Is GAMSAT Private Tutoring Better?
The short answer, No...
Typically we don't do GAMSAT private tutoring.
This isn't because we don't like private tutoring, in fact Scott and I love it.
Students who have been in our private tutoring don't perform as well.
There are a five reasons for that
1. Not enough time
Assuming you are after an hour of private tutoring every week. Depending on when you start you probably get a maximum of 10-15 sessions prior to the exam.
Depending on your background, GAMSAT private Tutoring may need to cover Chemistry, Physics, Essay Writing and Strategic Approaches in S1. We list all the topics in our curriculum here in our free GAMSAT Topic Guide.
If you think about Chemistry as a heading there are hundreds of topics in Chemistry that take time to cover. Khan Academy lists over 200 topics for Chemistry alone. As a tutor how can I get you through Chemistry along with the hundreds of other topics we need to cover.
I can hear you saying "but I'll do that outside of my session", in my experience students don't. We rarely do our homework, but moreover what resources do I use to set your home work? Some random collection of videos or maybe something from my YouTube channel?
The continuity becomes an issue. That leads me on to the next problem.
2. Lack of control over resources and education
As a tutor, I want to have agency over what my students use, so that, as tutors we can understand where they are in their conceptual journey. Making sure you are tracking in the right direction over time, knowing where to direct you when you have blips etc.
This is one of the reasons we set up our courses (The Concentrated and Comprehensive Packages) in a strict manner. Such that we have two pathways and we can understand end to end where you are at inside the package.
Going back to our earlier point, it is very difficult for me to understand how many topics we've covered, at what level you're understanding them, key strengths and weaknesses etc. Because I didn't make Des O'Neil's resources! Am I meant to go through everything you've done just so I can better guide you. That is both inefficient and time consuming. What happens if I don't like the resources (which is often the case).
3. Private GAMSAT Tutoring leads to gaps
In Private Tutoring students largely direct the topic of the class.
Although we may have an understanding of what content we need to cover as humans we have a tendency to make choices in a subjective way.
We may begin to tutor more Chemistry because the sessions feel better, you feel like you're learning more but that is because you're inherently stronger in Chemistry and we should be focusing on Physics or your essays.
Over time there are gaps that appear, that are only noticed in the later stages when you start sitting practice exams.
4. The Best GAMSAT Tutors are hard to find
It is hard to find good tutors, trust us, we have a team of over 50 tutors that we think are the best.
How do you know your tutor knows what they're talking about?
Because they scored a 100?
Does that mean they can teach?
Michael Jordan was the best basketball player ever (maybe its Lebron, controversy haha). Either why, they're not the greatest coaches ever. Often the coaches weren't great as players.
It is the same here, especially for Section 1 and 2. We have seen thousands of students go through our doors and perform well. We understand the diversity in successful approaches and different journeys in which to prepare that best suit our students.
I have seen too many students arrive at our doors having been forced to write argumentative pieces for Task A and personal reflective pieces for Task B. Yes, you can get a high score writing that way, but, not if it is forced an unnatural. I have a great video on a better approach.
Great tutors are hard to find and often charge the most. The worst part is you won't know what you're getting until you get your results from March and September and feel empty looking at wasted money and poor results.
5. GAMSAT Private Tutoring is very expensive
Private tutoring is more expensive than the rate we can offer in our courses.
In the Concentrated Package and Comprehensive Package you're getting less than $30 per hour of in-person classes, not even considering other resources.
Our private tuition fees start at 100 per hour.
If you end up having 10 - 15 hours with a private tutor, you could have had around 50 hours in class with those same tutors, teaching you along a structured journey with perfect supplementary resources.
Along with the raw hours you could have the suite of resources that we create and have agency over, and ultimately be part of the experience we build.
My experience learning Spanish
I'd like to share a recent experience I had learning Spanish as I think it adds value to this explanation.
Just like a GAMSAT students wanting private tutoring, I started learning Spanish a year ago, I started with a private tutor. Ironically, I believed they'd be able to better customise my learning and mould the class to me. Sidebar, Spanish is inherently a little bit less strict than the GAMSAT, there is a discrete list of topics in the GAMSAT whereas Spanish is a near infinite language to conquer, so maybe private tutoring made sense.
In any case, I found that I wouldn't find the time to do the homework and I'd only end up learning in the private session, sound familiar?
Not only that but we focused on the words I felt most comfortable with, verbs in the present tense and although my vocabulary expanded a little it wasn't anything massive.
After 6 months, I looked at the money I'd spent and the conversations I was having with my grandparents, it was a small pay off.
Finally, I invested in a course at CAE the Centre for Adult Education. it was old school, 3 hour classes, not dissimilar to our GAMSAT classes, the tutor was great and I was forced to learn travelling vocab that I didn't really need.
However, each week I still wasn't doing my homework but I had more time learning in class and I got better. I learnt the past tense, the future and heaps of new words that I had no use for, however like all language, the more words the better (mas pelabras es mejor, I still got it haha). Now, my family would describe me as gringo-fluent, if you left me in a spanish speaking country with $5, I'd make it out alive.
The GAMSAT is the same.
Investing in yourself and a course that forces you to cover every topic, even the word for waiter and taxi, or the Biology and Physics you've already covered in Year 12 or Uni, is good. Because it ensures that you truly have the fundamentals understood before building question strategies.
It prioritises a streamlined journey with huge hours that ensures even if you don't do the homework you'll have enough time with us to do well. Like me in class, you get to know great tutors and students, friends for your journey. Rather than convincing yourself saving a tiny bit of money and doing it yourself in a customised haphazard session by session basis that is GAMSAT (or Spanish) Private Tutoring is better, which it is not. it is worse in pretty much every way.
Scott and I have a combined 15 years of tutoring and the students in our courses do better. We are great teachers in both, but the experience, the hours and the cost beat private tutoring every day.
Good luck whatever journey you choose. If you really can't refuse private tutoring we are happy to point you in the right direction. Just message us on our intercom bubble :-).