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Hello! My name is Olivia Nelson and I am a sophomore at Boston College. I began tutoring as a high school freshmen in Algebra I and basic math skills, and have since added more subjects to that list. I have been working for Varsity Tutors for the past 10 months. As a member of the National Honor Society at my high school, I tutored my peers and underclassmen throughout my Senior year. I mostly focus on ACT tutoring in Math and Science, but am available for the other areas as well. As a Biology major and Economics minor at Boston College, I am well versed in different mathematical areas, such as Algebra I/II, Pre Algebra, Pre Calculus, and Calculus.

I strongly believe the best teaching method for a student is through practice. With each new topic, strategies and basic skills will be reviewed and many practice problems will be solved. Familiarity and comfort is key to success, especially with standardized testing and math problems.

Besides tutoring, I love to run, ski, and spend time with my family at the beach. I have a seven-year-old Lhasa Apso dog who I absolutely adore. I love the summertime and being outside! I am compassionate, understanding, and very outgoing. I am willing to answer any questions you have and will find the perfect technique for you to understand some of the challenging topics that surround math, science, and ACT testing. As a student myself, I know how confusing teachers sometimes get in the classroom, and I believe it is my job to make that confusion disappear! Thanks!

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Olivia’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Boston University - Current Undergrad, Biology, General

Test Scores

ACT Composite: 33

ACT English: 33

ACT Math: 34

ACT Reading: 31

ACT Science: 35


Spin Classes, Reading, Skiing, Spending Time with Friends and Family, Going to the Beach, Dogs

Tutoring Subjects

ACT Prep

ACT English

ACT Math

ACT Reading

ACT Science


Algebra 2


College Algebra

Discrete Math

Elementary School

Elementary School Math

Elementary School Reading

Elementary School Science

Elementary School Writing




Middle School Math

Middle School Science






Spanish 1

Spelling Bee

Test Prep

Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

I believe the best teachers have the most hard-working students. I have an immense amounts of test-taking strategies and study tips that will help the student, but in the end, they must practice. My philosophy is that "practice takes the prize." The ACT tests are similar every month, so the more familiar one is with the test, the more success they will have.

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

The first time I meet with someone for an ACT tutoring session, we do one section from the Math portion and one section from the English portion. This allows me to see where the student is at academically and allows me to create an appropriate lesson plan and study schedule going forward.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

I help a student become an independent learner through practice. My teaching philosophy resonates around practicing, and I believe with enough hard work and my rigorous guidance, a student will naturally learn how to work independently. The ACT test is obviously taken solo, so this is an extremely important skill.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

I love keeping a student motivated by showing them their improvements. When a student sees how far they have come from a given point, they tend to know how much further they can go. I also show them the scores required to get into their dream colleges, which shows the student how much their hard work can pay off.

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

If a student has difficulty learning a new skill or concept, I always try to go about it in a different way. I break down the steps further, show numerous other examples, and have the student practice independently. If this fails, I take a break from the topic and move on until the next session. Typically, difficult skills need some time to sink in. I will also provide worksheets and fact sheets that provide practice and tips about the skill set.

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

If a student is struggling with reading comprehension, I remove the pressure of the timer. When a student knows they have an unlimited time to read a passage, they tend to understand the material much better. Over time, I will add the timer and begin decreasing the amount of time they have. I also will have struggling students read the passages aloud. This has helped students numerous times in the past. I will then ask them my own questions about the main idea and central theme. When we have a discussion about the material, it relieves the pressure that comes with test-taking. Eventually, we will get back to the test-taking strategies once a foundation is properly laid.

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

When I start working with a student, I feel the most successful strategy is conducting full length practice tests. Then we break down each section individually and work on specific skills. This shows them the big picture, and then how important each individual section is to attain that final goal.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I evaluate a student's needs by giving them a full length test or individual sections of an ACT test. After seeing their score, I can create a proper study schedule and work with the student and parent to attain the best, individualized results.

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

After giving a student a full-length test, I can clearly see what areas he or she needs improvement in. I will focus on these sections for most of the tutoring time, but will also make sure to continue working at the sections the student excels in. It is all about balance.

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

I always use full-length tests or sections of a full-length test. I will provide a calculator if necessary as well.

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