Private LSAT Tutor —
LSAT Tutoring

by phone or online

 

What are your qualifications?

I have been designing reasoning questions that actually go on tests like the LSAT for over fifteen years; I’m currently not writing for the LSAT (if I were, I’d be prohibited from tutoring), but I received my initial training in test item writing at LSAC, near Princeton, and wrote questions for the LSAT for about 5 years. Also, I’m the author of a critical thinking textbook that is used in critical thinking courses across the U.S. and Canada (Critical Thinking: An Appeal to Reason, Routledge 2011).  Furthermore, I’ve been teaching for over 20 years, and tutoring exclusively for the LSAT for over 5 years.

– M.A. (Philosophy)

– B.A. (double major in Literature and Philosophy; minor in Psychology)

– B.Ed. and twenty years’ teaching experience

– ESL certification and five years ESL teaching experience

How do you tutor? What is your method?

Once you develop the basic reasoning skills required, the best way to prepare for the LSAT is to do practice test after practice test after practice test…  That way, you become familiar with the LSAT-type questions, you develop your mental stamina, and you increase your speed — all of which lead to a better score.

Unless you’ve already done a lot of prep and know which areas you want to work on, we’ll start with LR, partly because two of the four sections are LR and partly because LR is sort of halfway between RC and AR (more commonly called LG), skill-wise.  We’ll go through several LR questions, as slowly as needed for you to completely ‘get’ the reasoning, for you to understand the architecture of the argument (to understand that they are arguments and not just mini-discussions).  I’ll work through a few out loud so you can hear my reasoning — so you can hear what parts of the question you need to emphasize, what parts are irrelevant, what connections you need to make, what missing premises or unstated assumptions you need to articulate, etc.  You need to know the right answer, but, more importantly, you need to know how I got to the right answer. Then I’ll explain exactly why the right answer is right, and why each wrong answer is wrong.  And then, when you’re ready, you’ll go through a few out loud, and I’ll interject if you miss something important or make an incorrect inference…

Then we’ll repeat the process for RC, and then AR/LG.

Alternatively, as I imply above, we can just work on the question type that is giving you most trouble.

I can also help with the Writing section: I can give you tips about how best to approach this section, and I can give you extensive feedback on your practice essays.

We need to be on the same page, literally, so we just need to make sure we have the same practice books.  (The ones published by LSAC are the best, in my opinion, because those questions are ‘approved’ by them as being truly representative of what will be on the test.)

Some students (especially those who aren’t Philosophy majors and haven’t taken a critical thinking course) (and so, typically, haven’t developed the basic reasoning skills required) choose, in addition, to purchase a copy of my critical thinking text and work through the relevant sections (the introduction to argument, the two logic chapters, the sections on principles, analogies, causal reasoning, relevance, and so on).  When I wrote the text, I had in mind typical critical thinking classes which tend to be very large and taught by the professors with the least experience, so I wrote a very extensive ‘Answers, Explanations, and Analyses’ section, which makes the book a very ‘do it yourself’ enterprise.

Having the text is also helpful because when, for example, we get to an LSAT question that involves, say, sufficient and necessary conditions, I can just refer you to the relevant section in my text, and you can read it, do the exercise, then check your work with my ‘Explanations’ section — in addition to, or perhaps instead of (depending on what it is), having me explain the concepts during one of our sessions.  And I can, of course, to go over any material in the text that you get stuck on.

What materials do I need?

We use the actual LSATs of years past, so you’ll need to buy one or more of the books published by LSAC (available here, though you may be able to get a better price elsewhere); you should also have the more recent tests (from #63 onwards, which are sold individually).

Also, especially if you’ve never taken an informal logic course before, I do recommend (but don’t require) my text (or any other good informal logic textbook). As mentioned above, it will save us some time during the sessions if I can just refer you to a section in the text that applies to what we’re working on if you’re having trouble with it. Many previous tutees have found it very helpful.

How often would we meet?

As often as you like.  That said, I see best results when people start with 2-3x/week: after 5-10 weeks, they are typically at their target accuracy, then they reduce to 1x/week, to keep on target and to go over problem questions, while they work on increasing their stamina (by increasing the number of questions they do at one sitting) and their speed (primarily by practice, but also by trying a few different strategies).

Do I call you or do you call me?

I can call you on my landline ( the call’s on me).  Or we can connect by online (by skype, googlechat, etc. — audio only).

So are these conference calls?

No.  LSAT tutoring sessions are always one-on-one.

What are your rates?

$85/hr if you commit to 10+ hours; otherwise, $90/hr

How do I pay?

By e-transfer or PayPal (ptittle7@gmail.com) is accepted.

What was your LSAT score?

I have not taken the LSAT.  I have designed questions that go on the LSAT.   (So this is sort of like asking someone who wrote a book whether or not they’ve read it.)  This means that I know premises, conclusions, strengtheners, weakeners, assumptions, apparent paradoxes, etc. inside-out and upside-down.

Nor am I a lawyer.  The LSAT is not about the law. The LSAT is about reasoning skills: understanding an argument, recognizing premises and conclusions and the relationships between them, understanding what assumptions are or must be made, determining what’s relevant and what’s not, knowing what would strengthen or weaken an argument…  Hence, the relevance of my M.A. in Philosophy (philosophers are all about argument; that’s why Philosophy students tend to do quite well on the LSAT), as well as, of course, the fact that I used to be one of the people who write the LSAT questions, and the fact that I wrote a textbook all about reasoning.

The LSAT is also, to some extent, about reading skills.  Hence, the relevance of my B.A. in Literature.

Lastly, note that although some people who score well on the LSAT can teach others how to do the same, it doesn’t necessarily follow that they can do so.  Hence, the relevance of my B.Ed. (and my extensive teaching experience).

I’m a little hesitant about the online thing; wouldn’t I be better off with an in-person tutor?

I was also a little hesitant, but given my location, it’s really my only option. That said, I’ve discovered an unexpected advantage to phone/online tutoring: the visual doesn’t distract and the body language doesn’t intrude–we’re both focusing completely on the text in front of us, on the arguments presented and the questions asked.  The sessions are, thus, very intense; as many of my tutees have remarked, you get your money’s worth!

Even so, yes, it can be a bit awkward at the beginning–I will never call you rude for interrupting (because you don’t have body language to depend on), and, in fact, I encourage interruption.

The AR/LG section is a little challenging, but I’m carefully articulate about describing exactly what my set-up diagrams look like.

Several of my previous tutees were similarly hesitant, but, I believe, completely changed their mind once they started. Please feel free to contact them and talk about this part of the process (see the references below).

Lastly, if it doesn’t work out, and you are more comfortable with in-person sessions, you can just quit. I don’t require a contract.

Do you have any references?

You can contact the following former tutees with any questions you might have:
Nic Baldwin nicbaldwin@icloud.com
Erika Gudnason ekg995@mail.usask.ca
Hailey Boutin haileyboutin@hotmail.com
Rebecca Kirby kirby.rebeccaa@gmail.com
Maddie Pearlman maddiepearlman@hotmail.com
Pete Baldwin pete@prnaz.com or 480-326-6521 (PST)
Alison Aston ali.aston@gmail.com

and read some testimonials here

Anything else I should know?

I limit my active roster to 10 tutees.
Requests to reschedule or cancel a session must be made by phone (just leave a message) twenty-four hours in advance; otherwise, you’ll be charged for the session. (Please don’t just send an email, as I often don’t check my email until it’s too late; however, I see the red flashing light on my answering machine throughout the day.)

I have more questions / I’d like to hire you. How do I contact you?