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Brian S.

Certified, Full-Time Tutor of Most Subjects

Rochester, MI (48308)

Travel radius
5 miles
Hourly fee
$50.00
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Brian's Tutoring Subjects

Approved subjects are in bold.
Corporate Training:
Accounting more »
Business more »
Career Development more »
Economics
ESL/ESOL
Finance
General Computer
Grammar
Microsoft Excel
Microsoft Word
Proofreading
Public Speaking
Statistics
Sports/Recreation:
Poker
Test Preparation:
ACT English more »
ACT Math more »
ACT Reading more »
ACT Science more »
Career Development more »
GED
SAT Math
SAT Reading
Homeschool:
Accounting more »
Algebra 1 more »
Algebra 2 more »
Biology more »
Calculus more »
Chemistry more »
Economics
Elementary (K-6th)
English
ESL/ESOL
Geometry
Physics
Prealgebra
Precalculus
Reading
SAT Math
SAT Reading
Statistics
Study Skills
Writing
Special Needs:
ADD/ADHD more »
Dyslexia
Hard Of Hearing
Phonics
Special Needs
Business:
Accounting more »
Business more »
Career Development more »
Economics
Finance
Marketing
Microsoft Excel
Microsoft PowerPoint
Microsoft Word
Public Speaking
Art:
Architecture more »
Art History more »
Art Theory more »
Drawing
Painting
Elementary Education:
Elementary (K-6th)
Elementary Math
Grammar
Phonics
Reading
Spelling
Study Skills
Vocabulary
History:
American History more »
European History
Geography
Religion
Social Studies
World History
Language:
ESL/ESOL
Speech
Science:
ACT Science more »
Biology more »
Chemistry more »
Genetics
Mechanical Engineering
Philosophy
Physical Science
Physics
Psychology
Sociology
Computer:
Computer Engineering more »
Computer Programming more »
Computer Science more »
General Computer
Microsoft Excel
Microsoft Outlook
Microsoft PowerPoint
Microsoft Windows
Microsoft Word
Math:
ACT Math more »
Algebra 1 more »
Algebra 2 more »
Calculus more »
Differential Equations more »
Discrete Math
Geometry
Linear Algebra
Logic
Prealgebra
Precalculus
Probability
SAT Math
Statistics
Trigonometry
English:
ACT English more »
ACT Reading more »
Bible Studies more »
English
ESL/ESOL
Grammar
Proofreading
Public Speaking
Reading
SAT Reading
Vocabulary
Writing

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All of Brian’s current tutoring subjects are listed at the left. You can read more about Brian’s qualifications in specific subjects below.

Accounting

Short Version:
I'm generally good with first-semester college courses, but after that, my ability to help decreases.

Long Version:
Accounting has been one of my more popular subjects over the years. I have helped with both college and high school students with their accounting classes. My specialty with accounting though is helping with the first semester of accounting for statistics. I am generally solid with the foundations of accounting, which is the majority of the first class. If you are interested in my help for a later accounting class, I can often help out, but I might need to look up more in a book to be sure that I am teaching the correct thing.

I also have a good command of how to use Excel. I have seen professors require spreadsheets done on the computer instead of by hand, and I know a lot of those shortcuts, including how to use formulas. Since I run my own tutoring business as well (partly through WyzAnt), I am also familiar with some of the practical applications of accounting that can be helpful in one's own business for anyone who is trying to become an entrepreneur as I did.

ACT English

Short Version:
I have helped students improve their ACT English scores by 2 to 8 points, depending primarily on the time invested.

Long Version:
ACT is one of my most popular subjects to tutor throughout the year. I often have students during the school year who have a weekly time slot with me and don't always need the time to review material from the week, so we work on studying for the ACT instead. Summer is generally the best time to study for the ACT, as students often don't have to worry about normal school work. I often find that the best time to start is during the summer between 9th and 10th grade.

I normally tutor for the ACT in two phases. The first phase goes over the major concepts for each test that the student wants help with, explaining common mistake areas and different rules and guidelines to follow to improve their score. The second phase is much more personalized, focusing on the student taking practice tests on his/her own and then reviewing the specific areas of difficulty together.

Specifically, I have tutored the English portion of the ACT for several years. I enjoy tutoring it because the English section has a nice balance between learning grammar/form concepts and learning strategies to handle the extra questions. I often find that students haven't had adequate preparation with specific grammar rules, especially the ones about commas, semi-colons, and colons. I often help with the "form" part of English, things which don't have a specific grammar rule but still matter a lot, such as condensing run-on sentences, staying on-topic, and avoiding informal style. I also teach test-taking strategies for standardized tests, such as learning how to say sentences out loud to yourself before fixing them.

For the writing section, there are three key areas I focus on. The first is realizing the audience that you are writing for: professionals who are reading through the essays extremely quickly; that knowledge changes how one writes quite a bit. I then show the different areas to draw brainstorms from; the main issues I see with the writing section is either not brainstorming or taking too long with it. When the student has many avenues to think up different examples, it makes the brainstorming go much smoother and quicker. The third area I look at is how to structure the essay to make the most out of the actual writing time, showing how to make a system that the reader will be able to easily pick up, improving the score.

ACT Math

Short Version:
I have helped students improve their ACT Math scores by 2 to 7 points, depending primarily on the time invested.

Long Version:
ACT is one of my most popular subjects to tutor throughout the year. I often have students during the school year who have a weekly time slot with me and don't always need the time to review material from the week, so we work on studying for the ACT instead. Summer is generally the best time to study for the ACT, as students often don't have to worry about normal school work. I often find that the best time to start is during the summer between 9th and 10th grade.

I normally tutor for the ACT in two phases. The first phase goes over the major concepts for each test that the student wants help with, explaining common mistake areas and different rules and guidelines to follow to improve their score. The second phase is much more personalized, focusing on the student taking practice tests on his/her own and then reviewing the specific areas of difficulty together.

For the math portion of the ACT, I first make sure that there are no gaps in the student's background math knowledge; for example, some students haven't taken trigonometry yet, so I can provide a crash course in understanding the parts of trigonometry that often come up on the ACT (which will then also help them once they learn it in school). Once the foundation is laid (or if the student already knows the necessary basics), I then shift the focus to helping where the student is weakest, giving strategies to make the tougher questions easier and time savers so that there is more time for the difficult questions. 

I also specialize in an idea I call "guesstimation," which is the idea of using the fact that the test is multiple-choice to your advantage. The answers are generally designed to trick students, so if one can learn to see those tricks, it's actually possible to answer questions without even knowing the math, based on what is most likely the correct answer. The level of guesstimation varies a lot, from the simple side, such as approximating an angle based on a figure, to more interesting cases, such as comparing answers to see which one stands out the most. These strategies can help in a pinch so that students don't have to blindly "guess C" for questions they don't know.

ACT Reading

Short Version:
I have helped students improve their ACT Reading scores by 1 to 6 points, depending primarily on the time invested.

Long Version:
ACT is one of my most popular subjects to tutor throughout the year. I often have students during the school year who have a weekly time slot with me and don't always need the time to review material from the week, so we work on studying for the ACT instead. Summer is generally the best time to study for the ACT, as students often don't have to worry about normal school work. I often find that the best time to start is during the summer between 9th and 10th grade.

I normally tutor for the ACT in two phases. The first phase goes over the major concepts for each test that the student wants help with, explaining common mistake areas and different rules and guidelines to follow to improve their score. The second phase is much more personalized, focusing on the student taking practice tests on his/her own and then reviewing the specific areas of difficulty together.

The reading section has two main areas where students can improve in. The first is quick reading comprehension. Some students are naturally gifted with (or have developed) a natural ability to read quickly. For the rest, the reading test can be challenging just due to the time constraint. I have several different approaches I have seen or developed myself over the years, which I offer to students to see which one(s) work best for them. I also am skilled in the art of "skim reading," which is very different than "fast reading." The ACT is a perfect place to learn the skill, especially with the natural sciences passage.

The second part of the reading test is the ability to answer questions based on what was read. Since time is often an issue, I can help students learn to pick out the information that is most vital, such as the main point of the passage or key ideas. Some questions refer directly to parts in the passage, others ask about details in the passage, and the rest is about the passage as a whole. Each one can be approached in different ways, and learning how to deal with each type of question is crucial to the success for the reading section.

ACT Science

Short Version:
I have helped students improve their ACT Science scores by 2 to 7 points, depending primarily on the time invested.

Long Version:
ACT is one of my most popular subjects to tutor throughout the year. I often have students during the school year who have a weekly time slot with me and don't always need the time to review material from the week, so we work on studying for the ACT instead. Summer is generally the best time to study for the ACT, as students often don't have to worry about normal school work. I often find that the best time to start is during the summer between 9th and 10th grade.

I normally tutor for the ACT in two phases. The first phase goes over the major concepts for each test that the student wants help with, explaining common mistake areas and different rules and guidelines to follow to improve their score. The second phase is much more personalized, focusing on the student taking practice tests on his/her own and then reviewing the specific areas of difficulty together.

The science section of the ACT comes down to quickly digesting charts and graphs. One issue I see a lot of students making is trying to understand the material itself, which is not the way to do well in the science section. Instead, I focus on showing how to quickly take in what each chart/graph is about and how to relate the questions to their corresponding charts/graphs to answer the questions quickly and correctly. Noticing keywords and phrases to see where to find the answer is often the key to doing well.

ADD/ADHD

Short Version:
Because a large portion of my students have had ADD/ADHD, it is something that I have a lot of experience handling.

Long Version:
ADD/ADHD is one of the most common reasons I have seen for students needing a tutor. A large percentage of my students at any time have had some form of it. Thus, I have had a good amount of practice in helping ADD/ADHD students.

When helping a student with ADD/ADHD, several things change. First, I suggest keeping lessons to an hour to help keep the student focused. I also look for ways to change up the sessions slightly. For example, one way I have found to keep some ADD/ADHD students focused is actually to change my voice; I have a strong control over how my voice sounds, and sometimes something so simple is all that the student needs to regain the focus; other times, students focus better with one voice over another.

Another thing I have learned about ADD/ADHD is that often times, a mind will wander anyways. Instead of trying to reel the student back in immediately, I generally allow their mind to wander for a moment before gently steering the conversation to be back on track. In my experience, letting the student to get the wandering out of their system allows them to focus better afterwards, which ends up being more productive than having them keep it bottled up.

Algebra 1

Short Version:
Algebra is one of my most common subjects, one that I have learned many tutoring techniques for.

Long Version:
Algebra can be a challenging subject for a lot of students. I often find that when helping with algebra, I need to go back a bit and help build a stronger foundation with concepts such as negatives, fractions, or the order of operations. Once the foundation is solid, the challenge is in changing one's thinking to now use letters instead of numbers. The idea of reversing the order of operations when solving algebraic questions also often gives students a difficult time. Other times, it's the graphing that gives students a difficult time.

In the end, it is often very individualized as to what the main issue is. Because algebra is such a personal tutoring subject, I really try to adjust my methods to what the student needs most. I have multiple ways to explain most algebra topics, so if one doesn't work, there are other ways to explain the information to the students. I also try to relate the math they are learning to something that they could see using it for in their lives, giving them a reason to learn the material for themselves instead of just memorizing for tests.

Algebra 2

Short Version:
Algebra 2 is one of my most common subjects, one that I have learned many tutoring techniques for.

Long Version:
Algebra 2 can be a challenge for many students. In fact, I find that it's one of my most common subjects to tutor. Many times I have found the issue to be that the student only partially understood the first year of algebra and then forgot what they did know when taking geometry. While it depends on where the student is at, I often try to explain the algebra 2 concepts in a way that is similar to algebra 1 so that it is easier to understand.

One thing I have found to be crucial to understanding algebra 2 is to see how algebra itself isn't really a new language to the students but rather a different take on things they already have seen. I also know the reasons behind most of the concepts that they learn, so I can both explain HOW things work, as well as WHY they could matter to the student, bringing up ways that the math could benefit them in the future, relating topics to physics, economics, and sometimes even daily life.

American History

Short Version:
I enjoy tutoring history; my focus is on how the students can learn from the past and how things have developed over time, unifying what they are learning instead of focusing on just dates and names.

Long Version:
I approach history, including American history, differently than most teachers do. My focus is more on the flow of history and what we can learn from it for our own future. As such, I am not generally a good tutor for a student who is trying to just memorize names and dates. Instead, I am a tutor who prefers to enrich the learning of American history by showing how everything is interconnected.

In my opinion, the learning of history begins with the realization that time itself is a flowing, continuous idea, not something static. While we certainly have had major events that separate our history into different time periods, they are extremely dependent on one another. For example, we cannot begin to understand the Civil War until we realize the conditions that led up to it and how people lived in those times.

As such, I also approach history from a psychological and sociological perspective. To fully grasp the entirety of our history, we must learn how the people lived and acted. Understanding the motivations behind the major events can bring them into focus for students, helping them to appreciate the reasons why people behaved the way they did. It also brings the subject back to the present, seeing what lessons we can learn from the mistakes and successes of the ones who have gone before us.

Architecture

Short Version:
I have a general understanding of what makes solid and visually appealing structures, but my strength lies more in being able to visualize from blueprints and my skills in accurate measurements. Please note though that I do not have formal training in architecture.

Long Version:
Architecture is one of my side subjects, not one of my primary areas. I have helped several high school students with architecture projects (one with his actual class on architecture), but I have not helped at the college level at the time of writing this. During high school, I won all but two of my competitions (one second place and one that just busted on me), primarily because I actually paid attention to the instruction, such as how curved and triangular structures are much stronger than rectangles.

My skills in architecture are much of a general nature. I am excellent with measurements, diagramming, and the like. I can read blueprints and explain what things mean most of the time. I am also good with scaling models and the such with my strong mathematical background. One of my students that I was helping with physics and math is likely going for a degree in architecture, and I was able read his plans and help him finalize them.

Art History

Short Version:
While I took an art history class in college, my strength lies more in helping students with memory tricks and understanding the development of art instead of specifics.

Long Version:
Art history is one of my secondary subjects, not a primary one. I took an art history class in college and still remember a lot from the class. Just like other history classes, though, I'm much better at the overall picture than the specifics of who/what/where/when. I am most familiar with the Renaissance era as that was my favorite to study, but I have a decent grasp on how art developed, especially over the past few centuries.

I am also good with memory tricks, which helps students with the specifics that I do not have memorized. For example, some painters have a certain color or hue that they like a lot, which can be then used to determine which paintings are theirs. Or, one can look for specific details in the art itself to help remember details, such as counting the number of two sets of objects in a picture to get the year number (for example, eighteen buildings, nine people, and four dogs could be a picture from 1894). The tricks don't work for every art piece, but they can help to cut down on the required memorization.

Art Theory

Short Version:
I am not an artist myself. That said, I do have a decent understanding of how things should look, what colors look good together, and the like. I'm good at explaining how to improve a picture, just not good at doing it myself.

Long Version:
Art Theory is an extra subject I do for the occasional student, but it is not generally one I am specifically hired for. I have a decent understanding of how colors work and how to maximize visual appeal by using certain color combinations together. That said, my understanding is more of a basic level; please do not expect me to be a master of it.

I have not taken a specific class on art theory myself, but I have life experience with it instead. I have been in charge of redecorating rooms, and I am known especially for my ability to match colors together that will work well. I also have done a decent amount of artwork for the video games I have created, and I have learned a lot about color combinations from those, as well as from getting text to have a high contrast level against various colors of backgrounds, as well as what patterns look good together. It is from these experiences that I draw upon when trying to help a student learn about art theory.

Bible Studies

Short Version:
I have a strong knowledge of both the Bible, as well as some background of outside sources that reference the Bible.

Long Version:
As a devout Christian myself, I know a lot of the Bible by heart, not memorized verses but rather major topics and where they are. I prefer to look at the Bible from various angles to get a fuller grasp as to what is happening in each section. I also had a college class about the Bible as history, which included other historians, such as Josephus. In addition, I have studied a broad range of the evidence for (and against) the Bible and specifically Jesus, so I can often approach the Bible in at least a partially scholarly route.

Biology

Short Version:
While I help with biology as needed, it is not an area I am particularly strong in.

Long Version:
I try to be well-rounded in my tutoring, helping in almost every subject area. Biology is one that is hit-or-miss with me. While I can help with some areas of biology rather well, other parts I have to read first and then explain (although I am rather quick with the reading part). I have a lot of the generalities down, but not the specific details or names of the various processes.

Business

Short Version:
My knowledge of business stems from both book knowledge from my minor in business as well as practical knowledge from being self-employed.

Long Version:
Business in general is one of my favorite topics to tutor. In college, I minored in business, getting a taste of each type of business class. Upon graduating, my first two jobs were as a business analyst. I am now self-employed and use a lot of the techniques I have learned to improve my own business, and I am now at a point where I am so busy that I have been known to work up to 70+ hour work weeks just tutoring. My focus in business is on long-term growth instead of short-term benefits.

If you would like to see some of my business strategies when it comes to tutoring, you may view my blogs as a good portion of them are on the topic of tutoring as a business. Those can help to give a feel for how I approach business and my focus on image and sustainable business practices.

Calculus

Short Version:
Calculus is possibly my favorite subject of all to tutor, and I tutor it at every level from high school to the highest college classes.

Long Version:
There are two parts to doing well in the standard calculus classes. One is to understand where the formulas come from, such as how the derivative formula is nothing more than a reworking of the slope formula from algebra. Understanding the foundation helps a lot with the conceptual questions and helps students to see the many applications of Calculus.

The second major area for standard calculus classes is to know the formulas that provide the shortcuts for the calculations and how to see when to use each. To understand the formulas, I find it very beneficial to often go through the proof of the formula, as long as it is not overwhelming. In addition, there are techniques and patterns to recognize for deciding when to use each formula, such as changing roots into fractional exponents to see a power rule.

Beyond the standard calculus classes are the advanced calculus classes (otherwise known as theoretical calculus). These classes are known for being among the most challenging of all college classes. I do not claim to be an expert in these classes, but I do have some understanding, and I do know how to read through a book quickly to catch things that I do not know. Doing well in these classes partially comes down to just coming to terms with how things are done differently, such as the epsilon-delta limit definitions.

Career Development

Short Version:
I have experience writing powerful resumes and cover letters, explaining how to ace interviews, and helping students find out what career path they want to takes.

Long Version:
While growing up, I did not know what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I went through various books and guides, but they only helped so much, so I can relate to students who struggle to find their calling. This also means that I am rather knowledgeable about the various tests that students can do to find out what they like and are good at.

Now that I am a bit older, I also know the value of non-book methodologies to discover what career path to take, things like shadowing a professional, knowing what kinds of questions to ask about a possible career, how to research the benefits and issues of a job path, etc. I also have a working knowledge of what common classes and skills are needed to follow a career.

When it comes to actually applying for a job, I have helped various students learn how to strengthen their resumes, how to focus on their strengths without lying. I also have helped students write cover letters that will stand out and answer common questions a hiring manager might have for them.

I personally have interviewed for many positions over the years, and all but one interview landed in a job offer (the one being a job I really was not qualified for). I know common interview questions and how to use them to one's advantage, such as answering a question about a poor choice that one has done in the past and then explaining what was learned from it so that the problem will not happen again or explaining how one compensates for one's weaknesses.

Chemistry

Short Version:
I am good with explaining the basics of chemistry and how to handle the math behind the chemistry, but the more specific the details become, the less I am able to help.

Long Version:
I have a very mathematical mind. Often times that can help in chemistry, allowing me to explain how to handle formulas and sometimes even why those formulas work. I'm also solid in the foundational aspects of chemistry, such as balancing equations.

My weakness lies in the memorization. Most thing in chemistry that are pure memorization I do not have down, such as the order for redox reactions. That said, if the book is handy, I am rather fast at looking things up and being able to explain topics from there.

Computer Engineering

Short Version:
I have a general knowledge of computers, more from practical applications than classes.

Long Version:
I took a class in computer and electrical engineering in college. I'm not going to claim that I still remember a lot from it, but it is a resource I draw from when computer engineering comes up.

My primary motivation for helping with computer engineering is building computers. I have been building and updating my own computer for many years now. I focus on the simpler methods in doing so; for example, I don't get into overclocking my computer. Instead, I have helped others to look at and understand the key ratings of computer equipment.

Computer Programming

Short Version:
I understand the underlying structure of programming and can often handle intro-level classes, but I will likely need to brush up on the syntax.

Long Version:
I minored in Computer Science while at Oakland University. I have experience with Visual Basic, Java, and Javascript. I also program on the side, being one of the top programmers with the free program "Stencyl", which is a great tool for anyone interested in getting a start in video game development. I have also self-taught a lot of TI-Basic coding.

Beyond Stencyl (which uses a building-block-style structure), I have not used much of my programming knowledge beyond college. What that means is that while I am great with logic flow and debugging, my use of syntax is weak (i.e. when to use semi-colons, using "Int" or "Integer", etc.). That said, if I look at a quick example, my memory is often triggered, and I can then help out.

For anyone looking to get a start in programming, I am well-known in the Stencyl community for helping newcomers out, and I offer one-on-one help, showing directly how to do basically anything native to the program, whether beginner, intermediate, or advanced. It's also a topic that can actually end up paying for itself as the games can then be sold for a sponsorship or put onto phones (iOS, Android, etc.) for hundreds or thousands of dollars (depending on the quality of the end product).

Computer Science

I have knowledge of both programming and building computers. I also have worked a lot with optimization techniques under certain constraints.

Differential Equations

Differential equations is not one of my core subjects I tutor. I do have a solid foundation from my knowledge from Calculus, various theoretical math classes, and helping a few students solve differentials. I have not actually taken the college class though, so there are likely some gaps in my knowledge (although I am good with looking up topics in books).

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Email Brian

Send Brian a message explaining your needs and you will receive a response by email. Have you already emailed Brian or another tutor? If so, you have an account! Sign in now

(ex: algebra, chemistry)
Please enter the tutor's email address.
Please enter the student's email address.
Please describe how you heard about us.

Receive Responses From Additional Tutors

If selected, WyzAnt will ask interested tutors to contact you by email if they are able to help. A maximum of five different tutors will email you and none of your personal information, including your email address, will be released.

Approved Subjects

In most cases, tutors gain approval in a subject by passing a proficiency exam. For some subject areas, like music and art, tutors submit written requests to demonstrate their proficiency to potential students. If a tutor is interested but not yet certified in a subject, the subject will appear in non-bold font. Tutors need to be approved in a subject prior to beginning lessons.