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Dennis S.

Dennis for ACT/SAT/GRE/APs/personal essays/English/History/Math

Mission Viejo, CA (92691)

Travel radius
11 miles
Hourly fee
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My success in tutoring students of all ages and across many subjects is based on common sense, real-world techniques that build a foundation of self-reliance in both education and life. Success occurs very quickly with my approach, but the main focus is developing permanent skills that create independent problem-solvers who can tackle with confidence any problem that school or life throws at them. My biggest satisfaction comes when a student tells me she doesn't need a tutor anymore.

I received a triple Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree from Northwestern University in English, psychology, and education, plus certification to teach grades 6 through 12. I received a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree from USC in Professional Writing through USC’s English Department, School of Journalism, School of Cinema Arts, and School of Theatre. My background includes positions as Writer and Senior Editor at a national educational book publishing firm, at an international entertainment magazine, and at a national newsletter company specializing in the medical field and real estate.

Subjects I tutor include test preparation for the SAT, ACT, GRE, and high school AP tests; college application personal essays (the most important part of the admission package); and English, History, and Math for grades 6 through 12.

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Dennis’s subjects

ACT English

I have had great success tutoring students on the ACT. My most recent student experienced an 18-point jump in her practice test score after just one session with me, and completely lost her test anxiety and lack of confidence. She succeeded in achieving her desired score on the actual ACT test and was therefore awarded the corresponding financial aid she needed to attend the university of her choice.

The greatest compliment I receive from a student is when they confidently tell me they no longer need the services of a tutor to succeed in school.

ACT Math

My approach to the Math section of the ACT immediately orients the student to the unique approach required by the test—an approach not taught in school. Practice test scores immediately jump as a result.

I have had great success helping students boost their ACT scores and their test-taking confidence.

ACT Reading

I teach several vital yet simple techniques that can immediately raise ACT Reading scores. Best of all, these techniques translate to any type of reading, for any subject, at school or work.

This empowers the student to excel not only on the ACT but in any class that requires reading—and to do so in far fewer minutes than before.

ACT Science

The Science section of the ACT is generally the most intimidating part of the test but, with the orientation and techniques I provide, often proves the easiest part of the ACT for most students.

The first time a student conquers the unconquerable Science section, you can visibly witness their confidence soar and their test anxiety drop.

Algebra 1

I have had great success tutoring students in Algebra and other subjects. I provide techniques that simplify the lessons and strengthen their permanence so students do not become dependent on tutors for their future math needs as well.

Algebra 2

Students respond quickly and dramatically to the help I bring to their Algebra II studies. Homework and test scores improve from the very first session.

I stress techniques that not only boost comprehension but that enhance long-term retention, which is a significant problem for most students in most categories of math. Students who fail to retain the lessons they learn now will often always require math tutors. My goal is to make students independent and self-sufficient in their studies.

American History

My most recent student needed my help to prepare her for the AP test in American History. Because of our sessions together, she scored higher than she expected even though she did not hire me as a tutor until shortly before the AP test.

Elementary Math

I have had great success tutoring elementary school students in math and other subjects. I stress real-life analogies in my techniques so students can better comprehend the lessons and relate the learning to their lives, which makes their understanding permanent rather than temporary.

The after-school science class I recently taught for grades 1 through 6 was an entertainment performance that combined comedy with science lessons. I received many perfect scores of satisfaction afterwards from parents and students alike.

Elementary Science

The after-school science class I recently taught for grades 1 through 6 was an entertainment performance that combined comedy with science lessons. I received many perfect scores of satisfaction afterwards from parents and students alike.


I am a published author and writer, and professional book consultant and editor. My background includes Senior Project Coordinator at a national educational book publishing firm, Writer/Editor at an international entertainment magazine, and Senior Editor at a national newsletter company that specialized in the medical and real estate fields. I earned a triple B.A. degree at Northwestern University, where I was also certified as an English teacher for grades 6 through 12. USC awarded me an MFA degree in Professional Writing, a multi-department discipline that encompassed the English Department, the School of Journalism, the School of Cinema Arts, and the School of Theatre.


My test prep tutoring experience covers such major tests as the GED, GRE, SAT, and ACT. Many of my students experience great success from the help and techniques I provide.

I focus on building skills that increase confidence and decrease stress. These skills apply to most subjects and problems a student is likely to encounter in school and in life.

My emphasis is on developing permanent problem-solving skills, not merely success on one immediate goal. The result is an independent, capable, confident student able to tackle whatever life throws at her/him.


I have had great success tutoring students in Geometry. My most recent student hired me because she and her parents feared she would fail her upcoming test. After just one session with me she had the skills and confidence she needed to not only pass the test but to achieve an A on it.

My goal is not to just enable students to do well on their immediate assignments and tests but to permanently cement vital math and problem-solving skills in their minds so they will be able to function independently for the rest of their school years and in life thereafter.


I have taught Grammar to students from grade school through university level. My approach employs humorous examples to decrease anxiety and frustration with a subject that often intimidates even the oldest students.


Most tests require specific techniques to successfully complete them and the GRE is no exception.

The help I bring to the table enables GRE students to approach the test with sufficient confidence and skills to achieve their maximum possible score.


There are many subtleties and intricacies to literature. One could spend a lifetime studying just a few of them. Most students, though, cannot remember even a couple of them once they have turned in their test or paper.

I therefore focus not just on accomplishing the task(s) at hand but also on cementing in students’ minds the key points they just learned, so those rich elements of literature will live with them for years to come and elevate their understanding and appreciation of any new works they encounter.

Microsoft Word

My background includes years of work at companies such as publishing houses that use Microsoft Word as their word processing program.

I was responsible for writing and editing documents on a daily basis for those companies. I also trained multiple office staffs in the use of Word and other software programs.

My educational background includes a triple B.A. from Northwestern University and an MFA from USC.

My approach to teaching is to build permanence in learning the lessons so that acquired skills do not disappear when the tutor does.


There is a system to proofreading and, fortunately, it is not difficult to learn.

I have worked for years as a professional editor and have performed all varieties of proofreading. I have taught proofreading to editorial staffs and to students from elementary school through college.

Very few people possess this necessary skill. A good proofreader stands out from the crowd not just in the classroom but in consideration for promotion—or termination—at work. A misplaced decimal or a missing comma can make a profound—and sometimes disastrous—difference in a calculation or a legal contract. It is therefore vital that a student demonstrate strength in this field.

Public Speaking

I have years of experience teaching large classes, being a corporation spokesperson at national conventions, performing as a comedy science professor for grade schools, performing as a stand-up comic in nightclubs, and acting in independent films, TV commercials and stage productions.


Reading can be a torture or a joy. It all depends on the attitude towards the material. I bring humor and a new point of view to the subject. The result is an excited, engaged reader who is able to better understand, analyze, and appreciate whatever material he/she reads.

SAT Math

I have had great success tutoring students in the SAT and ACT tests.

I substantially improve students' performances on the tests by teaching them problem-solving skills that apply not only to math but also to many other subjects in tests and in school.

SAT Reading

I received a triple B.A. degree from Northwestern University in English, psychology, and education, and certification as an English teacher for grades 6 through 12.

I also was awarded an MFA degree in Professional Writing from USC.

For years I worked as a Senior Editor and Writer at a national educational book publishing firm, an international entertainment magazine, and at a national newsletter company specializing in the medical and real estate fields.

The techniques I teach to my SAT Reading students enable them to immediately leap ahead both in their scores and confidence.

SAT Writing

I am a professional writer and editor with years of experience working for book and magazine publishing firms. I have personally written dozens of articles that have been published nationally and internationally.

I provide my writing students with the skills necessary to craft powerful, well-organized compositions that will enhance their SAT Writing score.


Spelling is a nightmare for most students because English is a compilation of many different languages and contains many rules and many exceptions to those rules.

Fortunately, most words follow the same rules, which can be learned without extraordinary amounts of pain. I teach spelling with a method that employs humor wherever possible to make the lessons more enjoyable and more permanent.

Study Skills

I have taught study skills to elementary students from Grades 1 through 6 and achieved substantial success with them by stressing common-sense applications and real-world analogies.

My techniques bring purpose and import to the study regimen, which is more than half the battle. Once a student understands the "why" to the "how," he/she realizes the value in the regimen and pursues it much more assiduously. The process then becomes a lifelong habit.


Mark Twain said, “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”

Vocabulary is the writer’s sword, and no reader likes anything hacked out by a dull blade—especially a teacher who has to read thirty papers at a pop.

I teach students how to pick the best words to expand their vocabularies, how to best memorize words from assigned vocabulary lists, and how to discern the meanings of unfamiliar words by employing a few key rules.

Let their light shine through.

World History

Most of my writing, including fiction, is heavily based on history. I have performed considerable amounts of research on various historical and political events that occurred in the U.S. or globally. My current novel is a roman a clef, a revelatory story of thinly disguised real events and characters.


Writing is both a craft and an art. A craft can be taught and an art can be cultivated. My background as an author, writer, and editor enable me to provide both services.

I have helped writers young and old, amateur and professional. One of my greatest joys is to help a student transform an onerous assignment into an exciting project by inspiring the artist within.

Read all subject qualifications »

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B.A. (English)

USC (Master's)

Hourly fee

Standard Hourly Fee: $50.00

Travel policy

Dennis will travel within 11 miles of Mission Viejo, CA 92691.

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