A waste of time and money

by Chuck on Tuesday, 10 March, 2015

I once had a student who’d been using another tutor. She said she’d spend tuition sessions watching him working out the answer to various questions. Sometimes she could barely see what he was doing because his arm was in the way. Most of the time she couldn’t keep up. And she was paying £80/hour for the privilege.

Why didn’t she stop him? Why didn’t she walk away and stop throwing money at him? I think it’s because we like to trust teachers and others in respected positions in society ~ policewomen, doctors, judges. We like to think that they will do everything they can to help us. Most teachers, especially in schools, are committed to taking the time to help us understand, often for a meagre wage. Sadly, the only qualification for being a GMAT tutor seems to be having a high GMAT score. And I’m not sure there’s any qualification for being a GMAT prep agency.

Unfortunately, people with big brains think quickly and intuitively. Often they just get things, and if you don’t get things, they don’t get why you don’t get what they get, so they don’t get that you need help to get it. Get it? It’s easy to become lost.

So before you spend somewhere in the region of £85/hour (the going rate for tutors of various standards) or £100+/hour (the going rate for agencies, which often use those same tutors), ask for a free trial. Have the tutor talk you through a question you find difficult. Ask him about the different approaches for that question, or what you need to look out for in order to solve a similar question successfully next time, or what revision exercises you might pursue to improve your speed and accuracy. And if you’re not satisfied with the answers, walk away.

Just as there are many ways of solving a GMAT question, there are many tutors out there. Find the one that’s right for you. Try not to waste your time and money. And if you’re really stuck, ask me. I’ve had many students come to me from other tutors or agencies: you won’t be the first and you won’t be the last. There’s a lot of free stuff on my website. I won’t charge you a penny if I don’t help. But hopefully I will. Thanks for reading: you’ve just taken a very important precaution!

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