Ideally you should get all the help you need in your regular school. But if you need extra help you can always hire a private tutor. While this may seem an unnecessary expense, what will it cost you in the long run if you do not get the exam grade you want. An extra year repeating in school is certainly not the end of the world, and in some cases it is the sensible thing to do. But if it serves no other purpose other than gets you the grade needed to do something else it means you have potentially lost a year’s wages or experience at something else. Don’t leave it until just before exams to do this if you have major problems. However, even the aspiring A student can benefit from a private session with a good tutor to clear up any outstanding difficulty they might have. Some tutors will only take regular clients over a term while others are happy to take students for as little as one hour. You have to balance the cost against the benefits.
Price and Value of 1-2-1 versus Group Classes
The hourly rate per individual for group classes will obviously be less than for 1-2-1 sessions. Which provides the better value?
Once the class has a sizeable number of students it becomes difficult to give sufficient individual attention to the needs of each student. The larger the class size the more difficult it becomes. Every student is different in terms of what they already know and understand and in what they need help with. In the typical school this leads to many students having to get extra help outside of their normal school or class environment.
According to some reports well over half of students end up paying for help from private tutors. While for some this is no great burden for others in a less fortunate financial position the cost can be significant. They are faced with deciding to pay a higher hourly rate for 1-2-1 classes or a lower hourly rate for group classes. If the classes are as large as those in their normal school where they are already experiencing problems, then the private group classes are likely to suffer from the same deficiencies in many cases. For weaker students in particular these large group classes will often be of little or no great benefit.
If they opt for one to one sessions then it will cost more per hour, but the tuition can be targeted more precisely to the individual student’s needs. If cost were not an issue there would be no argument but that the 1-2-1 classes would be more beneficial. When one looks at the problem in more detail one may find that the higher hourly rate for 1-2-1 classes may also be the cheaper option overall because a more targeted approach would mean that the student would require fewer classes to cover their needs.
How is this so? Well for starters there is generally little or no flexibility with attendance for group classes because many people have to be accommodated at the same time. Payment is usually in one or two lump sums in advance to ensure sufficient paid bookings to meet the requirements of the school’s business model. If you miss a class for any reason tough luck. In the 1-2-1 situation there is more likely to be flexibility to reschedule if required.
A fairly fixed syllabus will be followed to cover course material for group classes. So a student may end up spending a lot of time sitting through material they already know and understand well, and perhaps not get to ask questions about things they really need help with. In the 1-2-1 classes the material worked on need only be what the student needs to work on, so fewer classes will be needed to bring them up to speed with what they need. Less time is wasted and more available for doing something productive.
A compromise that should work for most students is where the group sessions have very restricted numbers. This option will not generally be available with the larger schools because it means less income to the operator. Galway Maths Grinds keeps classes to a maximum of four to ensure that students get sufficient individual attention.