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I have a Master of Science degree from UCLA specializing in Chemistry, and I also have a Bachelor of Science degree with a major of Chemistry, and two minors: Physics and Spanish. I have tutored students since I myself was a student in Middle School, then tutored Chemistry in college and grad school for people earning their Bachelors degrees. I have been tutoring while also being an Upper School Science and Math teacher for over 19 years. I teach all levels of Chemistry (including AP), Physics (regular and honors), AP Environmental Science, Honors Precalculus, Trigonometry, Algebra 1 and 2, Earth Science, and Physical Science and have taught Chemistry and Physics at the college level as well. My favorite topics to tutor are Chemistry and Precalculus/Trigonometry.

I am a patient teacher who can explain problems in many different ways according to how individual students learn best. I only ask that you know and explain to me what topics you do not know or get so far. I know that every student can learn a subject with a combination of practice and patience, but I insist upon consistent effort and sessions. As an educator I do not support last minute cramming as the primary learning method of content for students as it does not lead to retention of material, mastery of larger themes, or the ability to differentiate between subtle differences when problem-solving on tests and exams. I will help my clients when they need extra sessions before Final Exams and AP Exams, but those who have been working the hardest throughout the school year to regularly improve will get preference over those students who are panicked at the last minute, but have put off meeting with me.

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Shawn’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: University of Richmond - Bachelor of Science, Chemistry

Graduate Degree: University of California-Los Angeles - Master of Science, Chemistry

Test Scores

SAT Composite (1600 scale): 1420


My hobbies are reading science fiction/fantasy books. Plus I’m a big fan of science fiction TV series, especially Doctor Who, and Marvel Comics Films.

Tutoring Subjects

6th Grade Math

6th Grade Science

7th Grade Math

7th Grade Science

8th Grade Science

ACT Math

ACT Science


Algebra 2

Algebra 3/4

AP Chemistry

AP Environmental Science



CLEP Chemistry

CLEP College Algebra

CLEP College Mathematics

CLEP Precalculus

College Algebra

College Chemistry

College Math

College Physics

Earth Science

Elementary School Science

Environmental Science

GED Prep

GED Math

GED Science

General Chemistry

High School Chemistry

High School Physics

Honors Chemistry

IB Chemistry

IB Chemistry HL

IB Chemistry SL

Inorganic Chemistry


ISEE- Upper Level

ISEE-Lower Level Mathematics Achievement

ISEE-Middle Level Mathematics Achievement

ISEE-Middle Level Reading Comprehension

ISEE-Middle Level Verbal Reasoning

ISEE-Upper Level Mathematics Achievement

ISEE-Upper Level Quantitative Reasoning



Middle School Math

Middle School Science


Physical Science




PSAT Mathematics

SAT Prep

SAT Math

SAT Subject Test in Chemistry

SAT Subject Test in Mathematics Level 1

SAT Subject Tests Prep



Spanish 1


SSAT- Elementary Level

SSAT- Middle Level

SSAT- Upper Level


Test Prep



Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

In my opinion, it is necessary to take a vested interest in the success of every student and to prepare him or her to be a scientifically literate, responsible citizen of our society who thinks before acting. I think this is one of the most important forms of knowledge a science teacher can impart. A good educator shares not just knowledge of the subject matter with his students, but also a grounded sense of reality and a respect for truth and integrity. As a scientist, I strongly support problem-solving approaches, understanding of relationships in systems, skeptical and analytical reasoning skills that can be applied to abstract concepts, and a more complex, intricate understanding of the world on every scale from submicroscopic to universal. Such approaches must go beyond just textbooks to outside material such as primary sources, frequent demonstrations, and regular laboratory activities.

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

Ask the student what areas they think they need help with and ask why they think they are having difficulty. Then, give them a general assessment to check their mastery of the concepts required to understand that subject. Then, make a plan to fill in any gaps and then tackle the subject again.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Get them interested in a subject related or tangential to the topic in class as it relates to something important in their lives (feelings, relationships, beliefs, etc.).

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Provide both constructive criticism and positive reinforcement for signs of improvement. Make sure the student sets realistic goals for improvement.

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

Explain it from another angle or by using an analogy that the student can relate to. There are many ways up the mountain.

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

My most successful strategies have been to require additional effort be given to the class subject matter, have the student demonstrate their mastery by explaining what they think the concept or idea means to an imaginary younger person, and make sure I am not doing the work for them, but rather they push at each step or idea of the concept until proficient.

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

I try to tie the subject matter to an aspect of his/her own life. If a question is somehow relevant to one's experience, goals, or hobbies, then it becomes more exciting.

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

Practice tests, quizzes, and explanations of the subject matter while not using a book or looking at their notes help to verify a student has truly mastered a topic.

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

Always give approval for correct answers. Point out growth, and do not emphasize the details that were answered incorrectly, but rather progress toward a greater understanding. If they can do the problem with an arithmetic error, then in essence they are mastering the material. Then the emphasis becomes being more careful to go slowly, read instructions, etc.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I ask them, then I assess their skills verbally, and finally I assess using practice tests or quizzes. The parents and/or teacher may also have useful input in this regard.

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

The pace is set by the pace of the class and the time allotted. However, that does not mean it can be rushed. Oftentimes a student needs a slower, more methodical introduction to a topic than perhaps was given by their teacher. Once the student is on level again, the pace can be increased.

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

Handouts, practice tests, homework assigned by the student's teacher, flashcards, and problems I have thought up for the purpose of testing a specific skill.

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

I have them pick out the words they did not understand the meaning of first. Then I teach them how to say the word properly if they were unsure, and then give them a working definition. After finishing with all unknown words, I ask them to summarize the article out loud with this newfound information.

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