Hi! My name's Tommy. I recently graduated from medical school and am currently in between finishing school and entering residency. I've been tutoring all my life and am excited to continue with Varsity Tutors!
I specialize in most Math and Science subjects, as well as subjects directly related to medical school and of course the MCAT. I've always enjoyed learning and don't think any subject is too difficult to learn for anybody. If you're struggling don't be discouraged!
I'm also comfortable teaching Spanish up to a high school level. I have lived in Spanish speaking countries long enough to feel comfortable with my conversational skills. I'm hoping to reach complete fluency one day.
My interests in academia are very broad, beyond my strongest subjects. I love Philosophy and majored in Religious Studies at Rice University (with a focus in early/gnostic Christianity and Buddhism). In my spare time, I work on music (currently focused on learning Ableton) and explore games, everything from chess and poker to video games and tabletop RPGs. I'd love to discuss these subjects as well if you're curious!
Good luck on your studies! I'm confident that if you've already come this far, then success is within your reach :D
Undergraduate Degree: Rice University - Bachelors, Religious Studies
Graduate Degree: The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Medical School - PHD, MD
MCAT Biological Sciences: 11
MCAT Physical Sciences: 13
Music, Chess (and other games), Traveling
Anatomy & Physiology
High School Biology
High School Business
High School Economics
High School Physics
What is your teaching philosophy?
Overcoming internal obstacles is often the more difficult challenge obstructing our success rather than the subject itself.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Isolate areas of desired improvement and target goals, then create an overall strategy to meet those goals.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Focus on the learning process in addition to the subject material in question.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Stay positive! Learning shouldn't be a negative experience, but the results oriented environment of most educational settings is often discouraging.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Slow the process down a bit and look for new angles to approach the problem. Sometimes relaxing for a moment allows us to make the best discoveries!
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Slow down! We're often rushed through our education, which can really hurt our total understanding in the long run. Students might feel like they are making a mistake going too slowly, so it's important to encourage the right pace!
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Getting to know the student better, so we can find a personalized way to relate to the material rather than having it dry and out of context.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Find something that they are already excited about and relate the material to that!
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
After a lesson, I will let the student try tackling a problem on their own and see if they are able to apply what they have learned properly. This will also help me localize the obstacles to their success.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Stay positive and encouraging! It is very easy for a student to slip into self-defeat, and this attitude can often be the main obstacle for them. Do not let the student identify with failure!
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
In our first session when we discuss goals, I will have a conversation with the student to glean his or her needs in a broad sense. As we begin to go through problems, I pay attention to their problem solving process and look for any weaknesses to identify their needs more precisely.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I have a wide variety of resources available and keep them in mind during a session to look for spots where a certain resource might be useful.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
The question banks provided by the online tutor platform, the whiteboard, and various online educational sites.