What is your availability like?

I do this full time, so I am generally available weekdays, weeknights, and Sundays, but my weeknights and Sundays tend to be pretty booked up so try to contact me as far in advance as possible.  If you are available during the day on weekdays and are somewhat flexible then it is usually possible to schedule meetings on fairly short notice.

Where does the tutoring take place?

I have an office in midtown (Madison and 29th street) where I do most of my tutoring.  It is only 2 blocks from the 6 train and close to several other subways as well.  And of course I do online tutoring as well.

What is your rate?

Please contact me directly for information about my rate.

Why should I choose a private GMAT tutor like yourself over a tutor from a major test prep company?

First of all, having once been a novice instructor/tutor at a major test prep company, I can attest to the fact that most of the people who work for these companies are part-time instructors (usually doing GMAT tutoring on the side to finance their other interests) who don’t have much experience tutoring and who have no real mastery of the test. In fact, working for one of the major companies is a great place to start when you don’t really know what you are doing because they train you and practically tell you what to say.

Another advantage I have over the major test prep companies is that I have the freedom to choose whatever materials I think work best and I do use resources that come from a variety of different sources. Ultimately, over the years I have been free to develop my own methods, based on what I can clearly see is most effective and unrestrained by the boundaries set by any company. This is especially important with regard to tutoring, where a once-size-fits-all approach is clearly not effective.

What materials do you use?

As explained above, I use a variety of different resources and over the years I have developed a pool of materials that I draw from to fit the particular needs of each of my students.  I rely mostly on the official GMAC materials, since the books and practice tests published by GMAC contain real questions from previous administrations of the test (and the practice tests utilize the real scoring algorithm).  This is especially important with regard to Verbal questions, which are much more difficult to write in a way that makes them accurately represent the real questions on the test. But I also have my own materials that I use with students – especially strategy sheets and other specific guides. And depending on the situation and the particular needs of the student, there are a number of third party resources that I use. For example, if a student is very weak in Math content, there are 1 or 2 books that I tend to use (the exact book that I choose depends on the precise nature of the weakness). And if a student really struggles with Critical Reasoning, there is a third party “packet” that I have found to be the most effective in helping people understand the core foundation of GMAT CR questions and the general strategies that can be applied.

What about practice tests?

I give all my clients access to more than 10 CAT practice tests (this is in addition to the 4 that are available on the GMATPrep software).  I also have a strategy that allows my students to do more that 4 GMATPrep tests and I tend to rely on these more than the non-official tests that I have. The truth is that the non-GMATPrep tests are of limited value so I use them for very specific purposes.  First of all, they are good for giving a student general practice on the computer, which is truly an entirely different experience from doing questions on paper.  Secondly, they are useful for working on time management issues and since the non-GMATPrep tests give a question-by-question timing breakdown, I am able to analyze the results with my students and help them develop more effective time management strategies.  Non-official tests (no matter which ones they are) are NOT great at predicting one’s score (both because the questions are not real and because the scoring algorithm is different), so I often have to remind my students not to read too much into the scores that they get when using these tests. When we need to get an indication of the score level that they are at we rely on the GMATPrep tests, so I space out the use of those tests to allow us to continue to turn to them throughout the process.

How many sessions are typically required?

The answer to this question obviously depends a lot on your particular situation. If you are starting out with a very low score and looking for a huge increase, you will clearly need a lot more tutoring. Another obvious factor is how much time and dedication you put into practicing, since the amount of time we spend together will only be a small fraction of the total study time that you put in. What I try to do is set out a realistic game plan and timeframe from the first session and then adjust as we go. Sometimes a student will progress more quickly so we will start ramping up to a test date earlier than expected. I have tutored students for as few as 1 or 2 sessions (focusing on isolated issues like probability or time management) and I have tutored others for 15 or 20 sessions or in some cases more. If I had to pinned down to an average I would say that for most students it is 8 to 10 sessions.

How long are the sessions?

I generally do 2 hour sessions. There are several reasons for this. First of all, it is difficult to really delve deeply into problem areas in less time than that. Another consideration is that since I tutor all sections of the test, it often makes sense to focus on a range of issues in a single session, and it takes time to really do that properly.

The other reason that I like to do 2 hour sessions is that the GMAT is a marathon exam that requires students to be able to maintain their focus for roughly 4 hours. So it’s good to get in the habit of having to focus on GMAT stuff and nothing else for longer chunks of time.

How much can I expect my score to increase?

This also depends a lot on your particular situation.  If you are starting with a 650, then a 100 point increase is much more difficult to achieve than if you are starting with a 450.  Another factor is how much prep you have already done and how hard you work in between sessions.  That said, if you have not done a lot of prep and if you work extremely hard a 100 to 150 point increase is very reasonable and I have had many students who have increased much more than that (sometimes 200 to 250 points).

How are the sessions structured?

Again this depends in part on the needs of the student, but it also depends on where we are in the preparation process.  Prior to the first session I usually have a student take a practice test so that we have a jumping off point, both in terms of a baseline score and a more specific idea of what the issues are. The first session tends to be unique in that a lot of the time is spent diagnosing the problems, coming up with a game plan and tentative timeline, and discussing other more general issues.

After the initial session, most sessions will begin with homework review so that you’ll have an opportunity to ask me about things that you struggled with between sessions.  However, this will usually only represent a small part of the session and most of our time will be spent covering new territory (with me introducing new strategies and providing you with sample questions to reinforce the concepts that we are discussing until I or we feel that you have really grasped them).  As I work through questions together with my students I always ask them what they are thinking and why they are choosing the answers they are choosing. Doing so gives me insight into their thought processes and allows me to understand how best to guide them forward.

At the end of each sessions I will give you a detailed homework assignment, which will generally consist of questions meant to reinforce what we covered in that session as well as material to cover to preview what we plan to discuss in the following session.  As we get closer to your test date, part of the homework assignment will consist of taking practice tests and an increasingly large portion of our time together will be spent reviewing the tests and occasionally breaking off from them to focus specifically on some of the problem areas highlighted by the tests.

Do you have experience tutoring students with learning disabilities or non-native English speakers?

Yes.  Over the years I have had many students who have learning disabilities, including those who required and received extra time for the test administration.  I have had students who have problems with visualization, reading difficulties, slow processing speed, ADHD, difficulty converting concepts to long-term memory, you name it.  I also taught and tutored the GMAT abroad for several years, so I have taught and tutored literally hundreds of non-native English speakers.  People with learning disabilities and those who are non-native speakers obviously have some special needs with regard to how they prepare for the GMAT, and when it comes to a tutor what they need most of all, I have found, is someone who can understand the unique ways in which their mind works and the particular obstacles that they face.  Trying to understand the minds of the people I work with is something that I do with all of my students (it is one of the aspects of tutoring that I enjoy most) and I have enough experience with people with learning disabilities and non-native English speakers that I have a pretty good understanding of both the problems that most of them face and the strategies that are most effective in dealing with them.

What is your cancellation policy?

If you do not cancel at least 24 hours prior to an appointment, you are responsible for the full fee, no exceptions. Obviously everybody has a “good reason” for canceling, but it puts me in a very difficult position to have to make judgments as to when to make an exception and when not. I am a nice guy, so it is difficult for me to not be understanding of the reasons people give for canceling, and in the end I look like a jerk if I don’t make an exception in all of these cases. So to save me from having to feel like a jerk, please just accept my policies and do everything in your power to avoid canceling inside of 24 hours. If you get the feeling that you might need to cancel, its best to just do so in advance and I will try to fit you in somewhere else.