A photo of Vania, a tutor from Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Vania

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I recently graduated from MIT with my B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering with a double major in Music, while completing the pre-health track. I have been tutoring college level physics, biology, multivariable calculus, and organic chemistry for the past four years. I have also helped high school students prepare for the SAT and ACT. I am an avid classical pianist, EMT, swimmer, and tinkerer. I love explaining things and paying forward my knowledge to those around me!

Vania’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Massachusetts Institute of Technology - Bachelors, Mechanical Engineering

Test Scores

SAT Composite: 2380

SAT Math: 800

SAT Verbal: 780

SAT Writing: 800

Hobbies

Classical Music, Piano, Swimming, Mechanical Engineering, Medical Devices, 3D Printing, Audio Engineering


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

It is the job of the tutor to individualize explanations for each student. I strive to find a way for students to really understand the concept so that applications to problem solving become second nature.

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

I would like to get some background as to what the student knows, doesn't know, and their problem solving/studying habits through some different practice problems.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Teach the concepts well to have a solid foundation in problem solving. Once students realize the benefits of having a solid foundation, they start taking the initiative to build that foundation for future lessons/subjects.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Set short term and long-term goals for the students. If they are doing well, they will be told so, if they are not, they will be encouraged to do better in order to meet their goals.

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

Explain the concept/skill in a different way, actually go through an application of the concept and see what is not making sense, or ask the student to explain what they understand thus far in their own words.

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

A lot of reading comprehension issues are due to concentration issues. Active reading, or underlining and taking notes while reading passages, is a good first step towards narrowing down the issue with reading comprehension.

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

Once the concepts are taught, doing lots of drills with practice problems is the best way to improve understanding and performance.

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

I would give as many real life examples as possible about the given subject. Sometimes helping students realize that the subject/skill that they are learning will be a useful in the future helps them get engaged and have a healthy view towards learning.

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

I would have them teach the material back to me. If there are holes in their understanding, then this is a sure method by which issues can be discovered.

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

It's like with any new skill. You help solve problems with them, go over in detail how you solved it, and then have them try it on their own. Confidence is built with good coaching and identifying misunderstandings early.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I usually have them solve a couple of problems and go over them with me to determine their strengths, weaknesses, and learning style.

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

Learning is individualized, so in the first session I try to identify student needs and then adjust my teaching style accordingly (i.e. less/more talking, independent/coached problem solving, practice problems/concept problems, etc.).

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

I use a reference book, a book with practice problems, and an online whiteboard/screen share to look at the student's work as well as show my own work.