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I went to college at NYU Abu Dhabi, the world's honors college, where I obtained a Bachelor of Arts in psychology, and I attended high school in New Hampshire at Phillips Exeter Academy. I'm currently applying for medical schools and hope to matriculate in the fall of 2017.
I tutor a broad range of high school and college subjects, but my favorites by far are Spanish and chemistry. I started studying Spanish when I was 10 years old, and fell in love with the idea that suddenly I could communicate with a whole other community of people. Since becoming fluent in Spanish, I've continued to pursue my love of languages by studying Arabic and Mandarin Chinese in school, as well as picking up German from my Austrian family and French from my travels. I'm currently teaching myself Russian with the online learning software Duolingo.
Chemistry has always been my favorite of the three core sciences, as it's more concretely observable than much of modern physics, but more connected to underlying physical principles than biology. My approach to teaching chemistry is to always keep in mind its connection to the other sciences, which can facilitate a better grasp on many chemical concepts.
My approach to tutoring is based in the Harkness philosophy of teaching, which gives a great deal of responsibility to the student to figure things out. I will make sessions as interactive as possible, using as many non-academic resources as I can in order to help students think of subjects as life skills rather than material they must know for a test. I want students to be motivated to learn for the sake of learning something new, rather than simply to pass a test.

When I'm not tutoring or writing my medical school applications, I enjoy teaching myself new languages and reading works by authors such as Haruki Murakami, Ernest Hemingway, and James Joyce. I also love to travel whenever I get the chance, and most recently have visited Ireland, Norway, and Austria.

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Robert’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: New York University - Bachelors, Psychology

Test Scores

SAT Composite (1600 scale): 1550

SAT Math: 800

SAT Verbal: 700

SAT Writing: 770


I love to learn new languages, as well as read works of classic and modern literature such as "For Whom the Bell Tolls" and "Kafka on the Shore". In Chicago, I'm always looking to try new restaurants and get off the beaten path (especially south of 20th Street!)

Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

I think learning should be fun, no matter how difficult the subject matter. By giving quirky examples or strange mnemonics that stay in students' heads, I can get them more engaged in the topic and motivate them to do the hard work of wrapping their mind around a difficult problem.

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

The first ten minutes or so would be wholly unrelated to the academic subject. I would make an effort to get to know the student and their background, and let them know whatever they want to know about me (within reason, of course). A tutoring session shouldn't feel like a chore or a lecture, so it's important to develop this rapport. I would then move on to the material, going over the course syllabus or test-prep material with the student and figuring out some key points of difficulty to work on over the course of the tutoring sessions. We would then delve into the topic, so I could see how the student works.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

This really depends on the subject. For languages, it's a matter of getting the student to think of the language as a life tool, not just an academic subject, so this means giving them newspaper articles or translated sections of their favorite books to read as practice. In math and science, word problems force students to think of the subjects in real-world terms, not just as formulae from a page in a textbook; I would provide as extensive a formula sheet as possible for reference during sessions, so that the student is thinking about what information is relevant and how to apply those formulae to solve the problem. The goal should be solving problems, not memorizing formulae!

How would you help a student stay motivated?

I will do my best to get students to think of what they're learning as skills in a toolset that they can use later in life, rather than simply facts they must learn for a test. Even when preparing students for standardized tests, I will not be teaching TO the tests, but rather teaching the material contained within them. This means getting students to think critically about causal relationships on history and social science tests; to think about math and science problems as individual examples of broader categories of problems and then think about how to solve them in the specific given context, and to grasp the overall meaning of a passage on a language test instead of fretting about what each individual word means.

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

I would help them approach it from a different angle, particularly trying to think about that concept in a real-world setting, rather than a cut-and-paste textbook example. If they're still having difficulty, we can move on to the next section and come back to that concept later on in the tutoring session.

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