If you are applying for a Master’s programme most likely you will need to take the GMAT or the GRE. One of the main questions that students like you face when they decide to sign up for a prep course is what option to choose: individual tutoring or a group course?
Here are seven factors to consider before making your decision.
1. Course structure
In order to succeed in GMAT or GRE, regardless of the type of the course, the first thing to be considered is the quality of its contents and structure. In the experience of most of our students, to get the best results out of your preparation you should follow these three fundamental steps:
1) Build the foundation:
- learn or refresh core maths and verbal concepts;
- familiarise yourself with the types of questions in each section of the exam;
- study the strategies and techniques to solve the questions
2) Apply these techniques and strategies to practice questions, learn the common traps in the answers and understand how to identify the patterns.
3) Do several full-time simulations, analyse their results, identify the areas for improvement and work on them.
When signing up for a group course, make sure these are the steps that the preparation will take you through. If you are opting for individual tutoring, discuss the structure of your programme with your tutor in advance to ensure that your preparation follows the outline above.
Check out: How to Prepare for GMAT – Essential Guide
Group courses usually offer more standard, one-size-fits-all solutions. They have to cover all concepts, strategies, and techniques in the stipulated time. They are not customised to a student’s strengths or weaknesses. If you are weak, for example, in algebra, the onus of mastering it is fully on you. There will hardly be more time allocated to it than is designed by the curriculum. On the contrary, if you are particularly good in, let’s say, English grammar, you will still have to cover it with the rest of the group.
Individual courses, on the other hand, are fully customised and adapted to you. Your strengths and weaknesses are taken into account and a personalised plan is designed for you. This is usually preferred by students who have limited time to prepare for the exams, as well as by working professionals, or by re-takers.
3. Number of people in the group
If the group has more than 5-8 students, it will be hard for your tutor to heed all the students’ needs and explain all the details to each of them. Will your particular questions be addressed? Will you be able to navigate through the vast prep material on your own? Will the general understanding of how the GMAT works, and what concepts are tested, be enough to reach your target score? If you don’t feel confident about your abilities to tackle these issues without an expert’s advice, consider individual tutoring.
4. Your initial level of preparation
Did you study maths at high school several years ago but have never applied it since? Or are your English skills a bit rusty and in need of a brush-up? Most group courses won’t have time to go into basics of maths or English grammar, so you might consider going through basics with a tutor individually.
If you have a strong mathematical and/or verbal background and you can study at a fast pace and learn advanced concepts easily, then, again, following a standard group schedule might not be to your advantage.
If you are somewhere in between, a group course might be a better solution for you.
5. Your flexibility and your location
Group courses usually have fixed schedules; if you are studying or working, it might be quite a challenge to find the time to follow a rigid programme. Individual courses give you much more flexibility in this regard: you can fix your own schedule and move forward at your own pace.
While all major European cities have on-site classes, not everyone lives in a big city. Of course, if you are unable to attend a course in person, there is always a possibility to join the online classes, but then, most probably, individual classes are your only option.
Check out: How to Choose GRE and GMAT Test Dates
6. Your personal preference
Remember that groups have their own dynamics and tutors have their own teaching styles. Some group courses are highly interactive, some are in the style of lectures. Before signing up for the course, think what environment will enable you to get the most out of the course: do you learn better when you just follow the lecture, discuss issues with other students, or do you need a thorough explanation, one-to-one?
7. Cost of the course
Last, but not least, cost is an important factor in deciding. Individual courses are usually more expensive; their price may depend on several factors such as a tutor’s level of competence, hourly rate, or the number of hours taken. If you opt for the individual course, make sure that it has all the requisites discussed in this article, providing you with the best value for your investment.