I'm planning on applying to PHD programs in media studies soon. I have been in love with learning all my life, and I hope to be a professor one day. In the meantime, when I am free, I spend a lot of time reading, learning french and watching films. I also like to travel whenever possible, and my favorite cities are Istanbul and Paris. I do my best to maintain a friendly, yet disciplined, tutoring style. I know learning can be hard, but it can also be enjoyable, and there is nothing quite like the feeling of being masterful over what was once obscure.
Undergraduate Degree: Oberlin College - Bachelors, Mathematics
GRE Quantitative: 167
GRE Verbal: 165
Literature, film and Philosophy. I'm also learning a second language, and writing a script.
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe the best way to succeed on a standardized test is to understand the nature of the questions. For example, questions on reading comprehension are designed to be objective in a way which we do not typically associate with interpretation. Understanding the test goes a long way towards getting a good score.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
First I would attempt to learn the student’s current aptitude, likely by reviewing a practice test. Once I have a good sense of where the student's weaknesses lie, I will then cover test-taking strategies for those weaknesses, as well as provide suggestions for studying the material.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
It is important that we spend time during the session going over how the student has been studying. I can then recommend strategies to improve their learning while studying alone.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Remind them that they are smart enough! These tests are intimidating and often counter-intuitive, but understanding them goes a long way to bringing confidence. It will take time, but the effort pays off.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would walk through several example problems on the topic, progressively giving more responsibility to the student to solve it without my help. I would encourage them to write out their thoughts as they occur, and to focus on the topic when studying alone.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Reading comprehension sections are designed to be objective; to have a correct answer. First and foremost, I would recommend a much more literal outlook on the text than they may be used to. Important test-taking techniques for this section include: looking for synonyms, identifying key sentences, and identifying arguments.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Keeping a friendly atmosphere and making jokes helps studying feel less stressful. Having fun is beneficial, as long as we stay on topic.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Turning a problem set into a game is a great technique. The student can reward themselves in some way for taking the time to go through extra problems. Gold stars may not work anymore, but candy or a walk through the park may.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I would cover individual practice problems while letting the student take the lead. Also, if they are willing to take practice tests while studying alone, they can help me keep track of their progress by showing me their results.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Positive reinforcement is simple, yet effective. The student’s brain may be telling them that they cannot do it, but to hear enough times that they can, from someone else, can be a great help.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
The first step is to speak with the student. Do they have any particular or unusual needs? They will likely know. Communication should not be underrated.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I bring a notebook, a pen and a test-prep book on the subject. I can also bring my laptop so we can review the online materiel provided by the tutoring company.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I adapt based on the student’s attitude towards the test. There are students who fear the test, who are excited to beat it, or who forget about it at the drop of a hat. Each different attitude requires a different counterbalance from me as tutor.