The process of becoming a doctor is incredibly time consuming... so, why would any med student or resident even consider becoming a tutor? What are the benefits and drawbacks? Will the time commitment jeopardize your career? What are the expectations of the job, and what are the requirements to become a tutor at Med School Tutors? What resources are available to you once you come on board?
As a tutor for MST, here are my thoughts:
Requirements to Become a Tutor
MST only hires the most qualified candidates to work as tutors for the company. In general, high board scores are an absolute requirement (>250 on the USMLE steps, >600 on the COMLEX levels). In addition, there are many other qualifications that we look at when selecting tutors. Having an MD/PhD (or working towards one) is a highly desired — but certainly not required — qualification. Teaching and tutoring experience are important qualifications, and attending a top medical school is also desireable (although not all of our tutors attend top medical schools).
Once these qualifications are met, there is a vetting process that includes assessing one’s ability to teach and support students preparing for such high stakes exams. This process may seem long, but it’s necessary for us to ensure that we only hire the best tutors.
Benefits of Being a Tutor
There are many benefits to being a tutor for MST. For example, tutors maintain a body of knowledge that most physicians forget once they leave the first years of medical school. This is particularly true if you tutor for Step 1 or Level 1. Once you're a practicing physician, it's easy to forget details about basic biochemistry, genetics, and even pharmacology from Step 1 or Level 1, but this knowledge can often help you during your career in unexpected ways. There’s a reason we learn this information in the beginning of our studies. It may be that only a small percentage will be relevant in your particular field of practice, but it is impossible to say when it will help you.
A more obvious benefit to maintaining this knowledge base is that it will help you continue to succeed on exams. Tutoring helps you maintain knowledge and exam-taking skills, which will help you with the later steps of the USMLE and/or COMLEX.
Another benefit of working as a tutor for MST is that you will become a part of a network of outstanding medical professionals. Since we only hire the best, you know that other tutors will be top students and residents, and will represent a wide array of fields within medicine. Having a network of people to talk to (or to ask for advice) is a really important resource for physicians.
Lastly, some of the more obvious benefits to becoming a tutor for MST include the teaching experience you can place on your resume, and, of course, its financial benefits. We pay our tutors competitive rates, and there aren’t many things you can do during your training years to make money that will pay as well as being a tutor.
What to Expect When Coming on Board
When I started tutoring for MST back in 2011, there wasn’t much of a formal onboarding process. There were other tutors who could answer questions as they arose, but otherwise we were just thrown into the deep end and given students to tutor. Over the past few years we've improved this process dramatically. We figured it out, of course, and now new tutors are thoroughly trained, and come out knowing the finer points of helping others with exam prep.
Tutors are paired with a mentor to help them when they first start tutoring. The mentoring process is structured so that tutors don’t feel alone when they first come on board. In addition, there are training manuals and documents on best practices for using NBMEs, flashcards, study resources, and just about anything else you can think of. There are session outlines that tutors can use to help them organize tutoring sessions, and we have partnered with Memorang to bring the best flashcard tool to our students. We have NBME answer keys to help you work with your students, and we have documents on what to do in the last days leading up to an exam.
In short, you will never be alone and there is a vast array of resources to help you become the best tutor you can be. We're always looking for the best possible people to join our team, so if you think we'd be a good match for one another, reach out!