewhere. Stellar LSAT tutors adapt their instruction to suit their students.

Question #5: Do they seem genuinely to care about my LSAT score?

There are teachers —people for whom instruction is a calling—and then there are people who simply provide academic instruction for money. The former tend to make the greater impact. Just as your tutor should consider your test-prep needs, he or she should also truly care about how well you do. If you have a baseline score from taking a practice test , you can share your specific goals with your tutor, and he or she should develop a strategy to help you achieve those goals (within reason, of course). This kind of dedication is hard to fake and will usually be clearly present (or conspicuously absent) from the outset. Tutors who do care are typically more accessible than ones who don’t, and tend to make themselves available (again, within reason) to address LSAT-related concerns. With both you and your tutor wholeheartedly dedicated to your success, you will be significantly more likely to achieve your ultimate LSAT goal.   

Question #6: What should I do if my tutor isn’t working out?

If you do eventually find yourself working with a tutor who is not helping you improve, then do whatever you need to do to change tutors! A larger company will typically accommodate you and arrange a substitution, if possible.

Before you opt to make a switch, however, keep in mind that LSAT preparation is a long and complicated process in which you are essentially being trained to think differently. Many students don’t see higher scores on practice tests for several weeks, and it is actually quite common for scores initially to go down! In short, be sure to give your new tutor a chance. But if, after that initial period, the tutoring relationship still isn’t working out, then end it. As an attorney, you’ll need to be a fierce advocate on behalf of your clients—and the best way to grow into that role is by advocating for yourself now.