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I am Chemistry & Chemical Biology graduate of Cornell University, Magna Cum Laude, very experienced with chemistry and standardized test taking tutoring. Teaching and learning are passions of mine, and I really enjoy helping students exceed their expectations, improving intellectually and paving the way for their futures.

My teaching style is a long-term approach to mastery. I believe it is critical to first master fundamentals before building on these concepts to solve more complex problems – the ones on your exam. The best approach for this is regularly scheduled sessions a period of time before an exam, so that come exam time students have had to the opportunity to understand the basics and tackle the most challenging questions that will show up on the exam. I emphasize a problem solving approach, and believe extracting and retaining all information from test questions and practice exams is critical to test performance. I encourage students to take exams under test conditions, and will guide students through challenging problems.

Critical to my teaching philosophy is developing test-taking strategy – gaining an in-depth knowledge of questions that will be given on the test, and how to solve them most efficiently. For GRE Math, this involves first reviewing all subject material that could appear on the exam to make sure the basics are mastered, and then moving through exam problems of increasing complexity. For the GRE Verbal section, this involves learning the finite question types for this section, and using the clues each of these formats provides to solve problems. For those who have difficulty navigating longer passages, I encourage zoning in on key turning points, indicated by action words, which many exam questions come from. I also encourage reading Op-Ed articles daily to build reading skills. For those who have trouble with vocabulary questions, I also encourage zoning in on key turning points, learning the nuances of each vocabulary word, memorizing the lists of frequently appearing words on the GRE and learning new words from practice exams. For Chemistry, this involves reviewing practice exams and trying to gauge exam style once the basics have been fully mastered.

My strongest tutoring subjects are General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, GRE Math and GRE Verbal. For three semesters at Cornell, I tutored Organic Chemistry with the Learning Strategies Center. Here, I guided students through problems sets and practice exams, with a particular focus on improving critical reasoning, time management and test-taking strategy skills generally applicable to all academics. I have tutored university level General Chemistry, AP, IB and high school math & chemistry privately.

When I took the GRE in August 2014, I scored on the 94th Percentile for both the Quantitative (167) and Verbal Reasoning (164) components. These scores are in the range to attend the nation’s most selective graduate schools. At Cornell, I scored an “A” in all of my general chemistry and organic chemistry courses, including a graduate level organic synthesis course. My professional experiences are strongly researched oriented, and I have worked in 3 organic chemistry labs at Cornell, The Scripps Research Institute and Stockholm University. During my summer internship at Scripps, I was supervised by Phil Baran, winner of the 2013 MacArthur “Genius” Award.

Outside of work, I enjoy traveling, Italian language and culture, basketball, hiking and reading. I have visited 23 different countries, lived for 9 months in Sweden, and some of my favorite works of literature are the essays of Massachusetts natives Emerson and Thoreau. The picture in my profile was taken on top of the Duomo in Milan, Italy.

Teaching is one of my favorite activities, and I cherish the opportunities to help students succeed. I am happy to help with any and all General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, High School Math, GRE Math and GRE Verbal tutoring!

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Michael’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Cornell University - Bachelors, Chemistry & Chemical Biology


Travel, Italian Language and Culture, Hiking, Reading

Tutoring Subjects

Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

My general teaching philosophy is to first make sure the basic concepts are mastered, and then move through problems of increasing complexity to solidify understanding and prepare for upcoming exams. When problem solving with students, I like to guide students through problems without revealing the answer. This way, students gain the ability to work independently, which they will need to do on important exams, with my help along the way.

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

In a first session, I like to first establish the goals of the student – short-term and long-term. Then, I like to understand what topics the student already knows and is struggling with. From here, we begin reviewing the basic concepts the student needs to learn, and solidify this by working through problems. This sets up nicely for building on this knowledge and working through more advanced problems in following sessions.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

I help students become independent learners by teaching them how to learn. One of the ways I do this by guiding students through problems without revealing the answer. This allows students to have that precious "A-Ha!" moment, where they understand for themselves how to do a problem. Once students have this, they can apply concepts to a range of different problems. I also emphasize test-taking and effective studying strategy skills, which once basic concepts are mastered, allow students to work independently.

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

Everybody learns best in different ways. This means there are many ways to explain the same concept! So if a student does not understand a problem, I will re-explain fundamental concepts from new angles. After working with a student for some time, I can gauge how they think, and use that information to explain concepts in ways most suited to their natural learning styles.

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