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Group tutoring or individual tutoring – which is better?

Five adults are sitting around a table and are in a conversation.

If you would like to take advantage of professional tutoring, you have the choice between two options: Either you take group tutoring or individual tutoring. Regardless of the decision you make, you should know that both options have advantages and disadvantages.

Group tutoring

For whom and when is group tutoring suitable? There is no specific recommendation as to when group tutoring is suitable. In practice, it is always suitable. Your decision depends on your goals and needs. What is meant by needs? These relate to the difficulties you have with the subject matter. It is also important to know whether you prefer to study alone or with your peers in a group. For some students, group work acts as a motivating factor, for others it is disruptive. However, you don’t have to decide immediately whether you want group or individual tutoring without having done a test lesson first. Many service providers usually offer a free trial lesson. After this, you can decide whether you prefer individual or group tutoring. Group tutoring is a bit like lessons at school, even if the group is much smaller than a school class.

Individual tutoring

In practice, individual lessons are more popular than group lessons. This is because tutors focus on the needs of individual students. In this type of lesson, the tutor quickly finds out what type of learner their students are. They conduct their lessons accordingly. Students who have a lot of material to catch up on are neither over- nor underchallenged in individual lessons. If you are afraid to ask your questions in large groups, you are better off in private lessons.

Teaching material for group tutoring

The teaching material in group tutoring may differ from the teaching material in individual tutoring. This is because the worksheets in the former tutoring option are designed in such a way that you can also work on them in a group with the other students. The tutor can also support you individually with this material. Before you work with the teaching material in group tutoring, the tutors will talk to you and your parents to find out what level of knowledge you have. In this way, they can adapt the tasks to you as a group.

The advantage of the teaching material in group tutoring is that it can be applied in a playful way. Playful elements can be better integrated in the group than in individual tutoring. Furthermore, the teaching material in group tutoring can be designed in such a way that you have a small competition with the other students in solving the tasks. This is particularly suitable for tasks in mathematics or for cloze tests in English. This boosts your motivation, concentration and performance. In foreign language tutoring in groups, the teaching material also allows small, exciting role-playing games with which you can practice speaking freely and have fun doing so.

As a rule, other materials are also used in group tutoring. These include, for example, audio equipment such as a CD player for listening comprehension in language lessons. This works better in a group than in individual lessons.

Teaching material for individual tutoring

Zwei Schüler sitzen vor einem Computer.

The teaching material in individual tutoring is adapted to your needs in the same way as the teaching material in group tutoring. The advantage here is that the tutors can do worksheets and tasks with you that are based on your last lesson. This works less well in a group, as you are not all in the same class and the subject matter is not always the same. The teaching material in individual tutoring also depends on your chosen subject. In the language subjects, you will receive texts to read, grammar exercises to consolidate the special features of the respective language and texts to reinforce your understanding. You will also receive texts with questions to answer in order to improve your reading comprehension in the respective language. You will also have dialogs with your teacher. He or she can focus on your language skills and support you individually. In one-to-one tutoring, you will have enough time to do this.

However, if it is a subject such as mathematics, you will be given tasks that your teacher will explain to you and which you will work on together or initially on your own. Here too, the advantage is that you can repeat the exact material from your school lessons. This way, you will go into the next lesson armed with new knowledge. Of course, you can also take private lessons in other subjects. The teaching material is by no means limited to mathematics or languages. Depending on your school or your chosen profile subjects, you can also take private tuition in physics, biology, chemistry, nutrition, business studies or economics.

Advantages of group tutoring

The advantages of group tutoring can be roughly summarized under the following headings:

  • Generally more cost-effective
  • Further development of social skills thanks to group work
  • Professional exchange with pupils of the same age who are not in the same class
  • Clear separation of free time and tutoring as you leave the house

For some students and parents, the cost factor plays an important role in deciding whether or not to fund private tuition for their children. There are discounts in the group. However, group tutoring is not only about the financial aspect, as there are numerous other benefits that come with group tuition.

An important benefit of group lessons is that you strengthen your social skills. In today’s world, these skills are more important than ever – especially in your later professional life, you will get ahead if you have the required social skills. Group work is exactly the right approach. This type of tutoring also offers a valuable exchange of information between the participants. You can also motivate each other as group members. Your daily structure is characterized by a common thread, as you can better distinguish between leisure and school.

So, when is group tutoring suitable for you? The aforementioned advantages of group tutoring are more likely to apply if you only have minor difficulties following the lessons. If it’s just a matter of repeating or consolidating your knowledge, you will definitely benefit from the advantages of group tutoring. You are also in the right place if you are communicative and enjoy learning with your peers.

Other advantages of group tutoring include lower costs and structured lessons. This is because group tutoring is usually led by a teacher who first structures and then organizes the lessons. In this way, you learn in a targeted manner. This type of knowledge transfer has always proven itself in practice.

The advantages of group tutoring also include interaction and collaboration, as you can learn from and interact with each other. In addition, both you and your fellow tutors can help each other. Helpfulness is a value that you also learn in group tutoring. You will also get to know other perspectives that differ from your own. Not to be underestimated is the mutual motivation that exists in a group. After all, you can benefit from the positive atmosphere that prevails in the group.

Disadvantages of group tutoring

Before you decide on individual tutoring or group tutoring, you should also think about the disadvantages of group tutoring. This is because tutors in a group have less time to respond to your individual learning needs. If you have major learning difficulties or significant gaps in your knowledge, you will hardly notice any of the advantages of group tutoring. Instead, the disadvantages of group tutoring will be more noticeable. It is therefore important that you are clear about your level of knowledge. Of course, you can have a consultation with the tutors here.

As already mentioned, the disadvantages of group tutoring lie in the lower level of individual attention. The focus on individuality is much smaller in one-to-one lessons compared to group lessons. This is because teachers only have a limited amount of time available.

There are also different learning needs in a group, which is why teachers face a particular challenge. It is almost impossible for them to adapt to the needs of four to six pupils because they don’t have the time.

The issue of distractions plays a role in group lessons. They are simply present in group lessons. As a result, they can make learning more difficult and impair learning success. Group dynamics can be negative or positive – and you can’t know that in advance before you sit in a group lesson. It can definitely happen that you distract each other. This not only results in a negative atmosphere, but also prevents the desired learning success.

Advantages of individual tutoring

Private lessons are more expensive, but there are many reasons for this. This is because the teachers can focus completely on your individual learning needs. They design the lessons accordingly. The teachers prepare for your level of knowledge. In addition, the tutor discusses in detail the content that you did not understand at school. You can ask questions and the teacher will respond to your queries. Another advantage of one-to-one tutoring is that the teacher can find out what type of learner you are.

One-to-one tutoring is also suitable for you if you are a shy person who doesn’t like talking in large groups. Even if you have inhibitions about asking questions in normal school lessons. One-to-one lessons can also prepare you intensively for upcoming class tests, central class tests, final papers or exams. Teachers address your personal difficulties in one-to-one lessons.

In one-to-one lessons, the teacher doesn’t just focus on your individual problems with the school material, but instead helps you to reduce your knowledge gaps in a targeted way. This will help you gain self-confidence. In one-to-one lessons, you learn that you can master any type of school subject matter if you put your mind to it and if a professional explains it to you.

Other advantages of individual tutoring are the higher chances of success in improving your grades. So it really isn’t a fairy tale that you can improve from a five to a three – or even a two. If you prefer one-to-one tuition via the internet, you will also improve your digital media skills.

You benefit from undisturbed learning. In private lessons, the teacher adapts to your schedule. They can be there for you in the evenings, at weekends or during the vacations and review your school material with you. You can also request additional lessons in private lessons. Especially before exams, presentations or final exams. This can take away your exam nerves. As a result, you will go into the exam or test with confidence, without being accompanied by unnecessary anxiety.

Disadvantages of individual tutoring

Despite the numerous advantages, the disadvantages of private tutoring should not be underestimated. One of the main factors that can hinder the success of one-to-one tuition is a poor relationship between you and your teacher. If the chemistry between you and your teacher is not right, the desired learning success will not be achieved. As a result, the teacher will find it difficult to motivate you to learn. The planned transfer of knowledge also falls by the wayside.

Private lessons are particularly expensive if the teacher visits you at home. As a rule, there are also travel costs. You also have to pay these. You can save these costs if you take private lessons at an institute. Online private tuition can also be a sensible way to save these costs, although the disadvantages of private tuition are significantly lower than those of group tuition.


The decision as to whether group or individual tutoring is right for you can be made together with your parents, but also with your teacher. It is worth weighing up the different arguments. Can you afford to go to a tutoring institute or is the time commitment too high? Do you prefer tutoring in a group or more personal support? How big are your knowledge gaps and difficulties at school? It should be noted at this point that the form of tutoring should match your personality. In addition to your deficits, your motivation also plays an important role. Your grades can be the first indication that you need to work on your knowledge gaps. They provide your tutors with an initial indication of where you currently stand in your schoolwork.

The subjects in which you would like to take private tuition also play an important role in the selection process. If you have major knowledge gaps in mathematics, it is worth considering one-to-one tuition. In this case, your teacher can respond to you individually.

Related Article: When is Tutoring Needed?