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I attended and graduated from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois and have ten years of experience tutoring students in ACT and SAT preparation. I believe a personalized approach works best and work with each student's strengths to find the best strategies. I also have experience with subject tutoring for elementary, middle, and high school students. If a student is behind or struggling in class, I'll help him or her gain a solid understanding of the material. I truly enjoy helping students reach their academic and testing goals, and I provide an approach tailored to each student's learning style.

Karen’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Bradley University - Bachelor of Science, Multimedia with a minor in Business Administration

Test Scores

ACT Composite: 31

ACT English: 33

ACT Reading: 32

ACT Science: 32


Tennis, Soccer, Other Sports, Hiking, Travel

Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

I believe that because every student learns in a unique way; instruction should be tailored to maximize learning potential. One of my favorite aspects of tutoring is developing that individualized approach for each student.

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

In a first session, I start off by getting to know the student - personality, learning style, interests, and aptitudes. That 'getting to know you' time is very important to develop trust and rapport between tutor and student. Then, I ask students specifically what they're struggling with, what they're finding success with, and what goals they hope to accomplish with the tutoring. Again, it's all about the individualized approach and letting students know that I am also invested in their success.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

To become independent learners, students needs to be taught and shown a concept and then be given the opportunity to try it themselves, first with guidance, and then with encouragement as they gain confidence and ability in that concept.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

I would help them see the small successes along the way as they're going for their ultimate goal. This may take the form of a two-point increase on an ACT practice test on their way to a five-point increase. Or, getting an 'A' on a quiz in a class they've struggled with all school year.

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

It may be necessary to teach the concept again in a different way - to explain it in different terms. If a student struggles with the abstract nature of Algebra, I'll show them how to make the problems visual. If they find understanding the main idea of a reading passage difficult, I'll show them strategies for seeing the big picture.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

The key to this is to pinpoint the specific reading skills that are preventing understanding. For example, I would work with the student to determine if vocabulary needs work, or if the student has difficulty remembering details or picking up on inferences. Then, we can focus on those struggle areas to bring up their comprehension ability.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

I try to understand their learning style and present the material accordingly. Depending on the topic, there may also be opportunities to relate the subject to an interest or hobby of the student. Additionally, I strive to relate the concept to the 'real world' and let students know how they might use the ideas and skills in everyday life.

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

Rather than simply asking, 'Do you understand?' or 'Does that make sense?', I have students show they understand by answering specific problems/questions on their own after we've gone over the material and worked through it together.

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

Encouragement, Encouragement, Encouragement. Then, when they do find that success, their confidence will grow naturally as they start to see that they really can do it.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

It's important to talk with a student as a sort of self-assessment - What does he or she view as strengths and weaknesses in the particular concept? Then, throughout the tutoring session, I analyze not only the types of questions a student answers incorrectly, but why he or she answered them incorrectly. Is there a pattern, a particular question type, etc., that can be pinpointed?

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

I've worked with students at such varied abilities and levels that I'm able to tailor the concept and content to what they specifically need. For example, a higher-level student may be able to complete the first half of the ACT math section with little to no assistance, so we'll focus on the second half of the test. Another student may be better served building those missing foundational skills to maximize their success on the first half of the test.

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

For ACT and SAT tutoring, I use a combination of concept, skill, and strategy practice, along with applying those concepts and individualized strategies to test questions. For subject tutoring, I'll work with the student's classroom materials and bring in additional worksheets and exercises as needed to supplement.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

Developing a good rapport and having students know I truly care about their success are key. Then, it's important to talk through how we'll structure the tutoring to reach their goals. And, I always let students know that questions are a good thing, and to always feel comfortable asking to go over something again or do additional practice in a particular skill or concept.