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I'm a former boarding school math teacher and so-so student that nevertheless got into Yale. By thinking like a test designer I got the three 800s in math and physics APs which apparently made the difference.
An aptitude test's effectiveness is measured by how well it separates the students of various achievement levels. For example, one mechanism in both ACT and SAT test problems is to offer shortcuts, which is apparently a good separator. I train students how to hunt for the tell-tale signs of these shortcuts, which is an extremely cost effective way to improve scores. Another cost effective score improvement technique is finding and fixing gaps in students' grasp of the material.
Which brings us to motivation. Young kids are born engineers, taking things apart to see how they work. Traditional schoolwork dulls this driver. Besides strategic training and gap filling, an effective test prep program needs self-imposed practice. A student who spends equal time on his own doing web-based sample tests will truly maximize the cost effectiveness of my tutoring program.
While "teaching to the test" is the necessity here, I try to reawaken my students' natural curiosity by sharing practical knowledge from my flying 6000 hours and four boat races between Bermuda and Newport.
As a serial entrepreneur, investor, and occasional forensic hired gun, my accounting experience is heavily weighted toward the practical and strategic. Sometimes its figuring out what off-book shenanigans a public company is trying to hide "in plain sight"; sometimes its devising a creative tax strategy. Beyond-the-textbook accounting can be fun.
Scoring well on the ACT requires two components, knowledge of the material and strategic savvy. Those fortunate enough to have read books instead of watching TV will be in good shape. The nature of the test, however, requires strategy. Practicing with the online sample test questions pays dividends. A tutor makes this practice time happen. My test savvy will accelerate the strategy learning process.
In the course of getting two 800s in the old AP math, I learned the importance of strategic savvy. As I work with a student through the various types of problems in the ACT Math, I suggest shortcuts and strategies appropriate to each student's different strengths. In most cases this gives the best return in terms of points gained per hour of work.
In getting an 800 in the old AP in physics, I learned the value of looking at the answers before solving some of the questions, as this gave the best return in terms of correct answers per minute.
The ACT Science is an odd duck, being half reading and graphical comprehension. The strategy--whether to read the questions first--is the same. While understanding the science is primary, I help students develop a technique for making this decision, as it will give them the same edge that I had.
Algebra 1 can be traumatic for a number of students. After the tears stop, my first hours are devoted to patching holes in knowledge, as this gives the best return in terms of competence gained per hour of work. A student panicked by a "word problem," for example, can't be expected to function properly for the rest of an assignment or test.
As the student gains confidence, my next job is to demonstrate shortcuts and problem solving tricks, motivated by the promise of less time spent doing the drudgery of homework.
Experience helping students deal with math is a game of strategy. Algebra 2 is particularly susceptible to shortcuts and problem solving tricks, and more than one student has gotten such a kick out of "beating the system" that they almost begin to like math.
My first hours are devoted to patching holes in knowledge, as this gives the best return in terms of competence gained per hour of work.
Business can be fun. I can draw from my experience as a serial entrepreneur to help you master specific assignments or course materials. Or, I can provide an overview by discussing the excellent material written by folks like Royal Little (Textron) or Warren Buffet (Berkshire Hathaway). They give an excellent overview of hands on business operations. I can also help with specific businesses or business problems to make you competent and profitable, and save you from wasted time and money.
I can assist with a specific course or assignment, drawing on my 50 years hands on experience as a ham radio operator. However, my real asset is a working repair shop with test equipment and supplies for those wishing to learn the forgotten art of radio repair. Troubleshooting and repair techniques will be demonstrated, and practical circuit design and modification will be discussed. Bring and learn to fix an old tube radio.
With decades of experience as both an entrepreneur and investor, my students can tap a thorough understanding of the basics as well gain an edge by learning some strategies.
As a serial entrepreneur, I've discovered ways of developing the truly useful information -- for finding problems before they get expensive, for detecting opportunities for expansion, and for testing the relative effectiveness of various marketing tactics.
As an investor, I've learned not only how to decipher the various SEC filings, but where the most promising data can be found for clues as to future performance, such as the income statement's footnotes and off balance sheet partnerships.
I can also teach from experience in derivatives, real estate, limited partnerships, and commodities.
Getting an 800 in the Physics AP, I discovered the strategy of thinking like a test designer, an edge I can pass on.
My experiences as a pilot, ocean sailor, and ham operator have given me an understanding of physics that I can share with my students, often giving them an intuitive edge in problem solving.
Instrument flying to and from Alaska, I gained a thorough knowledge of meteorology; designing and certifying aircraft mods required an extensive study of aerodynamics.
My decades of ham radio experience gave me a practical understanding of electronics.
Typically, test designers use shortcut-prone problems to reward the out-of-the-box thinking typical of the better students.
Getting two 800s in the old AP in math confirmed to me the usefulness of this approach. Working with a student on the SAT Math, highlighting this strategic approach has been a cost effective way to improve scores.
Very flexible — Ted is so flexible with his schedule. He connected very well with our son and he is able to see where he needs more polishing. We are happy to see how our son is so eager to work with Ted. ...
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