Are you looking for an expert math & standardized test tutor with 10+ years of experience? Someone who doesn't just teach the subject, but also the psychology of elite test-takers? Someone who doesn't just teach for one test, but also the process that allows for repeatable and continued success? My name is Randy, and I have been a tutor for over a decade, including 8 years as a top ACT & SAT tutor for Kaplan and 3 years as the designated SAT prep teacher for the Education Unlimited College P... [more]
Algebra I provides all the foundations for future Math courses: solving equations, isolating variables, understanding functions, etc. Because the subject is so fundamental, I focus on building good Math habits that will serve the student in throughout high school, including properly copying a problem, clearly listing each step of the solution, and good organization and legibility.
Algebra 2 focuses on learning advanced functions like advanced quadratic, higher degree polynomial, exponential, & logarithmic functions. The key to mastering Algebra 2 is becoming familiar with the shapes of graphs, and knowing how the graphs evolve as we tinker with the different aspects of each function.
Calculus is a challenging subject, even for experts. The key to mastering Calculus is to properly "clean up" problems with the appropriate substitutions and cancellations. I scored 5's on both the AP Calculus AB & BC tests, and excelled in my engineering math courses at UCLA.
Geometry can be challenging for students because: A) It introduces proofs, which require more writing than in other Math classes, and B) It adds shapes and other two-dimensional figures which require spatial thinking that is not exercised as greatly in other Math classes. The key to Geometry is to understand both how the theorems provide a gateway between Algebra & Geometry, and how to create Algebraic models off of Geometric figures.
Often considered the most challenging of the science classes, the key to mastering physics is to both create accurate diagrams and properly labeling variables. It's also important to understand the difference between diagrams that describe the "Net action" (which describe the physical result, or what one "sees") vs. those that describe the "Natural forces" (which describes the physical forces that contribute to the action).
Prealgebra provides the foundation for all high school math: Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, Precalculus, and Calculus. It's important to establish good math habits in this class early: learning how to define variables, writing out general equations, writing out each step when isolating a variable, etc. Mastering Prealgebra gives a student a great head start and the confidence to tackle more advanced Math.
Precalculus provides all the "mechanics" required for calculus. Often this subject is the most difficult for high school students, as it requires them to become familiar with Trigonometric functions, the unit circle, identities, and functions with discontinuities such as asymptotes & holes. While challenging, the students who manage to master the major themes of the subject and stay organized will have a tremendous advantage in navigating the nuances of calculus.
Trigonometry requires understanding right triangles, the unit circle, the six trigonometric functions (sin, cos, tan, csc, sec, & tan), and the shape of their graphs. Keys to mastering Trigonometry include accurately identifying how sin & cos provide the foundation for the other four functions, how to read & properly orient right triangles within the unit circle, and understanding the behavior of the sinusoidal curves.
With more than 8 years as an SAT Tutor, I have tutored many a student to higher math scores, including several to a 98+%ile. The key to excelling in SAT Math is to properly translate the word problems to math equations, and make sure all the information in a question is accounted for. Many errors in math are caused by simple misinterpretations of the problem or by missing basic calculations (i.e. forgetting a negative), so much of my work involves practicing simple yet effective habits to avoid silly mistakes.
With more than 8 years as an SAT Tutor, I have plenty of experience tutoring students to excellent scores, including some students to the 95%+ percentile. The key to excelling in SAT Reading is two-fold: 1) Find evidence in the passages quickly. Learning how to parse a passage, notate it, and bringing the evidence back to the questions is the key to mastering this section. 2) Using clues in the sentence completions to eliminate & eventually select the best answer. Often a student will run into a word that is unknown; the key is using the context that a student does know & using elimination strategies & understanding of roots, prefixes, & suffixes to select the best possible choice.
With more than 8 years as an SAT Tutor, I have plenty of experience tutoring students to excellent scores, including some students to the 95%+ percentile. The key to SAT Writing is two-fold: 1) For the multiple choice section, one must understand the mechanics of English. Which words need to match, what rules to understand, knowing relationships are the basis for a strong Writing score. 2) For the essay, one must know construct an argument with strong evidence in a 25 minute period. We will learn how to create a strong thesis, make an effective outline, & finally writing an impactful essay with a clear, thoughtful argument.
Mastering Probability requires knowing how to count all possible desired outcomes out of all possible outcomes. Understanding how to utilize the combination & permutation equations (nCr & nPr, respectively) and knowing how to avoid overcounting or undercounting will be valuable.
With 8+ years as an ACT Tutor, I have plenty of experience tutoring students to excellent scores, including some students to the 95%+ percentile. The key to excelling in ACT Reading is to understand how passages are structured as to highlight and identify key information quickly, accurately matching clues from the questions with evidence in the passage, and quickly eliminating answer choices that are clearly out-of-scope or opposite of what is mentioned in the passage. ACT Reading (like ACT Science) is a section where students often feel time pressure, having to read 4 long passages & answer 40 questions within 35 minutes.
Having tested these strategies in the January 2016 ACT and scoring a perfect 36, I know that the key to excelling in ACT English is to test for objectively correct choices by plugging in and noting specific mechanics, including subject-verb agreement, proper verb tense, proper adjective/adverb usage, pronoun/antecedent matching, etc.
Having tested these strategies in the January 2016 ACT and scoring a perfect 36, I know that the key to excelling in ACT Math is being able to efficiently & accurately model details within each problem. Proper modeling & organization are the key to answering early questions quickly without losing accuracy. Students who manage to efficiently answer early questions will have a time advantage when attempting the more difficult questions in the latter half of the section.
Having tested these strategies in the January 2016 ACT and scoring a perfect 36, I know that excelling in ACT Science means learning how to quickly identify and highlight key information in both in passages and graphs, uncovering the relationship between variables (i.e. when one variable increases, does the other variable increase or decrease), and logically eliminating wrong answer choices.
A good organizational system will ensure that the most important information (ex: homework assignments, the latest lesson notes, due dates) is easily accessible. So the first step to good organization is to first eliminate any papers that will not be referenced in the near future by putting them in a folder archive (ex: old handouts, graded assignments). We then work creating simple but effective sections where items are to be placed (ex: notes, unfinished assignments, etc.). We also write out all our events/activities into a calendar in order to better account for our time. After all that work, what should remain in the bookbag is only the most absolutely important information relevant to academic & personal excellence.
I took the CBEST in 2007 with no prep and scored a 222 (123 is passing): 74 Reading, 73 Mathematics, 75 Writing, with highest performance indicators in all skill areas. The test focuses on high school topics in a standardized setting, so as with any standardized test, the key to excelling at the CBEST is understanding how each question is constructed to maximize your time & energies.
I've worked with numerous students on all three major High School entrance exams: ISEE, SSAT, & CAHSEE. Often one of these tests is the first major standardized test a student takes, so it's very important that students have a healthy approach and don't get intimidated. The philosophies and strategies they learn for this test will carry over to other major standardized tests as well (PSAT, PLAN, SAT, ACT, etc.).