Law School Discussion

Kaplan Audition


Kaplan Audition
« on: June 14, 2004, 09:03:00 PM »
So I have an audition for Kaplan coming up, where I will have 5 minutes to present a topic. The guidelines are attached below.

the question is... what would you suggest as a good topic for the audition?

What will happen at the auditions?
Aspiring teachers and tutors are asked to give a five-minute teaching presentation, which must include some audience
interaction, to Kaplan staff and fellow auditioners. Auditioners will be stopped at five minutes, so be sure to wrap up your presentation within that time.

What topic should I choose?
Select a topic with some substance, and one that interests you:
. Do not choose a test-preparation subject.
. Do not choose a topic that focuses on physical demonstration, such as origami, knitting, or juggling.
. A board will be available, and effective boardwork is a plus.
. Imagine that you are presenting to students, not to peers.
Examples of successful audition topics in the past include "How to Interpret the Label on a Bottle of Red Wine,"
"How to Find an Apartment," and "How Parachutes Work." Note that they have in common a "how to" focus and the
potential for fun. In the end we are less interested in your topic than in your handling of it. We seek to measure each
auditioner's skillfulness in presenting, as well as your interaction with the group (teachers) or ability to communicate
one-on-one (tutors).

How will my audition be evaluated?
Your presentation will be evaluated on the following criteria:
(1) Clarity.
(2) Effectiveness and organization.
(3) Your ability to create an environment of active participation
(4) Your comfort level in front of a group
(5) Time management-that is, completing your presentation within the allotted time.
(6) Professionalism.
(7) In addition, prospective teachers will be evaluated as to their boardwork.
Prepare and practice your presentation thoroughly, with those criteria in mind. (For those primarily or exclusively interested in private tutoring, criteria #4 and 7 will matter less than the others.) Treat the audition as the job interview
that it is. You will have only one opportunity to audition, so make the most of it.


Re: Kaplan Audition
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2004, 09:45:27 PM »
I would do a presentation on diversity with a hands-on activity for the audience. My mother and I are co-owners of a buisness that specializes in diversity presentations and lectures (most foucsing on Eastern European culture and history), so this would be something I am familiar with.

I seem to think I remember you saying you were an engineering student in undergrad.  Surely, there is something very interesting pertaining to that field that you could incorporate into a presentation.  My advise is to stick with something you know, something you are VERY comfortable with.  That way, if you get nervous and get disoriented, you can always improvise a little.

BTW, I think you would be a great instructor.  Kaplan needs humble and knowledgeable people.  Best of luck to you!


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Re: Kaplan Audition
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2004, 06:17:28 AM »
When i did my audition, i actually taught binary-to-decimal conversion ...I'd taught it several times in my TA job in engineering, and it was just about the perfect 5 min presentation that allowed audience participation.  I think that getting the class involved is probably the key.  Of course, i was applying to teach an LSAT class that started the next week, and there were no other applicants, so it was a little easier for me

Re: Kaplan Audition
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2004, 06:29:02 AM »
i did my kaplan audition on "How to Tell a Believable Lie" They seemed to like it because I tried to make it funny..which also made me less nervous because people laughed and eased the tension in the room.  so my suggestion would be to pick something light that you are comfortable enough to improvise with.  I did get the job..if that helps...but quit in teacher training b/c there was a good deal of extra preparation and it was in the middle of a tough semester.


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Re: Kaplan Audition
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2004, 06:39:56 AM »
I would do a lecture of the reproductive methods of human and ask for volunteers to help deomonstrate, but that's just me.  (Also because I didn't want to teac for PR.  ;-)

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Re: Kaplan Audition
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2004, 06:51:51 AM »
As someone who went through the process myself, I advise you against choosing a serious topic. When I auditioned, it was the holiday season, so I did my audition on "How to be a Successful Retail Employee" - defining 'successful' in this case to mean 'able to help the least amount of people in the greatest amount of time'. I gave such sugestions as 'never make eye contact with a customer' and 'always appear busy - if a customer asks you a question, pretend you didn't hear them and walk quickly and purposefuly in the opposite direction' or something like that. It worked quite well. ALL the other prospective teachers chose dry/serious topics, which made me look like Richard Pryor. I started training approx. a week later and had to go back to the center to print out some materials - I was told by my center manager that my audition was the funniest he'd seen in years and that he thought I would be a great instructor.

Bottom line - EVERYONE at the audition will be somewhat intelligent. They want to see that you have 'personality'...that is, that you are an energetic, amicable person who will be able to make the lessons 'come alive' somewhat and develop a good rapport with students. Good luck, and remember that if you make them laugh/smile then you will most likely be hired - unless you do something stupid like throw in a racist joke or something like that.


Re: Kaplan Audition
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2004, 07:05:22 AM »
is the teacher training paid?

Louder Than Bombs

Re: Kaplan Audition
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2004, 07:08:33 AM »
is the teacher training paid?

Yes - $7/hr plus about 2hrs @ 7/hr for prep...BTW, although it may seem like a lot of material to prep, it's really not. If you are actually prepping for two hours or more than you are doing it wrong. Give the material a good once over (that is, just read it and understand it) - by the time you actually have to teach it you will be familiar with it and should have no problems.

Re: Kaplan Audition
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2004, 11:11:48 AM »
I did my audition on "How to go undercover in Texas" - since the audition was in New York, and I'm originally from TX, it was pretty fun. It was all about how a non Texan could disguise themselves as a Texan.

Key points to remember - make it lively, get the 'class' (your fellow auditioners) engaged, elicit answers from them, and have an organized, outline layout of the topic for yourself.


Re: Kaplan Audition
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2004, 03:01:26 PM »
hey! when i did mine the guy grabbed me before i even left to say it was the best, so listen up ;) i was an english major/literary mag person undergrad, so i did "how to read a poem out loud," but the topic doesnt matter-- the one thing they emphasize is audience involvement, and i was amazed how poorly the 20 other auditioners did with that. hand something out-- i brought 15 slim poetry books i my bag and just tossed them around. call on people or use them as examples-- i made 2 kids stand up so i could talk about what to wear and not to wear. ask them easy questions-- e.g. "tell me the title of the poem in front of you"-- instead of the hard kind that might scare people, or the easy/obvious kind that are just too annoying to bother with ("first, wash your hands. what do we do first? anyone? wash your, anyone, anynoe?") get into it, get excited, move around the room, use your hands-- the basics of being a fun teacher.
beyond that i second others' contribution to go for something fun/ny and lighthearted. i would also say, whether or not it strictly affects someones evaluation of you, be a good audience member for the other auditioners. itll make you look good, itll make you look generous, and if you get stuck up there they will probably return the favor.