Highly experienced, dedicated tutor specializing in math and statistics, high-level critical thinking, reading, and writing, and test prep for any section of the SAT, GRE, and GMAT. I'm friendly, patient, eager to help you succeed - and I guarantee you won't find anyone more knowledgeable or helpful, anywhere. (If you don't agree, I won't charge you!)
I tutor full-time and entirely independently: I've never worked for a tutoring company because I've never found one I respect intellectually. You can check out more than 40 reviews on my Student Feedback page - that's more than any other WyzAnt tutor specializing in my subjects has in Massachusetts - to see what students say about what it's like to work with me.
MY EDUCATION: My two degrees are from MIT in theoretical math and literature. I also completed more than a semester of coursework at Harvard in English, philosophy, and intellectual history. I grew up wanting to be a scientist, so I've done labwork at MIT's Koch Center for Integrative Cancer Research, Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and the McGovern Institute for Brain Research. Nowadays my interests lie more in writing and the humanities. Besides tutoring, I'm an editor at Boston Review, a national magazine of politics, literature, and culture - where, among other things, I get to work on fiction selected by Junot Diaz! My academic interests span 19th- and 20-century intellectual and cultural history, especially the history of literature, philosophy, science, and math. That's a fancy way of saying that I love to learn, read, and write about everything. I think it's not only possible but important to be fluent in both the sciences and the humanities: the best way to learn how to think outside of the box - how to become a creative and critical thinker - is to read and think across many different disciplines.
MY SCORES: 99th percentile scores on all the standardized tests I teach. SAT I: 2400 800 Math, 800 Reading, 800 Writing. SAT II: 800 Math IIc, 800 Biology M. GRE: 170 Math, 170 Verbal, 6.0 Writing. GMAT: 780.
MY EXPERIENCE: I have thousands of hours of professional teaching, tutoring, and mentoring experience - ten years in the Boston metro area alone. I've worked with hundreds of students, both one-on-one and in classrooms, of ALL ages, backgrounds, and ability levels - from those in middle and high school to Harvard and MIT undergraduate and graduate students and adults in their forties.
MY PHILOSOPHY: My overarching goal in all the subjects I tutor is to help my students achieve real mastery - not at all what you get from a tutoring company with one-size-fits-all strategies or from teachers who aren't true experts. That means my focus is always on creative and critical thinking, not rule-following or rote memorization or ad hoc "strategies" (a word used by the test-taking industry to sell products that fool you into thinking you're being taught something deep). At the end of the day, the only thing I try to teach, no matter the subject, is that the kind of work it takes to learn something is, contrary to popular misconceptions, very different from the kind of work involved in looking up a fact or memorizing a rule: it is a kind of work on oneself. It involves learning how to talk, how to tell a story, how to have a conversation, how to generate ideas on your own, how to let something matter to you - and so much more. Of course all of these things require much more labor than memorization or rule-following. But, as the exercise gurus like to say, "no pain, no gain." And that's why we call memorization and rule-following "mechanical," after all: they can be done by a machine. True learning, and true teaching, is always exciting, always transformative - never mechanical. The terrible thing is that in school we very rarely get to experience real learning and excellent teaching.
Despite my deep love for learning, I don't pretend that grades and scores aren't important. I give meaningful test-taking tips (which you won't find in any book) and teach with example problems constantly in view (which I make up on the spot to target the EXACT source of your confusion). But the bottom line is that, most of the time, the key to improving your grade in a class or your score on a test usually has less to do with reviewing basic facts or relearning forgotten rules - almost any book could teach you those! - than with improving your ability to think creatively, systematically, rigorously, and articulately. Real understanding - the kind that will not only lead to good grades or test scores, but also stay with you and serve you forever, even in other endeavors - consists not in the knowledge of a laundry list of facts or a grab-bag of strategies but rather in the ability to organize and express that knowledge, to make and explain abstract connections, to name and describe relationships, to see a bigger picture. THOSE are the skills most people can't learn from a book - because they're skills you learn only by doing (especially by talking and writing and teaching others) - and that's exactly what we'll work on. One of the great forgotten philosophers of the last century, John Dewey, put the same point this way: "Practical skill, modes of effective technique, can be intelligently, non-mechanically used, ONLY when intelligence has played a part in their acquisition."
MY STYLE: My sessions are relaxed, fun, and very conversational: the emphasis, always, is on concepts and communication - on your ability to TALK about what we're doing (whether it's solving a problem, writing a paper, or simply trying to make sense of a new concept). That sort of meta-awareness - thinking about HOW you think - will help you NO MATTER the subject! By sharpening their ability to explain, my students not only refine their problem-solving skills and learn to ace exams, but also develop deep and lasting understanding.
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