About Next Step Test Preparation
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John Rood is Next Step’s president and founder. Starting with one tutor (himself) in 2009, Rood built Next Step’s tutoring programs to thousands of students and hundreds of instructors. He has also personally taught hundreds of LSAT students. Before starting Next Step, Rood was a management consultant in Chicago. He is a graduate of Michigan State University and the University of Chicago.
Todd is Next Step’s Director of Marketing and Partnerships. With over 7 years of experience in test preparation and higher education, Todd works with universities, student and professional groups, and international institutions. Email him here.
Rachel is Next Step’s Tutoring General Manager overseeing our one-on-one tutoring program across exams. She has over 15 years of experience in test prep, overseeing a major region for another company before joining Next Step. If you would like to call Rachel directly to discuss tutoring she can be reached at 215-965-0199.
Heather is a Senior Academic Manager for Next Step Test Prep. She has 10 years of experience in test preparation and higher education. She enjoys helping students navigate through the important and very stressful entrance exams students face. If you would like to call Heather directly to discuss tutoring she can be reached at 917-470-9080.
By John Rood
For a brief time, I worked at one of the nation’s largest test preparation companies (one of the ones you’ve heard of from flyers on campus or ads on Google). I learned two things from that experience.
Students learn better from individual attention. When I taught LSAT prep courses, the curriculum was designed around the “average” student as it had to be for a class of 20 students. However, that disguised a lot of variance. Students who started under that average often got lost, as the pace of the class zoomed by them. On the other hand, we had high-performing students looking to break into the 90th percentile who were bored to tears. And often students would fall into both camps — lost on one topic while completely bored in an area they had mastered. That contrasted with my work in one-on-one tutoring environments. When students work with a personal instructor, they move at the students’ pace. If the student needs extra assistance in one area, we focus there.
The price of a prep course is outrageous! Given how important these tests are in graduate school admissions, I think making an investment in professional prep makes sense. However, $1,400-$2,500 is too much to pay simply to sit in a lecture with 25 other students. We’ve priced our packages of individual tutoring to be competitive with the group lecture courses at the largest prep companies.
I knew we could fix both problems. That’s why we offer nearly all one-on-one tutoring — I firmly believe that’s how people best improve, and our outstanding results and student testimonials back up that proposition. Think of it this way — have you ever learned better in a lecture environment than when speaking with someone individually?
To me, the lecture-style approach is no different from going to the doctor with 20 other patients.
In 2016, we looked to solve that second problem (the price of prep courses) with our online MCAT course. The problem with modern prep courses is that most of them operate online, but are still priced like they had to rent a 5-star hotel conference room. Everything we do revolves around a personal prep experience, and our course is no different. Rather than have one curriculum for every student, our system sets a custom course for each student based on their test date, available hours to study, and areas of weakness.
Perhaps most importantly, we built a course with as many or more resources as our competitors, but charge just $1,299, up to $800 less than competitors.
As we go into the future, we plan to continue serving our students with our one-on-one tutoring program. At the same time, we’re building more high-quality study resources that focus on customization and great value.
Please Look Around!
I hope this gives you some ideas about what we value in test prep. If you believe that you or your son or daughter would benefit more from personal attention than a series of lectures, I invite you to contact us by email or phone.