The Optimal Lesson Length

When I worked for Kaplan, they required all private tutoring lessons to be two hours. That surprised me because I thought of lessons as one-hour affairs. However, I soon discovered that we could get through a lot more in one two-hour lesson than we could in two one-hour lessons. 

Why? For starters, each lesson always starts with a few pleasantries and takes a couple of minutes to get going. Furthermore, it usually takes 15 minutes or so for students' minds to warm up and perform at their best. So by the time we are at our best flow, if the lesson is only one hour, we have often used a quarter to a third of our lesson time. 

In my experience, I've found that 90 minutes works well for many students. With 90 minute lessons, we can go through the warm up period and spend more than an hour at our most productive level. An hour is generally too short and delivers less value per dollar than a longer lesson. 

Exceptionally motivated students can often benefit from even longer lessons. Depending on the student's goal score and motivation (which often is a proxy for stamina), two to three hour lessons typically deliver the best results. Students who have a genuine, passionate desire to improve are actively searching for answers to their questions. Longer lessons give me more time to challenge them in the moment and to build on the momentum they gain throughout the lesson. Ultimately, this leads to better retention and higher scores.


Totally agree! 1.5HRs is perfect. 2HR's end up draining the crap out of me lol.


Peter A.

Top-Tier Tutoring for the SAT, ACT, GRE, and GMAT

700+ hours
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