Meeting your Atlantic GMAT Tutor Online - What you need to know about Online GMAT Tutoring
Here at Atlantic we've been refining our online GMAT tutoring system since 2013 and a great majority of our GMAT tutoring students in the past 5 years have worked with us online for their GMAT prep. Yes, we're based in NYC and still have a ton of New York GMAT clients but our student's schedules are demanding and about 1/3 of our clients travel for work so meeting their tutor online is essential. Online GMAT tutoring provides a fantastic option, especially as video conference software and cloud computing have become more mature.
What's needed to meet my GMAT tutor online?
The most important thing for online GMAT tutoring is, yes, you guessed it, a steady internet connection. It doesn't have to be blazingly fast but it does need to be solid so that audio and video are transmitted smoothly and without much latency. Most moderately spec'd internet connections work fine. If you're tapping into your upstairs neighbor's internet connection and arranging the furniture to try to capture a signal then that may be an issue.
If you have a decent cell phone plan you can also tether to your phone. That generally functions as long as you have a strong signal. In extreme cases you can also dial-in to the session to take some stress off the connection and just use your internet connection for screen sharing.
You don't need any special software. We have a professional grade video conference software: GoToMeeting. We've been using it forever and find that it has the right balance of options for our online tutoring sessions. You'll just need to click on the session link which should then automatically connect you to the meeting room.
As back-ups we also use Google Hangouts and, if that fails, Skype. 99% of online tutoring sessions are conducted with Gotomeeting. These are other options are really an excess of caution to keep things running smoothly in all cases.
Yes, you'll need a functioning computer. We strongly recommend using headphones as they eliminate any issues with echoes or extraneous noise. We always have a webcam active because we find that it helps communication. We recommend that you also have a webcam. Non-verbal cues are helpful. That said, if you don't have a webcam, don't want to buy one, or just don't want it on for the session that's also fine. We've done plenty of successful preparations without a webcam on the student's side.
How is online tutoring conducted?
We use videoconferencing with screen sharing. So of course we can see and hear each other but we also have a shared whiteboard and shared materials. The shared white board allows your GMAT tutor to resize, copy/paste, clear the board all instantly so the work goes faster. Also we take screenshots of each stage of the lesson so you can review later on.
In addition we can pull from a vast vault of GMAT materials that we can reference throughout the session. All of our GMAT tutoring materials are online so we can also tap into those in addition to your error log which we keep in Google Docs.
How do you see the work I'm doing?
Your tutor will follow along with you on the shared white board so that what's on your page is also on the screen. We've all been through these questions so many times and know the variety of ways that things can go right and wrong that along with you explaining your approach we can usually predict where you're headed.
Is online GMAT tutoring right for me?
Of course there are plenty of crappy GMAT tutors whether online or in person. Put a low-rent GMAT tutor anywhere and you'll get a sub-standard experience. Hire a great GMAT tutor without a plan for how to conduct online sessions and you'll also end up behind the eight ball. Tutoring online requires additional skills. That said, provided that you're working with a seasoned online tutoring pro, I don't think there's a better way to do your GMAT prep. The convenience factor is huge and, again, the shared whiteboard and materials work tremendously well (at least in our system). We've done tens of thousands of hours of successful online GMAT tutoring and would be happy to start a consultation process with you to see if we are a good fit. We usually to do the GMAT consultation using the tutoring platform so you can get a sense for it before committing to working together on your GMAT prep.
GMAT Tutor Online FAQ
What if the connection drops out during our session or we have some other tech issue?
All of our tutors have well functioning online tutoring setups and are doing dozens of successful hours of tutoring per month. Provided that you have a working computer and stable internet connection issues are very rare.
If there are tech issues that are interrupting the session we pause the tutoring clock so we won't be wasting time while we're getting things on the right track. We've been doing this for a long time so are pretty good at getting things moving.
Do I need to buy anything additional for the online tutoring sessions?
Assuming that you have access to a working computer, stable internet connection, and headphones (and cheap pair will do) you shouldn't need anything additional for online GMAT tutoring.
Can I have a trial session to see if meeting online is for me?
Generally we require 6 hours paid to start tutoring. That said, all unused tutoring hours are 100% refundable given that any confirmed sessions are cancelled with 24+ hours notice. So, yes, you can do one session and then decide whether you'd like to continue. However, we do stick to the billing policy and you'll still need to pay 6 hours up front to get started with us. Here are our GMAT rates and policies for your reference.
Just to put things in context: We've never had someone do a trial session and not continue with tutoring.
Again, if possible we do the GMAT consultation using the tutoring platform so you can get a sense for things before committing to working together.