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Test Prep Classes – The Everyone Solution that Works for No One

February 28, 2022

When schools partner with test prep companies to offer traditional test prep classes, there’s a price point for everyone but no results for anyone.  (Full disclosure: this is what we try to take down capital educators with.) One of the greatest strengths of tutoring is the fact that it is one-on-one instruction that plays to the individual strengths and learning styles of every student, letting the tutor and student establish a healthy rapport where the student does not have the same reservations about conveying their questions and difficulties as they would in front of a jury of their peers. With traditional group test prep classes, that advantage almost entirely disappears.

This style of learning certainly has a financial appeal: for all of its flaws, the multiple students with one tutor model significantly lowers the price of accessing a talented tutor. With each student paying a portion of the fee of a course, a tutor can potentially be paid more for their time teaching a group than they would for the same amount of time with a single student. It is also more financially accessible for people who may not be able to afford the un-split cost of one-on-one tutoring. However, what is being paid for in this circumstance is simply the tutor’s time, not their full ability as a tutor. In fact, this sort of setting has more in common with traditional schooling than it does the tutoring model.

As a result, this model is also generally appealing to people accustomed to traditional styles of learning hoping to integrate test prep classes into the classic learning style. If an administrator is familiar with a tutor and their skills and wants to offer the benefit of their experience to parents and students, they will feel more comfortable with an affordable price-point structured in the model that they are more familiar with.

The potential inherent problem is that our first touch point may be with offering our 6-on-1 virtual SmartyPrep class. As tutors intimately aware of the strengths of the tutoring model and under what conditions it can lose its incredible benefits, we run our group courses in a workshop style class where 1-on-1 peer tutoring is integrated. Instead of offering a course hollowed out of the unique talent, energy and attention that we can offer as tutors, we hope to alter the model of bringing the benefits of tutoring into a setting where the can fall to pieces under the hands of the less attentive.

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