COVID-19 UPDATE: GRE students, please schedule 1-on-1 hourly lessons at my appointment calendar. You may be aware that I normally offer structured courses, which are intended for groups of 3 – 10 students. During the pandemic, demand has been too low to put groups together, so those courses are suspended until further notice. I look forward to working with you individually!
Schedule of upcoming classes
Frequently Asked Questions
- Hourly vs. Structured Course logistics
- How much preparation should I plan on?
- How do I sign up for the group class?
- What if I have to be absent or withdraw?
- What math content will I review?
- What is the instructor’s experience / background?
- Why is the Nth Degree GRE class less expensive than Kaplan or Manhattan Prep?!
- Can I audit the class?
- What is the Nth Degree approach / vision / philosophy?
Hourly vs. Structured Course logistics
Hourly 1-on-1 lessons are $70 – 80 / hr. You book time at your own convenience.
In the structured course, $600 buys three weeks 1-on-1, four weeks for two students, or six weeks for 3+ students. In a 1- or 2-person course, you’ll then have the option to complete a six week program with a second payment ($600 for one student or $300 for two students). You can take the course 2 – 3 times, because the math homework lectures are stratified into three levels.
I recommend the structured course if it fits your schedule and budget. Advantages of the structured course:
- 50 – 70% hourly discount.
- Guaranteed time on my calendar. Course times are reserved for GRE students only.
- Coverage of all 3 sections of the exam, with emphasis on math, essay feedback, and time management.
- Double-stacked course content: Live classes plus video lectures.
Advantages of hourly study:
- Flexibility to meet a limited schedule or budget
- Strictly individual attention and feedback
- Live lectures so you can ask questions along the way
- Can focus more on the Verbal section if you need to
“How much preparation should I plan on?”
Improving GRE scores is harder than most students expect. You should plan on working hard at home as well as in the classroom. The structured course includes several hours / week of video lectures and homework. I recommend that you commit a total of 24 – 72 hours of study time, half being in the classroom. An appropriate pace would be 1 – 2 hours day, 3 – 5 days / week, for 1 – 3 months.
I would consider one six-week course a realistic minimum introduction to your GRE program. If six weeks is all you can spare, then do yourself a favor and clear your calendar of everything unnecessary during that time. The quality of your study time is just as important as the quantity.
“How do I sign up for a GRE group class?”
Each class is reserved for the first ten students to provide deposits.
- Sign up for the class at this calendar.
- Pay immediately or any time before the due date.
Price: Each class requires an initial deposit of $600. Includes materials.
Your seat must be booked on the appointment calendar, and your deposit is due a week before class starts.
“What if I have to be absent or withdraw?”
I’m sorry, but I can not discount or make up absences. You will still have access to the math content lectures at home. Live lessons will concentrate on homework Q&A, essay feedback, and time-management drills, activities that you have to be here for. I can not afford free make-up lessons, as these could occupy several hours / week for multiple students. Nor can I offer refunds, as the course is already deeply discounted and I rely on group enrollment to make it worth my time.
If you need to withdraw from the six-week course altogether, I will offer a pro-rated refund if you withdraw before the 4th live session. Withdrawal is not an option in a 2 – 3 person course. Therefore, if exactly 2 or 3 students enroll, I will announce this after the registration deadline and offer you a 24-hour period to withdraw.
If you know you’ll have to be absent twice or more, I would not recommend the group class to you.
“What math content will I review?”
On the first day of class, we will have a diagnostic. You will then be assigned to one of three levels of math content. If you repeat the course, you can choose between repeating the same material or moving up a level. Most students who start at the beginning level will reach a plateau before they ever get to the advanced level.
Beginning: For students scoring in the 130s on math. This program will take you through a Khan Academy program loosely tailored for GRE review. You will focus on straightforward math facts and principles such as negative numbers, fractions and decimals, operations, solving simple equations, basic geometry formulas, angles, and interpreting graphs.
Intermediate: For students scoring in the 140s or 150s. This program will assume that your fundamentals are solid, and will focus on intermediate topics that the GRE tests most heavily: Ratios, proportions and percents; triangles, compound areas, slopes of lines, algebraic substitution, measures of center and spread, distribution of data. Also some discussion of the math / language interface and “understanding the question”.
Advanced: For students scoring at least 160 math. This program assumes that your intermediate math facts and math reading skills are solid, and it addresses the “hard” math topics that you are only likely to see if you are in the upper 1/4 of the curve. I used to teach this material as “GRE-2”. See list of topics on this syllabus.
Enrollment includes the price of our main study guide, the GRE Official Guide with real GRE questions. The class also includes proprietary Nth Degree handouts, flash cards, and videos. Hardcopies of flash cards are available at the price of $0.25 / card.
Your instructor’s GRE Experience
I have taken the GRE three times. I was accepted to Harvard, Stanford, Cornell, Brown, Berkeley, UCSD, and Northwestern. I attended the graduate school of engineering at UCSD with a full-ride-plus-stipend UC Regents Fellowship. My most recent GRE was in 2013, when I earned a perfect score on the Math section, 166 (96th percentile) on the Verbal section, and 5.5 (98th percentile) on the Essays. (See Score Report Here.) I have been tutoring the GRE since the early 2000s, and my structured six-week classes have been increasingly popular since 2013.
“Can I audit the class?”
I understand that large programs like Kaplan and Manhattan Prep. may offer you the chance to audit a class, i.e. to sit in on one session before committing to the full program. Unfortunately, I am not in a position to offer that option. 🙁 These days, my classes are usually right at the minimum level of enrollment, so the number of students affects the duration of the whole course. The course is 3 weeks long if only 1 student enrolls, 4 weeks for 2 students, or 6 weeks for 3 or more students. Therefore, I’m afraid I have to know the enrollment numbers before we begin. This policy has made some students nervous about putting down a deposit.
First of all, let me explain why a deposit is necessary. Without it, I may get 5 or 6 students expressing interest in the course. Then maybe only 2 will show up! When that happens, I have to tell the students that the course will only be 4 weeks long, when they had been counting on 6. Collecting deposits before class ensures certainty.
Now, I know that several hundred dollars is a lot to ask, so there are compromise options. I am available for free consultations throughout the week. You also have the option of booking a one hour one-on-one lesson with me first.
You should be advised that I do not refund or make up absences. However, bear in mind that the class is double-loaded. In addition to our class time, you also have a full math course component at home in the form of lecture videos. Those lectures alone would be almost an $800 value for a 1-on-1 student.
Your deposit is generally fully refundable before class begins. If you need to withdraw before Week 4, I even offer a pro-rated refund. The only exception is if exactly 2 or 3 students enroll. In that case, all students will be relying on each other to keep the course at its duration. If exactly 2 or 3 students enroll, then I will contact you immediately after the registration deadline and offer you a 24-hour period to withdraw. You might choose to wait until the next course to see if 3 or 4 people sign up.
There are numerous ways to get a feel for the class before enrolling. See my Yelp reviews (upper right corner of the website) most of which were written by GRE students. You can even ask for contact information for a student who has taken my course. My YouTube channel (also in the upper right) hosts several video lectures I have recorded, most of which are GRE-appropriate.
Finally, here’s the important issue: In all my years teaching GRE classes, I’ve only had one student withdraw because she was dissatisfied with the course — and that was for administrative reasons. She’s the student who complained about the deposit in the first place and inspired me to write this blog post! (Honestly, I never understood why it was such a big deal for her).
If you don’t feel ready to commit to a deposit, then the answer is simple: don’t sign up for the class yet! Book a one-on-one lesson or a free 30-minute consultation so you can get to know me before making that decision.
“What is the Nth Degree approach / vision / philosophy?”
That’s a great question; thanks for asking! In this course, you will focus on the substance of the exam, not just the procedure. I would advise you not to be too taken in by courses trying to convince you that you can ace the GRE (or any standardized exam) just with procedural tips / tricks / gaming the exam. (“Just plug in” , “Read the question stem first” etc. are NOT secret recipes for success). These exams are designed to reward students who
- Are well read
- Are highly literate in English and can read with 100% comprehension
- Have good recall of math facts, and
- Understand mathematics at the level of principles, not just processes.
The Nth Degree course takes the exam seriously by
- Examining the obstacles to reading comprehension, and how to work through them
- Fostering vocabulary retention and careful reading of information-dense material
- Teaching complex material as information that can be parsed into small simple parts
- Making sure you are rock solid with the most heavily tested / learnable math facts
- Understanding the difference between right and wrong answers
- Presenting elegant / insightful mathematical solutions as alternatives to brute force calculations