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I have a Master of Arts in Religion and History, and I will probably return to graduate school to finish with a doctoral degree in Religious Studies. My undergraduate degree was a Bachelor of Arts in Intercultural Studies. I grew up in the Sacramento Valley, but I have lived in Boston and the Pacific Northwest. With a strong background in the humanities, I am an excellent tutor for writing, communication, and verbal reasoning for standardized tests, e.g. the SAT or GRE.

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Mara’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Biola University - Bachelors, Intercultural Studies, Minor Chemistry

Graduate Degree: Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary - Masters, Religion/Church History


piano, music, marathon races, art, painting, drawing

Tutoring Subjects

College English

College Level American History

Comparative Literature

Conversational German

Elementary School Reading

Elementary School Writing


English Grammar and Syntax

Essay Editing


German 1

German 2

High School English

High School Level American History


IB World Religions



Latin 1

Latin 2



PSAT Critical Reading

Social Sciences

Social studies


Spanish 1


Test Prep

World Religions


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

My teaching philosophy has three primary components: (1) Learning style; (2) Mastery of material; and (3) Confidence, with a strong dash of good study skills. I can help you master the material--whether the GRE or writing a paper--by adjusting our sessions to fit your unique learning style. In turn, you will develop the skills and confidence you need to achieve your goals.

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

In a typical first session with a student, we will dive into the material after spending the few minutes getting to know each other. In particular, I will have questions to figure out if you are a visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learner; I will want to hear what your goals are and why you want a tutor; and I will work with you to set an agenda for our time together.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

I can provide the tools and confidence to become an independent learner.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Motivation--Oh, the things we would do if we were truly motivated. I will work with you to find what motivates you. Sometimes the accountability of a tutor is that extra bit of motivation to study for the GRE. I think that we also thrive with encouragement--which is why I will try to highlight your strengths and remind you of why you are so awesome. I also have other secret tips I can give you to help you stay motivated while working on your own.

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

If a student is having difficulty with a skill or concept, then I try to understand what the missing piece is. This is where learning styles are really important, and I will try to utilize what works best for you.

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

When I help students who are struggling with reading comprehension, I first ask what the problem is. Is there a language gap with missing vocabulary? Is the reading material dense and poorly written? Are they asking the right questions as they read? After we find out what the problem is, then we will address it.

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

Every student is unique, so I try to encourage excitement and engagement with the subject based on who the student is. For example, turning studying into a game or connecting the subject to another topic of interest.

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

I will ask you questions and make sure you are understanding and remembering the material. I might even quiz you!

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

I think it is important to celebrate milestones and to acknowledge strengths from the beginning. Sometimes students do know the material and just lack the confidence, and I will affirm you!

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I evaluate a student's needs through discussion and through seeing some of her or his work samples.

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

I ask what they feel they need. I also have a few questions to see what kind of learning styles might best suit him or her.

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

I will work with the student's preferred materials. Depending on the subject, I might have worksheets or handouts for the student.

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

The question of strategy is an important one, but because of my highly personalized approach, this will vary between students and the subject matter. Preparing for the SAT's, GRE, or German will look different from learning how to improve writing skills.

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