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Max

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I am a graduate of the public history program at the University of South Carolina, where I received an M.A. I am pursuing a career in historic preservation, because buildings and structures crucial to maintaining the culture of local and national society are constantly threatened. Throughout my graduate and undergraduate education, I worked in a teaching capacity, teaching sections of United States and Latin American History courses. With high scores being so crucial to student acceptance to top college programs, I am passionate about sharing the tips and strategies that helped me succeed on standardized tests. I especially enjoy teaching the Math sections of exams, because the subject boils down to learning and memorizing strategies that can be broadly applied. My strategy for standardized test preparation comes down to preparing the student not only for the material itself, but also for the experience of taking the tests. Success on standardized tests is as much an emotional exercise as an intellectual one. In my spare time, I enjoy playing the piano, card and board games, and watching NBA basketball.

Max’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: New College of Florida - Bachelors, History

Graduate Degree: University of South Carolina - Masters, Public History

Test Scores

ACT English: 34

ACT Math: 32

ACT Reading: 32

SAT Composite: 2280

SAT Math: 800

SAT Verbal: 780

SAT Writing: 700

AP Calculus AB: 4

AP English Literature: 4

AP English Language: 5

AP US History: 4

AP World History: 5

AP U.S. Government & Politics: 4

Hobbies

Learning songs from the 70s and 80s on the piano, mastering board and card games, contributing to the preservation of historically significant strutures.


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

My teaching philosophy for test preparation is to make the student comfortable with the test material, as well as the experience of taking the test itself. Doing well on a standardized test is an intellectual endeavor, but the tests are designed to test your test-taking ability as well. I aim to improve both attributes in my students.

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

In a first session with a student, we would discuss the student's interests, goals (for both the test and life), and the parts of the test they feel comfortable and uncomfortable with. Then we would run through an abbreviated practice examination and go over each question. This first session style serves to let me and the student get to know each other, as well as being a diagnostic exercise so I can get an idea of what the student's strengths and weaknesses are at the beginning of our time together.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

The trepidation many students have when they face the idea of taking a standardized test inspires them to work on their weaknesses to maximize their scores. If someone feels hopeless about it, however, they might give up. My strategy is to keep the student engaged with the test material, and to give them shortcuts, strategies, and insights that will make the test seem less daunting, inspiring them to keep putting in the necessary extra effort.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

It is my job to make success on the test always seem possible, by giving them the information and strategies that will best prepare them for the test. Most students are motivated by the idea of getting into the colleges they want to attend, and a good test score is important for that. By making the test seem less scary, I will help them get and stay motivated.

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

Everyone has trouble with something on a standardized test. Luckily, most parts of these tests are able to be studied and repeated over and over. Once someone can do something on their own once, it is much easier for them to keep doing it. I would run through practice questions with them until they get it. However, if I feel like we are hitting a wall, I would back off for a bit and come back to it later.

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

Any time a student has trouble with a word, I make sure they have no fear of asking me what it means. I would also have them read the passages or sentences slowly. Most of the time, you don't need to know the definition of a word to understand what it means. You can use context to understand. A lot of struggles with reading comprehension come down to fear or hopelessness, and I aim to make the test seem less scary to prevent those feelings from occurring.

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

The most important thing in the relationship between a tutor and a student is successful and easy communication. I would get to know the student a little bit to make them comfortable with me, and find out what their hopes and fears are for the test. I would work my tutoring around those things.

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

When a student struggles, sometimes it is hard to make them engaged. I believe that for the material tested on high school standardized tests, any student can understand at least 85 percent of it extremely well with some work. I would have students run through practice questions, guiding them in approach and strategy. I think of it like a bike with training wheels. I guide them through it and see how they do on their own, working until they understand the problem type. Most of the question types on standardized tests require a strategy or method that can be memorized. If the student is having a lot of trouble and needs to calm down, I will work on something else with them for a short time.

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

I will be using practice questions extensively, to test whether the student understands the material. The good thing about practice questions is that they are not only diagnostic, but they are also learning tools.

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

Standardized tests are about repetition. I think that anyone has the potential to understand almost anything tested on high school tests, so I will guide them through a subject and teach them how to apply it in the various necessary situations.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

First, I will discuss with them what they think their needs are. Then, I will use the experiences I have working with them to see if there are any correlations in what they have trouble with.

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

Tutoring is a social and intellectual experience. If I have to change the way I talk or teach, or switch things around, I will do it in order to make the experience as comfortable and useful for the student as possible.

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

My main material would be standardized test prep books, which usually have lessons as well as practice tests and practice questions.