ESSAY, STEM, & SAT/ACT/MCAT TUTORING (in-person and/or online)

TUTORING METHODOLOGY (available formats:  in-person, on-line, or a hybrid)

My tutoring mission is to help students help themselves academically. The tutoring simulates pair study, but with an advantage: my content expertise & teaching experience enable me to ask students critical concept-revealing questions.  I then strategically guide the students through the study necessary for them to answer these questions.

Educational research, confirmed by my own experience as a student (I have 2 master’s degrees), has found that students learn best via

  • attempting to solve problems, followed by
  • checking  (done by another person) of the student's solutions against an answer key, followed by
  • each student's critically evaluating his/her own incorrect solutions, then studying accordingly, followed by
  • each student's re-attempting to solve the problems that he/she incorrectly answered initially

For STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math), these problems are from the students’ school course HW.  Of course I don’t give solutions, which would short-circuit students’ learning.  However, thanks to my content expertise & teaching experience, I do ask them critical concept-revealing questions.  I then strategically guide students through the study necessary for them to answer these questions.

I have found that most successful students of STEM use the following study procedure, which exploits the binary characteristic of the quantitative problems that STEM courses use as practice & HW. In other words, when a student attempts to solve a problem, upon inspection by the student when checking the Answer Key, the solution is clearly EITHER correct OR incorrect. There are no shades of gray.
The college student can thus use Problem-Solving as

  • an assessment of conceptual comprehension AND
  • a practice in applying the concepts AND
  • overall prep for the exams, upon which almost all of the college course’s grade is based

Here is a flow chart of this study procedure, as augmented by my tutoring: 












For Details of Stem Study Cycle,

please refer to same flow chart on  "for STEM: College Prep Summer Intensive" page

For SAT/ACT (Reading & Writing), the "problem solving" in the above flow chart is done on problems from SAT/ACT Practice Tests.  Likewise, I strategically coach the student in problem-solving strategies.​

I tutor 1-to-1 in-person, but I also tutor 1-to-1 online.

In fact, combining my pedagogic experience with online programs that are already available, I’ve developed an effective – and efficient – tutoring hybrid in which sessions covering certain content are tutored in-person, whereas sessions covering content more amenable to independent study are covered via online sessions.

For online tutoring sessions, I use a communications program that allows me to

  • e-conference
  • share documents & internet sites on screen                                                                                                                       (using my iPad & stylus, I can also mark up our shared screen while lecturing)
  • record                                                                                                                                                                                   (students sometimes wish to refer back to these sessions)
  • review the school course's textbook, notes, and/or HW
  • supplement transcribed online lectures from another online program I’ve found that augments independent study


SAT/ACT MATH

THANKS TO MY PHYSICS BACKGROUND, I REGULARLY USE MATH AS A TOOL.  MY SAT/ACT MATH METHOD IS BASED UPON STUDENTS SOLVING PROBLEMS IN SUCH A WAY THAT THEY METHODICALLY LEARN FROM THEIR MISTAKES.
THOUGH I'VE SINCE EARNED A MASTER'S IN EDUCATION, I INITIALLY DEVELOPED THIS LEARN-FROM-YOUR-MISTAKES METHOD MYSELF AS A PHYSICS STUDENT IN COLLEGE. I'VE SINCE FOUND THAT OTHER SUCCESSFUL COLLEGE STUDENTS DEVELOPED THIS METHOD FOR THEMSELVES, AS WELL.
THE METHOD’S SPECIFICS:

  1. STUDENTS 1ST TAKE A DIAGNOSTIC TEST (DT), IDENTIFYING THEIR MATH WEAKNESSES.
  2. IF DT INDICATES WEAK SKILLS, FURTHER ASSESSMENT TESTING IS DONE.
  3. ACCORDINGLY THEY STUDY AND PRACTICE IN A MATH WORKBOOK. INITIALLY THIS IS DONE IN TUTORING SESSIONS, IN WHICH I SERVE AS AN ACADEMIC COACH. (IN THE EDUCATION BIZ, THIS IS CALLED "SCAFFOLDING".)
  4. SOON, HOWEVER, STUDENTS ALSO DO THIS STUDY/PRACTICE THEMSELVES DURING INDEPENDENT STUDY BETWEEN SESSIONS. DURING THE SESSION THAT FOLLOWS AN INDEPENDENT STUDY, I REVIEW ONLY THE PROBLEMS WITH WHICH THE STUDENT HAD DIFFICULTY. OUR TIME IS THUS USED MOST EFFICIENTLY.  MOREOVER, DURING THESE SESSIONS, IN THE CONTEXT OF REVIEWING THESE DIFFICULT PROBLEMS, I ALSO INTRODUCE TEST-TAKING STRATEGIES.
  5. NEXT, THIS LEARN-FROM-YOUR-MISTAKES PROCESS, WHICH I MERELY COACH, IS APPLIED BEYOND THE WORKBOOK. IT IS APPLIED TO THE MATH SECTIONS OF PRACTICE TESTS.


SAT/ACT READING
AS THE SENIOR DEVELOPER OF SAT PREP FOR A SHENZHEN (CHINA) FIRM THAT GUIDES HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS THROUGH THE PROCESS OF SELECTING AND APPLYING TO US COLLEGES, MY SAT PREP READING FOCUS IS ON PROBLEM-SOLVING STRATEGIES. MOST OF MY SAT PREP METHODS, INCLUDING MY READING PREP METHOD, ARE BASED UPON STUDENTS SOLVING PROBLEMS IN SUCH A WAY THAT THEY METHODICALLY LEARN FROM THEIR MISTAKES.
THOUGH I'VE SINCE EARNED A MASTER'S IN EDUCATION, I INITIALLY DEVELOPED THIS LEARN-FROM-YOUR-MISTAKES METHOD MYSELF AS A COLLEGE STUDENT. I'VE SINCE FOUND THAT OTHER SUCCESSFUL COLLEGE STUDENTS DEVELOPED THIS METHOD FOR THEMSELVES, AS WELL.
THE METHOD’S SPECIFICS (similar to those for Math):

  1. STUDENTS 1ST TAKE A DIAGNOSTIC TEST, IDENTIFYING THEIR READING WEAKNESSES.
  2. ACCORDINGLY THEY STUDY AND PRACTICE IN A READING WORKBOOK. INITIALLY THIS IS DONE IN TUTORING SESSIONS, IN WHICH I SERVE AS AN ACADEMIC COACH. (IN THE EDUCATION BIZ, THIS IS CALLED "SCAFFOLDING".)
  3. SOON, HOWEVER, STUDENTS ALSO DO THIS STUDY/PRACTICE THEMSELVES DURING INDEPENDENT STUDY BETWEEN SESSIONS. DURING THE SESSION THAT FOLLOWS AN INDEPENDENT STUDY, I REVIEW ONLY THE PROBLEMS WITH WHICH THE STUDENT HAD DIFFICULTY. OUR TIME IS THUS USED MOST EFFICIENTLY.  MOREOVER, DURING THESE SESSIONS, IN THE CONTEXT OF REVIEWING THESE DIFFICULT PROBLEMS, I ALSO INTRODUCE TEST-TAKING STRATEGIES.
  4. NEXT, THIS LEARN-FROM-YOUR-MISTAKES PROCESS, WHICH I MERELY COACH, IS APPLIED BEYOND THE WORKBOOK. IT IS APPLIED TO THE READING SECTIONS OF PRACTICE TESTS.


SAT WRITING&LANGUAGE / ACT ENGLISH
SAT WRITING&LANGUAGE, AS WELL AS ACT ENGLISH, ESSENTIALLY TESTS SKILLS IN EDITING.  IMPROVEMENTS IN PASSAGES' GRAMMAR & STYLE ARE SOUGHT.  THE DEPTH OF STUDY NECESSARY DEPENDS UPON AN OBJECTIVE ASSESSMENT OF YOUR PERFORMANCE ON A RELATIVELY BRIEF PRE-TEST THAT I REQUEST YOU TAKE PRIOR TO THIS COURSE.
THE METHOD FOR THE GRAMMAR COMPONENT IS SIMILAR TO THAT DESCRIBED ABOVE FOR THE READING COMPONENT: PROBLEM-SOLVING STRATEGIES ARE DEVELOPED BETWEEN SESSIONS VIA AN SAT PREP TEXT, BUT PRACTICED - AND AUGMENTED - UNDER MY EXPERT GUIDANCE IN A WORKBOOK DURING SESSIONS.

SAT WRITING ("OPTIONAL" ESSAY) / ACT WRITING
THE STRUCTURE OF THE ACT ESSAY IS SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT THAN THAT OF THE SAT ESSAY.   MOREOVER, A HIGH-SCORING SAT/ACT ESSAY IS NOT SIMPLY LIKE A WELL-WRITTEN STANDARD ESSAY. HENCE, STRATEGIES FOR WRITING SAT/ACT ESSAYS ARE NOT THE SAME AS METHODS FOR WRITING STANDARD ESSAYS. AGAIN, USING AN SAT OR ACT PREP TEXT, STRATEGIES FOR WRITING THE ESSAY ARE DEVELOPED. BETWEEN SESSIONS & DURING SESSIONS (I.E. UNDER MY DIRECT GUIDANCE & REVIEW), THE STUDENT WILL PRACTICE THESE STRATEGIES.

ACT SCIENCE
THOUGH I ALSO TUTOR SCIENCES AT ALL LEVELS (INCLUDING COLLEGE), THE ACT SCIENCE TEST DOES NOT TEST THE STUDENT'S KNOWLEDGE OF SCIENCE. RATHER, IT COMBINES READING COMPREHENSION, REASONING, & ANALYSIS OF GRAPHS. MOST OF MY ACT PREP METHODS, INCLUDING MY ACT SCIENCE PREP METHOD, ARE BASED UPON STUDENTS SOLVING PROBLEMS IN SUCH A WAY THAT THEY METHODICALLY LEARN FROM THEIR MISTAKES.
THOUGH I'VE SINCE EARNED A MASTER'S IN EDUCATION (SPECIALIZATION = HIGH SCHOOL SCIENCE TEACHING), I INITIALLY DEVELOPED THIS LEARN-FROM-YOUR-MISTAKES METHOD MYSELF AS A PHYSICS STUDENT IN COLLEGE. I'VE SINCE FOUND THAT OTHER SUCCESSFUL COLLEGE STUDENTS DEVELOPED THIS METHOD FOR THEMSELVES, AS WELL.
THE METHOD’S SPECIFICS: STUDENTS FIRST TAKE A DIAGNOSTIC TEST, IDENTIFYING THEIR READING WEAKNESSES. AFTERWARD THEY STUDY AND PRACTICE IN AN ACT SCIENCE WORKBOOK. INITIALLY THIS IS DONE IN TUTORING SESSIONS, IN WHICH I SERVE AS AN ACADEMIC COACH. (IN THE EDUCATION BIZ, THIS IS CALLED "SCAFFOLDING.") SOON, HOWEVER, STUDENTS ALSO DO THIS STUDY/PRACTICE THEMSELVES DURING INDEPENDENT STUDY BETWEEN SESSIONS. DURING THE SESSION THAT FOLLOWS AN INDEPENDENT STUDY, I REVIEW ONLY THE PROBLEMS WITH WHICH THE STUDENT HAD DIFFICULTY. OUR TIME IS THUS USED MOST EFFICIENTLY.
MOREOVER, DURING THESE SESSIONS, IN THE CONTEXT OF REVIEWING THESE DIFFICULT PROBLEMS, I ALSO INTRODUCE TEST-TAKING STRATEGIES.
NEXT, THIS LEARN-FROM-YOUR-MISTAKES PROCESS, WHICH I MERELY COACH, IS APPLIED BEYOND THE WORKBOOK. IT IS APPLIED TO THE SCIENCE SECTIONS OF ACT PRACTICE TESTS.

OVERVIEW OF TUTORING METHODS FOR SCIENCE & MATH (ESPECIALLY AP & COLLEGE)
MY TUTORING FACILITATES COORDINATED STUDY OF THE COURSE TEXTBOOK W/ BOTH A PREP BOOK FOR THE EXAM (FOR SATII OR AP PREP) AND STUDENTS' CLASS NOTES. SIMULTANEOUSLY, THE TUTORING INTEGRATES PROBLEM-SOLVING AND THE CONCEPT-MASTERY IT REQUIRES. THE STRUCTURE OF THIS TUTORING/STUDYING ENABLES STUDENTS TO SIMULTANEOUSLY ENHANCE, ASSESS, AND APPLY THEIR OWN UNDERSTANDING. I STRONGLY SUGGEST SUCH AN INTENSIVE STUDY DURING THE WINTER BREAK. FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR, YOUR STUDENT WILL CONTINUE @ A LOWER INTENSITY W/ THIS INDEPENDENT STUDY. AS YOU WISH, I WILL CONTINUE TO HELP IN THIS INDEPENDENT STUDY. IT IS CRUCIAL TO THE STUDENT’S LEARNING THAT THE STUDY BE INDEPENDENT, HOWEVER. I WOULD BE JUST A GUIDE AND OFFER HINTS.

FOR PHYSICS, CHEMISTRY, & MATH,

I’VE FOUND THE MOST EFFECTIVE TUTORING METHOD, AND EFFICIENT USE OF TUTORING SESSION TIME, TO BE GUIDING STUDENTS' OWN SOLVING OF QUANTITATIVE PROBLEMS. THIS HELPS STUDENTS OVER CONCEPTUAL HURDLES THAT TRIPPED THEM UP WHEN THEY ATTEMPTED TO SOLVE PROBLEMS ASSIGNED IN THEIR SCHOOL COURSE. SUCH GUIDED INDEPENDENT STUDY VIA GUIDED PROBLEM-SOLVING IS THUS THE CORE OF MY PHYSICS, CHEMISTRY, & MATH TUTORING.

FOR BIOLOGY,

WHICH HAS FEW QUANTITATIVE PROBLEMS, I'VE FOUND THE MOST EFFECTIVE TUTORING METHOD TO BE BIFURCATED, REQUIRING 2 MODES OF STUDY:
1. ACQUISITION (MOSTLY THROUGH READING OF THE BIOLOGY TEXT WHILE I POSE STRATEGIC QUESTIONS)
AND
2. QUALITY-CHECK OF STUDY (MOSTLY THROUGH ANSWERING MULTIPLE CHOICE QUESTIONS USING MY "HONESTY METHOD" AND ANSWERING INTERACTIVE QUESTIONS IN A STUDY GUIDE)

FOR THE AP SCIENCE/CALCULUS EXAM,

THE ABOVE METHODS PREP STUDENTS FOR THE AP EXAM'S FRQ SECTION.  DURING SPRING BREAK, AND UNTIL THE AP EXAM, MY TUTORING ALSO PREPS STUDENTS FOR THE MULTIPLE CHOICE SECTION OF THE AP EXAM, FOR WHICH THE CONCEPTUAL FOUNDATION ENHANCED ABOVE IS NECESSARY BUT NOT SUFFICIENT. THE CONCEPTUAL FOUNDATION IS INSUFFICIENT BECAUSE TEST TIME IS LIMITED. THUS, DURING SPRING BREAK, MY TUTORING CONCENTRATES ON PRACTICING STRATEGIES FOR ANSWERING MULTIPLE CHOICE QUESTIONS.  FOR BIOLOGY, MY STUDENTS ALSO PRACTICE WRITING THE ESSAY. (AGAIN, THE CONCEPTUAL FOUNDATION ENHANCED PRIOR TO SPRING BREAK IS NECESSARY BUT NOT SUFFICIENT FOR THE ESSAY.)

AP BIOLOGY SPECIFICS
I TEACH ALL LEVELS OF BIOLOGY, INCLUDING AP BIOLOGY (I.E. COLLEGE BIO TAUGHT IN HIGH SCHOOL).
FOR AP BIOLOGY SESSIONS PRIOR TO SPRING BREAK, I CONCENTRATE ON CONCEPTS, USING 2 MODES OF STUDY:
1. ACQUISITION (MOSTLY THROUGH READING OF THE AP TEXT WHILE I POSE STRATEGIC QUESTIONS)
AND
2. QUALITY-CHECK OF STUDY (MOSTLY THROUGH ANSWERING MULTIPLE CHOICE QUESTIONS USING MY "HONESTY METHOD" AND ANSWERING INTERACTIVE QUESTIONS IN A STUDY GUIDE)
DURING SPRING BREAK, AND UNTIL THE AP EXAM, I CONCENTRATE ON THE ESSAY AND PRACTICING STRATEGIES FOR ANSWERING MULTIPLE CHOICE QUESTIONS.

AP CHEMISTRY & AP PHYSICS SPECIFICS
I TEACH ALL LEVELS OF CHEMISTRY & PHYSICS, INCLUDING AP (I.E., COLLEGE 1ST YEAR LEVEL TAUGHT IN HIGH SCHOOL).
THE METHODS AND SCHEDULE THAT I USE TO TUTOR PHYSICS ARE SIMILAR TO THOSE USED FOR THE OTHERSCIENCE I TUTOR THAT IS BASED ON QUANTITATIVE HW PROBLEMS: CHEMISTRY.
HENCE, FOR AP CHEMISTRY/PHYSICS SESSIONS PRIOR TO SPRING BREAK, I CONCENTRATE ON CONCEPTS, USING PROBLEM-SOLVING AS THE CONTEXT FOR DEEPER STUDY.
THROUGH THE SOLVING OF PROBLEMS, AND THE ASSOCIATED STUDY REQUIRED, STUDENTS SIMULTANEOUSLY

  • APPLY CONCEPTS
  • ASSESS THEIR UNDERSTANDING OF CONCEPTS
  • REVIEW CONCEPTS AS NECESSARY

DURING SPRING BREAK, THROUGH UNTIL THE AP EXAM, I CONCENTRATE ON TEST-TAKING STRATEGIES & PRACTICE FOR THE MULTIPLE CHOICE (MC) SECTION OF THE AP EXAM.  THE CALCULATOR BAN FOR THE MC SECTION LIMITS THE TYPES OF QUESTIONS THAT CAN BE ASKED.  FOR PHYSICS,
THESE TYPES OF QUESTIONS HAVE INHERENT WEAKNESSES THAT THE STUDENT CAN EXPLOIT.