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m Mikie (My Key). I have been tutoring biology since 2015. I earned my Biology MA from Hunter College in 2023. Before this, I graduated with a Biology BA from UC Berkeley and have took continuing education courses in human anatomy and human physiology as well as medical level courses in biochemistry, pathophysiology, and pharmacology. I currently teach A&P lab and recitation at a university. I have been working for Varsity Tutors since 2015. In 2020, I had the pleasure to teach over 100 high school biology students at a school in New York City as a high long-term substitute biology teacher. I have dedicated much of my life to helping others, having been a part of hospitals, a non-profit organization for bird of prey rehabilitation, and a college learning resource center. The areas I tutor are biology, microbiology, anatomy, and physiology. These include honors biology, AP Biology, and IB Biology HL. I will sometimes accept tutoring requests of other biology subjects if I have taken them myself. Of all of these subjects, I most enjoy tutoring physiology because I find how the body functions extremely interesting and there are numerous medical applications to the field. I can tutor Survey of Natural Science Biology from the OAT and biology from the MCAT. I do not tutor NBEO. I cater mainly to visual-auditory learners because I tend to organize information into simple charts and diagrams sometimes, I even draw out processes. If you stick around the extra half hour, I may have time to test you with and go over practice problems. I firmly believe patience, practice, and persistence contribute to a more effective style of learning. My goal is teach college-level biological science courses as a long-term career.

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Michael’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: University of California-Berkeley - Bachelors, Integrative Biology

Graduate Degree: SUNY College of Optometry - Doctor of Optometry, Optometry


Drawing, painting, hiking, biking, board and video games, cats, and spending time doing fun activities with my girlfriend and friends

Tutoring Subjects


AP Biology


College Biology

Graduate Test Prep

High School Biology

IB Biology

IB Biology HL


OAT Survey of Natural Sciences



Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

As a Socratic tutor, I have students tell me what they know from their lecture or readings and help them fill in the gaps with tables, charts, and diagrams. I then have students try some critical thinking problems and work their way through their explanation as to why they think the answer is what they chose. I then praise them for their attempt and correct them if they do not quite understand the concept.

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

I ask the students what specific areas of the course they are having trouble with and then have them tell me what they do know conceptually. The more specific the students are, the better I am able to help them. I would then tell them about organization methods and useful online resources that will boost their understanding and continue working with the student until he or she grasps the subject matter well enough to move onto the next concepts.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

I emphasize the importance of organizing notes, making summaries, taking practice exams, finding multiple online resources, and having the students explain to me what they have learned.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

I would emphasize the importance of biological sciences and critical thinking to real life scenarios such as being a doctor, nurse, veterinarian, optometrist, or other medical professional. In addition, the better prepared the students are now for these courses, the better they will do in universities or graduate schools.

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

I break the skill or concept into smaller pieces and I help them visualize the concepts with tables, charts, or diagrams. After this, I would ask the student to explain to me what he or she learned and then test her with a few questions to see if the concept is truly understood. If not, I would review again and repeat. Repetition and practice help students learn better.

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

Previewing the chapter contents would be beneficial, perhaps making a list of concepts that will be covered and looking at key points. I’d also suggest students highlight or underline in their book if possible, or take notes on the subject on a separate piece of paper. Then, I would suggest looking at the chapter summaries and practice questions.

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

Repetition and practice are the most successful strategies I have found. The more students hear the concepts and the more practice they have with the concepts, the more they will understand the material. In addition I have made practice exams to test their understanding and reviewed the answers with elaborate explanations to boost their understanding.

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

I would tell the students that biology is such an exciting and interesting subject. Physiology makes them responsible for living and breathing in the natural world. Introducing humor into the subjects would also help.

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

I would have the student tell me what they know so far, I would fill in the gaps, and then I would have the student explain again using charts, tables, and diagrams. Finally, I would test their knowledge with practice problems and ask them to explain their choices. If the material still hasn't sunk in, I would ask the student to consult some online resources such as YouTube videos and then test the student again at the next session. Again, repetition and practice are my best strategies.

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

I would use positive reinforcement, rewarding the student for what he/she does know and praising him/her for their attempts before correcting them if he/she did not quite understand the material. I would say, "You know this. It is a matter of practice and believing in yourself."

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I ask the students what areas they need help with. If there was a diagnostic test or a past exam, I could review it and see the areas in which the students struggle.

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

I ask the students how they best learn material. I tell them I am a visual and auditory learner and ask them if they are the same way. If they learn through stories or humor, then I try to apply that to my tutoring style.

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

I always use a blank paper and writing utensils, or a whiteboard, markers, and erasers. Occasionally, I have students try to fill out "worksheets" or take their own notes and explain to me what they know before and after the session with questions I make up on the spot.

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