I am a graduate of Columbia University with a degree in Neuroscience and an informal concentration in Artificial Intelligence. I also have a degree in Medicine from St. George's University. I have pursued biomedical research, and since turned an interest in tutoring that began while I was a student into a professional calling. I have tutored for a private tutoring company, for schools as a student tutor, and privately for individuals. While I am exceptionally well versed in Math and the Sciences, I also excel in Reading Comprehension, Writing, and have successfully tutored those subjects.
It is my opinion that empathy is the most important skill for a teacher. I have a knack for listening to a student's response, hearing where the block in his or her understanding lies, and bringing the discussion to that place so we may reach our goal. My style of teaching constantly adapts to the needs of the individual student, using visual aids, mnemonics, and emotional support as needed. One of the best compliments I ever received was from a rival who sat in on a physiology tutoring session I led in graduate school. He said, "You break it down so that a six-year-old could understand it." This is the level of understanding I aim to impart to all my students. I firmly believe that a thorough understanding of fundamental concepts allows one ownership of an entire subject. Such understanding provides a student with a level of confidence that even the trickiest test question cannot shake. It is my personal belief that education provides the means to enjoy life more deeply, a belief I hope to instill by example and application in my students. My hobbies include reading, especially science fiction and philosophy, playing board games and video games, and occasionally programming computers.
Undergraduate Degree: Columbia College of Columbia University - Bachelor in Arts, Neuroscience and Behavior
Graduate Degree: St. George's University School of Medicine - Doctor of Medicine, Medicine
SAT Composite (1600 scale): 1560
SAT Math: 800
SAT Verbal: 760
Reading, Board Games, Video Games, Hiking, Running, Computer Programming
MCAT Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills
GRE Subject Test in Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology
GRE Subject Tests
High School Biology
High School Chemistry
High School Physics
MCAT Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
SAT Subject Tests Prep
What is your teaching philosophy?
Fundamental understanding is the only correct target. Combined with coaching on practicing your question-attack strategy with maximal error reduction, I can make anyone a test-destroyer given time.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Before I start the clock on our first session, I discuss the student's responses to my pre-session email questionnaire, which tells me the whole of their academic story to give context to their current challenge. Once I have a good idea of who my student is, I can properly use our time to diagnose their conceptual or problem-solving blocks correctly.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I constantly focus on getting students to bind their new scientific knowledge to their ample experience as humans who have been around for approximately two decades, so they use their knowledge as a lens to see the world. Whenever a student comes up with their own mnemonic of equal correctness, I change my slides to use theirs, because reinforcing such behaviors when they occur is the key to successful training of independent learning.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Studying may be hard, but it should never be boring. My lessons are animated and personable. The brain is not a bucket, and what a student does with information determines recall. Since actually being strong is the best way to build confidence, I have learned over time how to make students strong in as little a time as possible by conveying core principles, and then guiding them through the various applications of those core principles.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Try another way. With all the experience I have, I have never once been stymied in trying to explain a concept. I will learn the answer to a stumper in front of you and model ideal self-directed learner behavior. Once I understand, I can explain it to you. Guaranteed.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I personally only teach reading comprehension at the MCAT level. My answer depends on whether they are ESL students or native English speakers. For all students: read, read, read. For ESL - that and vocabulary. For all students taking CARS: grammatical analysis, etymology, and structural passage dissection are all tools that I teach that can both raise understanding of the passage and raise points out of proportion to understanding.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
When I start to work with a student, getting them to believe in the method has proven to be the most successful. A quick lesson on cortical neuroanatomy and overall information flow within the CNS gets most students on board with my teaching method, which is different from that to which they are used to.