Frequently Asked Questions
Even experts can learn from other experts. Individual tutoring is one of the best ways to quickly and effectively improve your knowledge and test scores. Tutoring is NOT a repeat of medical school lectures. We tailor sessions directly to your needs to challenge your understanding, strengthen your weaknesses, and improve your efficiency at answering tough USMLE questions. We complement your self-study and coursework with personalized lesson planning, study schedule design, and high-level content review from top instructors. See a video from us on why 1-on-1 tutoring is a good way to help ace the USMLE.
Private tutoring is particularly effective for students who prefer strong guidance and customization in their test preparation program. Some students use private tutoring as their sole USMLE test preparation method, while others sign up for a few sessions to supplement self study or a review course. Some of our students have been tutored extensively for previous standardized tests and academic subjects; others are seeking tutoring for the first time. If you already have a sense of your strengths and weaknesses, 1-on-1 tutoring could be a great way to get help creating and executing a USMLE study plan specific for you.
All tutoring is conducted online using web conference software (e.g. Zoom or Google Hangouts). Working online affords enormous flexibility for students and tutors to schedule sessions at mutually convenient times. We have tailored our tutoring curriculum and methodology for online work, allowing us to bring a wealth of resources to each session including multimedia and medical images. Thousands of hours of tutoring experience tell us that the online format results in more efficient sessions without loss of quality.
Every student is different and there is no set number of hours that is ideal for all students. We typically achieve the best results with students who complete at least 20-40 hours of tutoring over several months. In our initial assessment with a student, we can make recommendations about the ideal duration and frequency of tutoring.
We use commercially available materials such as high-yield review books, question banks, and official assessment exams. We also provide our tutors with custom, highly-refined materials to ensure that every session is maximally effective and efficient. While these are not materials that are directly distributed to students, the reality is that there is no single magic material or product that will bring about guaranteed success on test day. If that were the case, there would be little role for the first two years of medical school, let alone the many review courses and tutoring services offered.
Yes. But the difference between using these resources alone and with a tutor is significant – because a skilled tutor can bring out a lot of the depth contained in these materials that many students overlook. More importantly, a tutor can help to emphasize what really counts on test day.
Practice tests are one of the best ways to get comfortable with the timing of an exam, to experience the exam’s content and structure, and to see how your preparation for the exam is going. We suggest a minimum of 3-4 full length NBME practice tests before you take your USMLE exam. Our tutors review your results with you and offer detailed analysis and feedback that will help you zero in on areas of weakness well before test day.
A very high percentage of students who follow our instructions and put in the time pass their exams and report satisfaction with their tutoring and score outcomes. We are able to help many students who initially tried other programs and did not achieve the results they were seeking – as long as the student is willing to take direction and work hard. We have also helped students who come to us with a strong knowledge base achieve superlative scores.
There are rare times when students we work with do not achieve the improvement they seek. Often this occurs when a student has unrealistic score goals, cannot follow the prescribed study plan, is derailed by personal hardship, or simply lacks the aptitude to succeed. We are honest with students upfront about what we think can be accomplished in the time they have to prepare. We will however take on students other companies have deemed “high risk” and refused to work with. The quality and depth of our program make us confident that we can help at least some of these students.
Not necessarily. The hallmark of great tutoring is adaptability. You can work through the range of material covered in our challenge question curriculum, or you can use private tutoring to drill down on specific areas of weakness and topics you find challenging. If you would like your tutor to walk you through difficult sections of First Aid, you can absolutely do that. If you want to focus on schedule creation, maintenance and planning, you can do that too. Our tutoring program is customized to you. The decision will come down to your specific situation and needs.
Our tutors are MDs and MD candidates from the best American medical schools and residency programs. They have superlative track records on standardized tests, a passion for education and commitment to helping others, great communication skills, and years of teaching experience under their belts. We select the most promising candidates with the best test scores and put them through a rigorous tutor training process focused on developing 1-on-1 teaching skills. Tutors emerge with the confidence and technical ability to deliver high-quality, question-based USMLE tutoring sessions using the company’s curriculum and processes. This creates a uniformly excellent experience for students no matter which tutor you work with.
Our tutors receive intensive USMLE training by our founders and senior tutors prior to working with students. The training program is comprehensive, incorporating all relevant academic materials and approaches that we have developed over the last 9 years. We engage tutors in simulated teaching scenarios and offer guidance for shaping students’ learning strategies. Ongoing mentorship, constructive criticism, and open discussions ensure that Elite Medical Prep tutors continue to develop their craft.
Yes. We may bill higher for MD tutors depending on their stage of medical training, their experience with the company, and their track record tutoring the USMLE. Their availability might also be more limited due to their busy clinical and research commitments. Keep in mind that upper level medical student tutors are closer to the exams they tutor (Step 1 and Step 2 CK) and have significant clinical experience from their clerkships, sub-internships, and electives. All of our tutors go through an extensive vetting and training process and are given the company’s specialized materials to deliver professional tutoring.
We realize that every student is unique, and so we aim to personalize instruction. Sessions may take on different formats, but since success on test day depends on the number of questions answered correctly, most sessions involve breaking down challenging USMLE questions. Tutors start sessions by confirming progress on assignments and addressing difficult areas, then move to cover planned material introduced in a question format. Tutors ask targeted questions to push for deeper levels of knowledge and understanding. All tutors emphasize a Socratic style of teaching to ensure that the student has truly learned and can integrate the concept, rather than just hearing it again.
Yes. Our tutors are available in the evenings and weekends. As most have some form of clinical or research obligations, they often prefer those times for tutoring sessions. Several tutors also like the early mornings since many specialties start their days early.
Yes. Students are always matched with the best-fitting available tutor. We consider temperament, aptitude and learning style when engineering the initial match. We monitor the early stages of the tutor relationship carefully and solicit feedback from both student and tutor about how things are going. If the fit isn’t perfect, we’ll make a change. While tutor changes are rare, it’s better to make them sooner rather than later.
Our tutoring rates start at $195/hr and reflect the professional nature of our services, the qualifications of our tutors, their diligent training, our methodology, our results, and our high level of student satisfaction. Our rates do not vary according to the service we are providing but rather according to the tutor you work with. Some of our tutors are billed out at higher rates than are others because of their extended track record with the company. Please contact us for more information regarding pricing & availability.
UNDERSTANDING OUR POLICY
To respect both student and tutor time, we require at least 24 hours notice when cancelling or changing appointments. We will bill for appointments that are canceled last-minute.
While we cannot guarantee that specific score goals will be met, we work hard to ensure that students are set up with an optimal schedule and study plan, and that all tutoring is efficient, high-quality, and geared toward helping students earn the highest scores possible. We strive to provide very personalized service and to be candid and realistic with students at all times. We are also happy to provide references and testimonials from current and former students who have been through our tutoring program.
We are so confident that you will be satisfied that if you have bought a package and want to terminate early for any reason, we will provide upon request a full refund on any remaining hours.