Hi! My name is Kevin Joyce, and as someone who is well versed in standardized tests and rigorous course loads and who has taught others in the past, I believe I make the prime candidate for helping you get where you want to be when it comes to your SAT score. I took the SAT twice, my highest single score being 2310 (800 Writing, 800 Verbal, 710 Math), and my “superscore” being 2330 (800 Writing, 800 Verbal, 730 Math). I am a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, where I received a BA with a double major in Film and Media Studies and Writing, earning a 3.72 GPA. While in school, I consulted with friends numerous times on their assignments and gained an understanding of what it takes to distill complex concepts into easily comprehensible pieces. So now you've read my academic SparkNotes. As for my philosophy on standardized test-taking and teaching, I’ve always relished the challenge of standardized testing, to be honest. I think engendering that same sentiment in future test-takers can be key. As for my love of tutoring, I feel that teaching others to solve certain problems is in many ways more gratifying than coming up with a correct answer to a problem yourself. In a similar vein, while it may be cliché (though just because something is said a lot doesn’t mean it's trite), helping others come to understand a point of view they didn’t hold before or aiding them in the development of a new skill is an incredibly satisfying experience. My hobbies and loves include watching sports (especially the NFL), playing sports (football, lacrosse, rugby, soccer, ultimate and running track are my favorites), watching movies, reading, and writing.
Johns Hopkins University - Bachelors, Writing & Film and Media Studies
SAT Composite: 2330
SAT Math: 730
SAT Verbal: 800
SAT Writing: 800
What is your teaching philosophy?
In a word: adaptable. I like to tailor the core tenets of what I teach to others to the specific individual I'm teaching them to at any given time.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would try to get to know them, hone in on what they consider to be their test-taking weaknesses and strengths, so I can better adapt my tutoring methods to their needs.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
It's the whole "teach a man to fish" concept -- if you can pass on some fundamental test-taking and studying skills, everything else will fall into place for them, even without your help.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I would underline the importance of these standardized tests they're taking, without ramping up the already considerable pressure I'm sure they're feeling. While it may sound trite, I think motivation through positive envisioning is a great way to go about it: imagine scoring your dream score on the SAT -- the only way you're going to do that is by working hard. That's motivation right there.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I wouldn't just repeat the way I'm going about it. I would try to tackle it from a different perspective, especially theirs. Empathy is key in teaching; understanding where your student is coming from can be the difference between them not absorbing anything and them being able to pick something up right away.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Practice, practice, practice. Reading comprehension is like a muscle. The more you do it, the more adept at it you will become. And that doesn't just mean taking a bunch of practice tests. Read books for leisure! Have one on your nightstand to spend an hour with before you go to bed every evening.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Again, coming at it from their point of view. Understand how they're seeing a problem, and then mold how you're presenting the way you go about solving that problem to their perspective. Learning isn't a one-size-fits-all endeavor. Everyone has their advantages and disadvantages when it comes to picking up new things.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would try to find a way to relate to that which I already know they're interested in. It goes back to my getting to know them on the first day of tutoring. It's the only way to be sure that you're doing your best to connect with them.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I would be sure to teach economical use of time, which is key to test-taking, as well as certain strategies that will always tip the odds further in your favor should you use them on certain types of questions.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Again, practice, practice, practice. The more they work at something. The best way to improve your confidence is to see the results of your hard work and how far you've come from where you began.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I evaluate them specifically to the individual. What are your test-taking strengths, and what is the thing you could work on to improve your score in the future?
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I make sure that I get to know them before I try to force any one particular method of tutoring on them. Know their academic background, how they've done on past tests, and what their specific goals are when it comes to test-taking.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I like to use everything at my disposal. That of course includes the ole' reliables: pen and paper. However, this also encompasses practice tests, prep books, and the Internet. Why not use the entire wealth of human knowledge that we have at our fingertips if it could benefit us?