I'm a data project manager and MBA grad with a lot of experience tutoring in a number of different fields. My specialties are in GRE and SAT prep, and I have experience tutoring in both verbal and quantitative fields. I understand many of the tactics necessary to achieve high scores in these exams. With my education in business, I can also tutor in statistics, business analytics, and most healthcare management related topics. I believe that my main strength is being able to break complex ideas down into their constituent parts, and I like to plan sessions ahead of time so that our sessions can be as organized and rewarding as possible. I believe in making tests feel more like games than like exams, and to do this, I focus on testing strategy, which has proved successful for me during my SAT and graduate level exams.
In addition to my background in test prep, english and math tutoring, I have also been a teacher of improv comedy at the Washington Improv Theater, and bring some of the same lessons I taught during those classes that I do to all my coaching sessions.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Virginia-Main Campus - Bachelors, Political Science and Government
Graduate Degree: College of William and Mary - Masters, Healthcare Management/Business Analytics
GRE Quantitative: 157
GRE Verbal Reasoning: 167
Soccer, Hiking, Swimming, Blogging, Weekend Coding, Writing
AP US History
College Level American History
High School English
High School Geography
High School Level American History
IB Global Politics
What is your teaching philosophy?
I prep for each session by cataloging a student's needs and bringing in examples-- some of which have already been solved, and some of which are left to the student to solve. I try and create a relaxed and calm atmosphere, because I find that it's the best way to learn complex ideas. Test prep can be stressful, so I make it my goal to have students confident by the time they sit down to take an exam.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would spend a good amount of time taking note of all the student's problem areas, showing them specific examples of questions that they have issues with, so that I can plan out a strategy for our subsequent sessions. Then, I would tackle the area that the student finds most difficult, presenting tactics with which to solve these questions, so as to deflate the student's stress and fear associated with a weakness area.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
The key is to find a way to make the student confident in certain question to where the exam feels less like a chore and more like a challenge. To do this on exams, I would challenge students to understand the structure of how tests are prepared, and how the questions are asked, to make the exam seem less daunting, and more like a puzzle to be solved.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
By reminding them that almost every student taking the exam has been through the same difficulties and stresses, and that by making sessions challenging and thoughtful, it will make the exam seem less like an event, and more like another practice session. Having that kind of confidence leading up to an exam creates motivation.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would break it down into its constituent pieces until each individual section was solvable enough to amount to a cohesive whole. It's my belief that any question can be answered on an exam; it's only the time limit that proves to be a major barrier. Once the concept is learning, it's primarily drill work and difficult example questions until a particular topic is so thoroughly covered that doing it feels like muscle memory.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I would understand the nature of the problem first. If it's a language issue, I have a background in teaching English to non-native speakers, so I would use tactics of breaking down passages, sometimes sentence by sentence, to reach a level of basic comprehension. For native speakers, I would again focus on test strategy rather than the confusing, often florid language in certain passages. To do this, I teach practices of underlining and highlighting to focus on paragraph structure and message.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I try and tailor each session to a student's needs and to what works best for each individual student. Some students learn through pre-prepared flashcards for more verbal challenges, and others prefer simply working through as many practice problems as possible.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
After the explanation of a particular concept, I would give the student a number of practice problems with differing levels of difficulty. If the student wasn't able to answer all the questions, or still seemed to be struggling with the concept, I would re-explain the concept and try again with different practice questions.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Through practice under timed situations. I believe that if having a tutoring session be as difficult, if not more so, than the actual exam will make students much more comfortable when exam time comes.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
For test prep, I start off with a number of different practice assessments and see where the problems areas are. For general subject comprehension, I will usually give the student practice problems from their textbook, not only covering areas that they believe they are weak in, but also areas they feel they are their strengths, to get a baseline understanding of the student's area of knowledge.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I try to be as adaptable as possible, and will generally switch up an approach if I see that it's not building knowledge within a student. If simply working through practice problems does not help a student before more confident in a subject, then I will usually focus on subject comprehension until the more abstract ideas become firmly founded within the student.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I will bring with me practice problems, flashcards, my own passages (for reading comprehension and vocabulary tutoring), and further resources for the student to read prior to our next session.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I focus on the excitement of being able to answer a challenging question. My goal is to make difficult concepts seem rewarding rather than daunting.