What is LSAT tutoring?
Honestly, LSAT tutoring is usually somebody’s side gig. Almost all LSAT tutors do it part-time. They are mostly reciting content they memorized from some book. They’ve never created a new LSAT methodology in their lives. There’s a big difference between working with someone who can create new methodologies and working with someone who only knows how to regurgitate. Someone who can’t create something new can’t look at your situation, analyze all the variables, and design a specifically targeted new way for you to LSAT. That’s what I do.
A lot of people can get a 99th percentile LSAT score themselves. But you are not paying an LSAT tutor to take the LSAT. You’re paying them to teach the LSAT. If someone does not have incisive communication skills, massive amounts of empathy, and an encyclopedic knowledge of what they’re talking about… it doesn’t matter how many 180s they have. They’re going to suck.
But do you really care about tutoring anymore, Ellen? You wrote The Loophole, so I’d think you’re just kicking back and living off the land at this point.
Yes, I care far more than is reasonable. LSAT tutoring has been my full-time job for ten years. For the past several years, I have not taken more than three days off per year, and even on these “days off” I still corresponded with students. I regularly tutor the LSAT for hundreds of days straight. At one point in 2016, I actually counted and saw myself hit 97 days straight. I tutor far more than 2,000 hours per year, so the whole 10,000 hours thing is ancient history at this point. Also, I only tutor the LSAT. Helping students with the LSAT is my whole daily world.
Let me give you an example. I had double hernia surgery in 2017; I tutored the LSAT for 11 hours straight 20 hours after getting out of the hospital. I tried to schedule someone for the same day, but the student insisted I “needed to rest.” What they didn’t realize is that teaching the LSAT is by far the best thing I could have done that day even if I did need to rest. This is why I exist. There is nothing I am better at and there is nothing that makes me happier.
What does tutoring with Ellen look like?
Basically, I devote my life to making your LSAT life better. I do everything in my power to make sure that your LSAT prep experience is as awesome and successful as it can possibly be. There is no set formula for tutoring. It’s not like, “Well, we’ve completed Logic Games Module 3, so you have to move to Logical Reasoning because you should be getting it by now” (if a tutor ever says those italicized words to you, fire them immediately).
Tutoring is, above all, customized to your needs. There are many techniques I only recommend to students I’ve seen fit very specific profiles because I know those methods tend to work with that population and actively damage everyone else. These methods don’t tend to make it into my books because of their potential for misuse when broadly applied, but they make a huge difference in tutoring.
What’s the structure of Elemental Prep LSAT tutoring?
Tutoring occurs in two phases:
- Daily Virtual Tutoring
- Weekly Live Tutoring
It took me a little over nine years of teaching the LSAT to realize the ideal way to structure tutoring. In the beginning, we need to meet as often as possible, ideally far more than once per week, to ensure that you ingrain the skills needed to improve rapidly. There’s a lot to cover, so we have to start with a breadth-first approach. During the latter stages of tutoring, we need longer, more in-depth sessions to facilitate the analysis needed to diagnose more persistent problems. We also need time between check-ins to get the LSAT data required for more persistent, intense problem solving.
It took years to discover this structure because the technology needed to facilitate it simply didn’t exist when I started teaching the LSAT in 2012. While it might have been great to meet many times per week, that wouldn’t have been practically or financially feasible for almost anyone. Few people have two hours per day to meet and even fewer have the financial resources to afford such frequent one-on-one help. In 2021, I discovered VideoAsk, a technology platform that could enable the ideal situation: smaller doses of tutoring lessons and feedback more often – at half the price of Live Weekly Tutoring. This is Daily Virtual Tutoring.
What’s Daily Virtual Tutoring?
Daily Virtual Tutoring is a series of back-and-forth interactive video lessons using a tool called VideoAsk. Here’s how it works:
- You receive a customized VideoAsk lesson and assignment.
- You record yourself completing the assignment all within VideoAsk. Assignments are things like:
- Translating a stimulus
- Party Tricking a set of answer choices
- Completing a full question
- Translating an RC passage
- Critiquing sample Translations
- Proctor simulations
- Something new that doesn’t exist yet! I make new lessons to address student needs all the time!
- I watch (and rewatch) your new VideoAsk submission every day.
- I take extensive notes on what you show me in your video: your form, your mistakes, your victories, and how you’ve improved from recent previous video submissions.
- I pull up your tracker to analyze the homework you inputted today and incorporate any questions and insights into my notes.
- I check our Slack communications to see if you’ve sent any questions throughout the day that I need to answer in my reply.
- I send you a video reply telling you what you did wrong and how to fix it!
Example Daily Video Critiques from Ellen
If I see this in your video:
- Inaccurate Translation
- Slow Translation time
- Inaccurate CLIRs
- Silly mistakes in the answer choices
- Conditional diagramming errors
I prescribe in my video reply:
- How to make your Translation accurate
- How to speed up your Translation
- How to improve your CLIRs
- Strategies for when you’re down to two
- How to include diagramming in Translation
The cadence of Daily Virtual Tutoring allows students to address their mistakes much faster. Seeing the student’s process everyday allows me to tailor my critiques much more accurately and understand the student’s problems much more quickly.
With Daily Virtual Tutoring, I can correct a recurring error five times in only five days. The student is much more incentivized to listen and actually fix the problem when I won’t shut up about the problem for five days straight. This sets us up to get a lot out of Weekly Live Tutoring immediately, as opposed to taking three weeks to see one another three times.
For an example of how quickly we can diagnose and fix problems in Daily Virtual Tutoring, please check out Ana’s 54-day journey.
What’s Weekly Live Tutoring?
Live Weekly Tutoring is when we can fix your most persistent LSAT problems. The ones that haunt your PT dreams. When we have two hours together, I can dive into your process with a dozen follow-up questions on every misstep in your thinking. This will allow us to understand the true root of your problem at a much deeper level than we can ever get to in VideoAsk. To get a sense of how this has worked, take a look at our Elemental Prep Student Stories.
Live Weekly Tutoring is also when we discover new LSAT drills and methodologies specifically designed for you. My tutoring students are the root of every LSAT innovation I’ve ever created. When a student is stuck, I create new processes designed specifically for them to succeed. If the idea works well for them, I test it across my other tutoring students. If the idea works well across all my tutoring students, it goes into my books, courses, or videos. Tutoring is the laboratory for everything cool. Read how the CLIR was invented to get a sense of the Live Weekly Tutoring process in action.
Does tutoring come with any freebies?
Yeah, there’s a lot of free stuff. So much stuff that it’s best to think of these freebies as something else: all the resources of the Elemental Academy system are at your disposal as an Elemental Prep student. I’ve built a lot of LSAT resources since The Loophole was published. Let me give you a quick primer:
- 80+ Confidential Elemental Prep LSAT Drills
- Every advanced Logical Reasoning drill you can (and can’t) imagine – the legacy of fixing every Logical Reasoning problem I’ve ever seen
- Unorthodox new Reading Comprehension drills that take the strategies outlined in The Loophole to another level
- The drills that have made a -0 on Logic Games the basic standard at Elemental Prep
- I don’t send students into the LSAT without a -0 on Logic Games.
- The Elemental Logic Games Video Curriculum
- 20+ videos just to train you on the Elemental Logic Games method, which we will refine in tutoring
- The Elemental Video Library and VideoAsk Compendium
- Hundreds of individual videos documenting everything from one step of a Logical Reasoning question to how to approach the passage in Reading Comprehension
- New videos are recorded and added every week. I am more than open to community suggestions if anyone would like me to record anything in particular.
- Interactive Typeform Bootcamps
- Covering conditional reasoning, RC Translation, Making a Mission, Sufficient and Necessary Assumptions, and much more
- New Interactive Typeform Bootcamps come out every Monday on our Slack; we take requests, so anything you’d like us to bootcamp can be made.
- Our Elemental Slack Community
- I know you can’t understand how fun the Slack is because you’re not on it… but trust me, the Slack is way better than you think it is.
- You can ask any LSAT question at any time and receive an expert-vetted reply within 24 hours. The days of Googling to find out the “why” behind a question are over.
- Elemental students are collaborative; they love to share their Quizlets and coordinate impromptu study halls. Plus, Molly and I monitor everything that goes on in Slack to make sure no one gets weird.
- The Elemental Notable Question Database
- I’ve identified many novel question patterns and answer choice types since The Loophole was published. I tag LSAT questions of each type every day, so students can see real examples of things like Flippers, Panaceas, and Defective Necessary Assumptions. It’s ok that you don’t know what those are; you will soon.
- CLIR Answer Keys
- The Peer Mentoring Program
- All Elemental tutoring students are paired with an advanced peer mentor to help them along on their LSAT journey. These mentoring relationships are one of the best parts of Elemental Prep. They’ve led to several pairs of lifelong best friends and more than a few law school study buddies.
What are tutoring students saying?
Everyone on Team Elemental cares about you as a person, not just about your LSAT studying.Talia, 170
There is no magic bullet. You do the work here. But Ellen is your mentor, guide, and cheerleader. Ellen stops at nothing to help you achieve success. She’s constantly developing new techniques to help you blow through mental blocks and get you to that aha! moment. Team Elemental truly never gives up on you.Kate, 175
I reached out to Elemental after I had worked through every book imaginable and was fairly certain I would never be able to succeed at the LSAT and attend law school. The Elemental tutoring journey wasn’t just about going through modules; it was about developing a plan full of techniques and exercises uniquely tailored to MY needs on the basis of MY struggles. After working with Elemental the LSAT was no longer something that could conquer me; it was something I could conquer myself.Nethra, 180
How much does this all cost?
The rate for Daily Virtual Tutoring is $490 per week.
The rate for Live Weekly Tutoring is $490 per hour. Every Live Weekly Tutoring session is two hours.
Making every session two hours is a purposeful choice to increase the value of each Live Weekly Tutoring session. Most sessions begin with a 15-minute debrief about how the homework has gone and end with 15 minutes of homework planning. If sessions lasted one hour, that would leave only 30 minutes of instructional time, as opposed to 90 minutes in a two-hour session.
I want to build longterm relationships with my students. That’s how significant score improvements happen, not through a single session here or there with no consistency. The relationships we build through tutoring will hopefully last far longer than it takes you to study for the LSAT. I mean I was in a former student’s wedding in India a few years ago. These relationships matter.