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Paul

So you want to be a doctor huh? Step One: Dominate on the MCAT 2015. Let's get to it! I conquered that beast three months ago, scoring in the 96th percentile. Now I'm no whiz-kid-child-prodigy, but I am wise in the ways of MCATry. I will tailor a plan specific to your strengths and weaknesses, arm you with proven strategies, and MAKE CERTAIN you know what you need to for test day. With a wise guide, a smart plan and above all, dedication, I promise you can impress the medical school of your dreams.

If you're not a glutton for punishment and are not taking the MCAT, I am also experienced in tutoring the following subjects:
Biology (College and High School/AP)
Physiology & Anatomy
Psychology
Neurobiology

A little more about me: I have been working in the medical field for three years as an EMT and Medical Assistant and I have plans to become a physician specializing in the Psychiatric/Neurologic field. In my free time, I like to play music and ultimate frisbee. I love overnight backcountry hiking and have visited most of the national parks out west.

Undergraduate Degree:

 University of Wisconsin-Madison - Bachelors, Neurobiology & Psychology

ACT English: 32

ACT Math: 33

ACT Reading: 36

ACT Science: 30

MCAT: 517

Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems: 130

Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems: 130

Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills: 129

I play ukulele and guitar and write music. I play ultimate frisbee. I love backpacking (hiking) and traveling to unknown places.

Anatomy & Physiology

College Biology

MCAT Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills

High School Biology

MCAT Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior

Neurobiology

Social Sciences

What is your teaching philosophy?

Our tutoring sessions will not be a lecture. I think the best way to learn is to teach someone else, and that is why I will tutor mostly through questioning. This allows you to reframe the material in a way perfectly tailored to your brain. It will increase recall and retention, and will expose the gaps in your knowledge. If you cannot explain a concept in your own words, you do not know it well enough. This will be easier than it sounds, I promise, and the rewards will be great.

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

First, I need a solid understanding of your goals, your present knowledge in the material, and an idea of your study habits. Then, we'll work out a plan to attack that goal that is systematic and challenging, yet motivating and attainable. It shouldn't take long before we can jump right into the material.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Because you will spend most of your time studying without a tutor, it is a huge priority to make sure you are doing the correct things outside of our sessions. There is a method to being a great student, and I'd be thrilled to share what science has shown works, as well as my own personal approach.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

First, I will try to diagnose where the problem begins. Maybe a foundational concept is flimsy in the student's mind, in which case I would review the earlier material and try again. Perhaps she is lost in irrelevant details, in which case I would try to simplify the concept. If the cause is elusive, I will try to explain the concept or skill from as many new angles as possible. Sometimes all that is needed is a new frame of reference for a tricky concept to click.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

To begin with, I try to remind the student of what they are studying for and why they are working so hard. Their passion to achieve their academic and career goals is the driving force to keep them motivated. I also foster an attitude of determined positivity during our sessions, always spinning obstacles and difficulties into opportunities to improve. Another aspect of this is finding a balance between challenge and attainability, where a student can feel confident about their knowledge, yet still progress in their learning.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

I would start with quizzing. I would ask them targeted questions that gradually evaluate understanding of a concept. This means beginning with easier questions, that test foundational understanding and moving to questions that distract or trick the student into making common mistakes so that they can avoid them later. Ultimately, the only sure-fire way to know if a student truly understands a subject is to have them teach it to me. Once the foundations are in place, I ask my students to prepare a mini lecture on a given topic, which forces them to reach a greater depth of understanding.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

To begin, I ask my students what kind of success they are envisioning for themselves. If the goal is modest, I tend to set it higher. I then evaluate a student's current state of understanding. If they don't have prior test scores, diagnostic tests can work great for this. However, the best evaluation comes from discussion of specific concepts with my students, where I can question, listen, and see how well a student is understanding. From this detective work, we can formulate a plan to fill in the gaps in the student's knowledge and bolster their weaknesses.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

I like to use quizzes, diagrams, practice sets, and textbooks/review books.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

Finding the balance between challenging and attainable is the key to building confidence. First, I give my students all of the tools they need to understand and apply a concept, including subtle guidance to draw attention to common mistakes, and then find them challenging practice that forces them to apply what they've learned in a step-wise manner. Once I see they have mastered the fundamentals, I may give them a question that asks them to apply the concept in a novel or peculiar way. It is also important to reorient their attitude toward failure. Getting questions wrong only increases a student's knowledge in a subject as they learn from their mistakes, and this should likewise only bolster his or her confidence.