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Evaluate Needs, Goals Before Picking Grad School Test Prep

Classes are one option for prospective graduate students, but they may move too slow or fast to help.

Procrastinators should not self-study, experts say. A private tutor or class can keep them focused.
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• Private tutoring: One-on-one tutoring can be costly. It's not unheard of for someone to pay $2,000 for it. But it is great for people who want to zero in on a specific area of weakness, experts say.

For example, a tutor can help a student struggling with data sufficiency questions on the GMAT with that one problem instead of focusing on the entire exam, Killoran says.

Students in a time crunch should also consider this option, experts say. A student with only three weeks to study would probably get more out of one-on-one tutoring than in a class that caters to many people, says Bibilos.

[Look for these five things in an LSAT class.]

While students receive the most attention from an instructor in this test prep environment, they must also take the lead on planning the sessions.

"In class we're going to give you all the structure you need," says O'Malley. In private tutoring, "the student is very much helping drive it forward."

Students who are more passive or those who are uncomfortable with lots of individual attention, however, may struggle.

"You're on the spot all the time," says Bibilos. "You can't hide your weaknesses."

Finding the right test preparation may take trial and error or even a mix of various techniques, Killoran says.

If you're truly stumped about which test preparation option to select, he encourages students to speak with experts for guidance.

"Ask as many questions as you want," he says. "In the end, it's all about what works for you."

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