Cutts GRE Review
Personal, Full Service Guidance with Graduate School Applications
With Jay Cutts, Lead Author, Barron's Test Prep Series
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Jay B. Cutts, M.A. with Distinction - Specializing in Graduate Exam Preparation
Dear Prospective Graduate Student,
Thank you for your inquiry regarding the CUTTS GRE REVIEW. I realize that the GRE is one of many barriers you will need to overcome, and overcome with excellence, in order to gain acceptance into your first choice graduate program. I encourage you to pursue your goal with passion and determination.
I wish I could tell you that mastering the GRE will be easy. It will not. It will take a sustained effort on your part. But you will succeed. And, believe it or not, you may well enjoy the process.
The CUTTS GRE REVIEW supports you in all aspects of taking the GRE. As experienced educators, we will address any factors that may affect your score. Our task is to pass on to you the condensed experience of our years of research on graduate exams. Your efforts can then be focused exclusively on mastering the test.
Your success on the GRE should not depend on gimmicks. In my experience, only an intimate, thorough understanding of the test will lead you to a winning score. All our resources are directed to this goal.
As an individual, you have a unique style by which you learn best. You also have your own questions and concerns. I will personally assist you in shaping our program to your individual strengths and needs.
In continually improving the CUTTS GRE REVIEW, I draw on a number of graduate exam specialists whom I have found to be exceptionally talented in their test areas, as well as being dedicated and highly effective educators. While these fine women and men contribute to the program behind the scenes, you will gain points through the insights they have added.
One fact stands clear in my years of working with graduate exam takers. Success does not come to the faint hearted. Be bold! Be creative! Be fanatic, if necessary! Above all, you must find your way. Draw on any resource that speeds your progress. We are such a resource and we stand ready to match your enthusiasm with our own. Best wishes for your success.
Jay B. Cutts, CUTTS GRADUATE REVIEWS
PS. Are your parents or relatives helping pay for your prep? Please send them the letter below between the asterisks.
Cutts Graduate Reviews
Dear Parent or Relative of a Pregrad Student,
As you decide the best way to support your family member in their preparation for grad school, please feel free to contact me with any questions you might have.
I'd like to speak directly about GRE preparation. You may not be familiar with my GRE prep work. Undoubtedly you have heard of the large mass prep companies such as Princeton. You may have the impression that these companies - being large, well known and expensive - must offer the best prep.
Certainly the big companies have good intentions. However, by their very structure they have several very serious limitations. The most serious is that the instructors for these companies are hired people who, on the average, stay for one or two seasons. They are usually very bright and have often scored extremely well on the test. But they have very little experience teaching the GRE and even less experience with issues such as timing strategy, test anxiety, individual and cultural learning styles and other strategies beyond the GRE for getting accepted.
Mass prep programs often provide almost no personal attention outside of class, and very little in class. In my experience, personal attention is essential for each student to get what they need.
I have spoken with students who did well after taking a large mass prep course. However, I have spoken with many more who did not get the help they needed. The biggest complaint is that when the student asks an instructor to explain exactly why one answer is better than another, the instructor says "This answer is just better" or "you just have to get the feel of it". This is not true. There is a reason why one answer is right and the other is dead wrong. But it can take years of teaching experience for a test specialist to understand this.
I have been teaching the GRE since 1990. It is my full time work, along with the other related graduate exams. I work with students not only in New Mexico but across the country and internationally. I personally work closely with each of my students as much as they need.
I encourage you to look into all the prep options. Ask to speak with the person who will teach the course. Find out their experience. How much personal attention will they provide? Please feel free to call me also. I'll be happy to go over the specifics of what the Cutts programs covers that the larger companies do not.
Jay B. Cutts, Dirctor, (505) 281-0684, day or evening
(end of parents' letter)
Dear Prospective Graduate Student,
Thank you for your interest in the Cutts GRE Review. Our program offers in-depth strategies, mastery of timing and test anxiety, personal attention, longer programs and expert instruction not found in other programs.
"I learned more in the first 30 minutes of your course than I ever learned from the [other] course." - Successful Cutts student
"Until this course, and I have taken the Princeton Review course, no one had ever told me how to approach the passages, and now I am doing much better." - Successful Cutts student
FACULTY and CONSULTANTS: Your classes will be taught by Jay B. Cutts. A number of multi-talented test professionals contribute to the ongoing development of our programs. Two are described below.
INSTRUCTOR: Jay B. Cutts, director of the Cutts Graduate Reviews, earned a BA with Honors in Linguistics from the University of Michigan and an MA in Special Education from the University of New Mexico, both with Distinction. He has taught for over 20 years in the field of adult language, math and thinking skills. He specializes in individualizing instruction and addressing personal learning styles. He teaches test prep full time and works with select GRE students internationally.
In addition to having outstanding verbal and mathematical abilities (GRE Verbal score 96th %ile, Math score 730), Jay Cutts has developed an intimate understanding of the behind the scenes dynamics of graduate tests, which he shares freely with his students. He specializes in unique strategies for mastering the computerized GRE.
CONSULTANT: John F. Mares is a licensed New Mexico attorney and graduate of the UNM Law School. Mr. Mares received a full tuition law school scholarship based on his exceptional LSAT scores. The LSAT contains the same type of Reading Comprehension, Logical Reasoning and Analytical Reasoning as the GRE. Mr. Mares founded the Mares LSAT Review, predecessor of the Cutts Graduate Reviews , and pioneered personalized, in-depth, affordable test prep in Albuquerque.
THE COURSE: The Cutts approach targets all of the areas that can affect your score. We put you "in training" for the GRE just as an athlete trains for a competition.
Our basic course gives you four weeks of support, including 2-4 classroom sessions, support materials and unlimited phone tutorial outside of class with Jay Cutts. You also receive a fifth week of help on your timing strategy the week before your actual GRE.
The live sessions cover the Verbal Sections, Quantitative Sections and Analytical Sections, with emphasis on hands-on, practical work and individual attention. These sessions include vital test taking and preparation strategies and special instruction on the computer GRE . You will receive a suggested study schedule with assignments for every day. You will practice with our comprehensive packet of actual GRE test questions, math refresher materials and test preparation handouts. We provide you with an actual GRE computer test for your mock test.
What You Will Learn:
* You will understand the patterns and psychology of the test and use them to your advantage.
* You will significantly improve your math and English skills, even if these areas have been difficult for you in the past.
* You will learn and practice strategies for working faster, avoiding common errors and maximizing your odds when you guess.
* You will identify your weak areas and improve them. You will identify your strengths and use them to score more points.
* You will learn and practice how to accurately analyze questions. You will learn what kinds of answers the test scorers are looking for.
* You will receive skilled help on any personal concerns you have regarding your preparation or graduate school applications.
The GRE is highly competitive. We prepare you for every aspect of it.
How Is The CUTTS Course "Personalized"?: We will respond to your personal concerns and needs. This is vital to your success and ours. Classes are small (5-10 students) and offer substantial question and answer time. Most activities are "hands on" so that we can make sure you know how to apply what we have taught. We are experienced in adapting our teaching to individual learning styles, including physical and learning disabilities. We can help you find a successful approach to any aspect of preparation you may have trouble with. We encourage you to take advantage of our experience and skills. You are welcome to call us with questions 7 days a week.
How Else Is The CUTTS Course Different From Other Courses?: We offer more thorough preparation and more individual help. At the same time we are affordable. Someone once called us the $1200 course that costs $450.
Complete Admissions Support: Mr. Cutts has been very successful in coaching students on all aspects of the admissions process. Free materials and seminars are available on career choice, picking schools, letters of recommendation, the Personal Statement, and other strategies for standing out from the crowd. Intensive help on these areas is also available at an hourly fee.
What the Cutts Course Offers that Others Do Not:
* Unique insights into the patterns of the test
* Advanced timing strategy to cut errors in half
* Longer, more personalized prep options
* Work directly with the test expert, not hired help
UNLIMITED PREPARATION - A Unique, In-Depth Study Option: This allows you to start earlier and work longer on mastering the GRE. Students study with us over 2 to 6 months or longer, if needed. In this program, you attend all live session along with ongoing, unlimited phone tutorial until you are satisfied with your score.
For further information, please feel free to call me at (505) 281-0684, 7 days a week, day or evening. Thank you again for your inquiry. I look forward to working with you.
Jay Cutts, Director
CUTTS GRE REVIEW
What Students Say about the Cutts Graduate Reviews
"Very helpful. I received a clear insight as to the actual test questions and how to ... improve my score." - GRE student
"I found that the skills learned ... have really implanted themselves somewhere in my brain so that I can call upon them when they are needed." - GRE student
"Well done ... I wouldn't have properly prepared otherwise ... Timing strategies ... were awesome." - GRE student
"[The instructor was] motivated and motivating. Always helpful. [His] commitment to the class deserves much more than what we paid for the course." - GRE student
"Jay knew all the subjects ... and he knew them well. He knows what it takes to get a good score." - GRE student
"Your last minute suggestions helped me considerably." - GRE student
* * *
"I liked the way we went into detail on the different mechanics necessary to come up with a winning score. [Jay was] very understanding, willing to hear your questions." - GMAT student
"Overall you do instill confidence by knowing the subjects." - GMAT student
"Thank you so much for making yourself available... Your knowledge about the GMAT is amazing!!." - GMAT student
"Jay works well one on one with people... He does have a genuine concern for how we do on the test." - GMAT student
* * *
"Until this course (and I have taken Princeton Review) no one had ever told me how to approach the passages, and I am doing much better." - MCAT student
"This course has helped me more in remembering, as well as motivation, just in [the first] 4 weeks, more than the [other] course did in 2 months. Thank you for the opportunity." - MCAT student
"Material was covered in depth ... Taught good methods for taking [Verbal Reasoning and the Writing Sample]. [The instructors were] outgoing and friendly, knowledgeable, flexible to differing needs ... helpful ... and interested in students' input." - MCAT student
"[The science instructors] knew all subject material ... Timing strategy and essay format were very helpful." - MCAT student
CUTTS GRADUATE REVIEWS - "NM's Graduate Exam Specialists"
144 Sedillo Hill Road, Tijeras, NM 87059 281-0684
Call us for registration information.
Read the questions and answers below. Then please give me a quick call. It's the best way for me to make personal recommendations for you.
HOW DOES THE CUTTS GRE REVIEW WORK?
You attend our live lecture classes once a week, review study materials at home and practice on actual GRE questions from previous GRE's. Before your actual test, you take a computer adaptive diagnostic test using actual GRE questions . You are welcome to call me for help outside of class as much as you need. Many students talk with me once or twice a week with quick questions, for suggestions on practicing or to go into strategies in depth.
You can work with us as long as you need. You can call for an unlimited amount of one on one help.
HOW IS THIS DIFFERENT FROM OTHER PREP PROGRAMS?
I am one of the few, and perhaps the only, full time, highly experienced (since 1990) test prep specialists available nationally for you to work with directly. Many students come to me after taking a large commercial prep course. Once they've worked with me, they report that for the first time they are able to understand what the test is really looking for. The strategies I teach go to the heart of the test - exactly why the right answer is right and exactly why the wrong answers are wrong.
As a linguist and educator, I specialize in helping with individual learning styles, including test anxiety, learning disabilities, poor standardized test taking and special timing strategies for the computer exam.
A prep class is only as effective as its instructor. Instructors for commercial programs like Princeton have usually done extremely well on the test. Most are bright and often good in the classroom. However, the average instructor has probably taught the test only 3 or 4 times and may have only 5 or 10 hours of experience in working individually with students. Very few instructors have taught more than 8 or 10 times or have more than 30 or 40 hours individual tutoring experience.
Having done well on the test does not in itself qualify a person to teach. I personally got a near perfect score the first time I took the test but it has taken 16 years of teaching and research for me to thoroughly understand the hidden patterns of the exam, not to mention how to tailor special strategies to the needs of each individual.
I estimate that I have worked with over 1200 students and have 3000 hours of working one on one with a wide variety of students.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN ABOUT SPECIFIC COMMERCIAL PREP COMPANIES?
Large commercial GRE programs usually emphasize taking lots of practice tests, basic math review and learning some general hints about the GRE through their lecture. The quality of the lecture depends on the experience of the instructor, but very few commercial instructors have more than a season or two of very part time experience. The main complaint that I hear from students who took a large commercial company course is that when they asked the instructor to explain why one answer was right and the other wrong, the instructor was not able to do it.
Commercial teachers are typically not available outside of class for extra help. Even if you can get one to work with you, it is the same person who couldn't answer your questions in class.
The GRE is based on hidden agendas and thousands of patterns for confusing you. But there is always a reason exactly why one answer is right and the other one wrong. It can take many years of experience for an instructor to learn these patterns well and teach them to you. Most commercial instructors don't get anywhere near this kind of experience.
With the math questions in particular, it is not enough just to review basic math. Most students report that even after they have reviewed the basic math facts, they still miss many of the math problems. The reason for this is that the problems are very complex and confusing. They simply push you beyond your ability to organize complicated math information.
So if learning the math doesn't help you, what does? There are many new strategies that you can learn for organizing complex math information. These strategies are simple, intuitive, easy to understand and easy to use. They are strategies that are not typically taught in a math class. The best strategies are so easy to understand that they are really foolproof.
I've developed and refined hundreds of these strategies for my students over the years. An instructor from a commercial program will most likely have little or no experience with these. They will simply teach you the standard math, which will not be good enough.
Even my most math phobic students have remarked on how well they can understand the math with these simpler stategies. Even math phobic people are often able to solve the most difficult problems, though it may take them a bit longer.
PERSONAL ATTENTION: Personal help is important in a review program in many ways but large commercial programs do not offer this, other than through buying a very expensive additional package. You may need help with your study plan. You may need someone to interpret your diagnostic test scores. You may need help reviewing your timing and testing strategies. Without personal help, most students cannot get their money's worth out of a program.
ADVANCED STRATEGIES: Many large commercial companies do not offer these. Their curriculum covers general strategies such as those covered in commercial books and then it stops there. The instructors typically don't have the experience or time to help with timing strategy, testing strategies, problem solving strategies, the hidden patterns of the test, strategies for organizing the Reading Comp passages, tools for working two close answers against each other to find the correct one, special organizing tools for complex math or insights into how to write an impressive essay.
FLEXIBLE PREP PROGRAMS: Large commercial companies typically offer one set program. Under certain circumstances you can take their program again without paying. However, you simply get a repeat of your first course. You cannot get a program tailored to your particular needs or a program that let's you prepare over 6 to 10 months.
GETTING INTO GRAD SCHOOL: Typically a large commercial program does not offer any help on areas such as the Personal Statement and Letters of Rec.
COST: The large commercial programs are often the most expensive prep.
HOW DOES THE CUTTS GRE REVIEW HANDLE THESE AREAS?
The Cutts GRE Review emphasizes learning exactly why each correct answer is correct and why each wrong answer is wrong. For the math we emphasize unique organizing strategies for solving complex math problems. These strategies are simple and intuitive, and yet powerful and foolproof. This teaching is based on my over 16 years of experience with the test and goes into far more depth than a relatively inexperienced instructor, such as you would have in Princeton, would be able to go. You learn to practice on actual GRE questions, analyzing the patterns of the question and sharpening your strategies.
PERSONAL ATTENTION: Our program is founded on personal attention. You have unlimited access to me outside of class. We're available and experienced in helping with anything that can affect your chances of getting accepted to grad school.
ADVANCED STRATEGIES: This is our forte. There are thousands of patterns in the GRE which can throw you off, cause you to pick a wrong answer. I work with you closely to help you discover these patterns and learn strategies to get to the right answer. I help you refine the strategies so that you can use them flawlessly. I work with your particular learning style and create special strategies that work best for you. There are unique strategies for organizing the complex information in the Reading Comp passages. In the Critical Reasoning, there is something they are looking for that they don't tell you about. We teach you what that is and how to work two possible answers off each other to find the fatal flaw that must exist in one answer. One of the most critical parts of the test is learning how to use your time as effectively as possible. Your score on the computer adaptive test is based not on the number you get right but on the difficulty of the questions. Timing is very tricky and it has taken me many years of working closely with students to really perfect my instruction on timing. Instructors with only a few seasons part time experience do not yet have an understanding of the issues behind timing strategy or of the various processing styles that students may have.
FLEXIBLE PROGRAMS: We encourage students to work with us for 6 to 10 months. Your course fee allows you to work with us as long as you need to. Since the classes are customized and you have lots of individual time with the instructor, you get exposed to more instruction the longer you work with us.
GETTING INTO GRAD SCHOOL: I have over 16 years experience helping students with Personal Statements, Letters of Recommendation, advanced strategies for getting accepted, as well as career decision issues. Much of this info is available to you free of charge and I do work with my students in more depth when needed.
COST: The full, unlimited Cutts program costs nearly half of a large commercial company's basic program. About 90% of what you pay in a Cutts program goes directly to paying for high quality instructors, as opposed to corporate overhead.
OK, BUT I HAVE FRIENDS WHO TOOK A LARGE COMPANY COURSE AND SAID THEY LIKED IT. WHO DO I BELIEVE?
Lots of people come out of a large commercial course and get the score they needed (they may have gotten that scores without it). Lots of people feel that they got worthwhile info in a large commercial program. (Don't forget that I also hear from lots of students who did NOT get what they needed.)
The question you personally have to answer is "Where can I get the maximum amount of help and improvement?" Most likely you can't afford to do both programs nor will you have the time to do so. Compare what each program has to offer, consider the limitations on a large company, which cannot personalize its approach and which has to hire inexperienced instructors. Talk to the instructors who will actually be teaching you before you make a decision.
Going by what your friends experienced can be dangerous or tricky. Their situations may be very different from yours. They may have been able to get a good score even without the class. Even more tricky is taking a course because you have friends who will take it with you. Find the best class for yourself and then bring your friends along!
OK, I SEE THE BENEFIT OF WORKING INDIVIDUALLY WITH AN EXPERT. I STILL WANT TO COMPARE MY OPTIONS.
In a large commercial program, the instructors have probably gotten near perfect scores but typically only work very part time for one or two seasons. Frequently your instructor was hired within the last few months. When you talk to these companies, ask to speak with the instructor. If they can't allow this, they either don't have an instructor yet or that person is not accessible to you outside of class. If you do talk to them, find out how many students they've worked with and how many hours of individual tutoring experience they have.
From my perspective of over 16 years of full time test prep help, the experience of most such instructors is very limited. While they can probably get almost any question right, they have little understanding of the underlying patterns of the test, of special strategies for organizing the overwhelming information that the test is constantly giving you, of the issues behind timing strategy and very importantly of how to work with the different learning styles that each student brings to the test. There is a big difference between 16 years of full time test prep work and a few years of casual tutoring. In comparing, talk carefully with each instructor you are considering and get an idea of how they approach the areas I mentioned.
Individual tutorial is essential and critical to help you master the test. You could never learn a tennis serve or golf swing from classroom lecture alone. Most students need individual guidance to learn the most important patterns and strategies of the test.
Large commercial programs often do not include any personal help unless you buy a very expensive tutoring package.
The main complaint I hear about instructors from the big companies is that the student has asked the instructor to explain exactly why one answer is correct and the other one wrong and the instructor can't answer. Usually they say, "Just get it down to two and guess." or "This one is just better. You just have to get the feel of it." Neither of these comments is helpful or true. In fact there is a specific reason why one is right and the other wrong and you can learn to see it. Without that, you simply can't improve. It took me years of working with students full time to develop the insights into these reasons and these are what you need to learn to get better.
The other area that is usually completely missing in the most courses is help with timing strategy. How you use your time makes a significant difference in your score. However, it is a very complex issue and inexperienced teachers will have no idea of how to approach it.
So be sure to ask an instructor how they work with timing and how they can help you figure out exactly why right answers are right and wrong ones wrong. Many former students of large commercial programs have told me that without some expertise in these areas, the instructor is not really any more helpful than a book would be, other than having a place to go to do practice tests.
HOW MUCH PROGRESS WILL I MAKE IN YOUR PROGRAM?
Your progress really depends on how long you can work on the test - how many months, how many hours per week - and on how closely you work with me. It is helpful to work together frequently. If you can call me to review your situation, I can suggest a study plan for maximum improvement.
The only way to really make significant improvement is to understand the hidden patterns of the test and the strategies for working through them. It is also essential to learn how to use your time most effectively. Finally, you need to work with someone who can address your particular learning needs. Given all of these things, you can't help but make good improvement.
WHAT IF I DON'T GET THE SCORE I NEED? DOES IT MEAN I WON'T GET ACCEPTED?
My experience is that most people can get accepted if they go about it the right way.
If your GRE score does not go as high as you would have liked despite your best efforts, there are a number of other strategies that I will work with you on, including your Personal Statement, making certain contacts and taking on certain projects. With expert guidance you should get in. If not the first time, then the second.
STILL CONFUSED ABOUT THE BEST WAY TO PREP?
Please call me. I'd like to find out more about your situation and will refer you to the option that's best for you.
If you have questions about your prep options, please call Jay Cutts at (505) 281-0684.