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James C.

With good strategies, students improve quickly.

Princeton, NJ (08540)

Travel radius
15 miles
Hourly fee
$50.00
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I have worked as an educator for almost a decade, specializing in the teaching of English, Math and Chinese (Mandarin) as well as Finance and other areas of Business. I have also helped many individuals who are applying to college and graduate school, helping them choose the right school and write the best application essays. I thoroughly enjoy teaching, whether it is one-on-one, small groups, or lecturing to student and professional groups.

Like my classmates, I grew up as a test warrior, steeped in the art of test taking. We aced every life-changing test on our way to the top universities. We were vying for extremely limited opportunities. We knew we needed to master test-taking skills as well as the subject material.

My college coursework was in the area of science and engineering. Then, after I received my MBA from NYU, I spent more than twenty years in corporate America and in entrepreneurial ventures. My transition to education occurred when I became involved with an international project nine years ago involving educational exchanges between institutions in China and the US. Soon thereafter, I found myself in the classroom.

These days, my tutoring approach is to continually map out a student’s abilities against his or her learning goals. If a student is preparing for a test, I make sure we address the student’s weaknesses early on, clarifying concepts and practicing many questions. This method has been proven time and time again, particularly in Asian countries where success hinges largely on one’s performance on standardized tests.

Aside from teaching test-taking skills, I help students learn to recognize the many common errors which may not be obvious to an untrained eye. I also help them recognize and correct problems in areas of topic development, logical arguments and coherence. In Math, I am able to see problems from the perspective of math learners. This enables me to introduce concepts to them in an accessible way, boosting confidence. Once concepts are in place, I show students quick and smart ways of answering many SAT math problems, so they are left with abundant time to tackle the more challenging ones.

It is always a pleasure to see the confidence students exude when they know they are well-prepared for a test. When I take on a student, we work hard, but there are always good results. More often than not, my students have a good time along the way.

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James’s subjects

English:
SAT Reading, SAT Writing, TOEFL
Language:
Homeschool:
Test Preparation:
SAT Math, SAT Reading, SAT Writing, SSAT, TOEFL
Corporate Training:

Algebra 1

When I teach Algebra I, I do not assume that a student is a math genius. I explain concepts and principles in easy-to-understand and intuitive ways. I try to show the student what rules, theorems, or principles to apply in the solution of a problem. With a familiarity of all the basic concepts, students can confidently tackle any problem relating to expressions and operations, equations and inequalities, functions and statistics.

To identify any existing misconceptions a student might have, I carefully observe each student go about solving the problem at hand. Once I understand his/her thought process, I can be very efficient in my instruction. As the student goes from one step to the next, I provide hints on directions to take, up until the student successfully finds the solution. Given some practice, each student will develop a feel for the correct approach to solving any math problem.

Some of my students came to me with “math phobia,” but I have been able to help them learn and become proficient in math problem solving.

Algebra 2

I teach algebra II the same way I teach basic Algebra, with easy-to-understand and intuitive language. Using a student-centered approach, I help the student navigate unfamiliar waters in this subject. Topics covered include functions, “families of functions,” equations, inequalities, systems of equations and inequalities, polynomials, rational and radical equations, complex numbers, and sequences and series, etc. Problems at this level are a little bit more involved, but they are manageable once students develop an understanding of the underlying concepts and principles.

Chinese

As a bi-lingual speaker of Chinese, I thoroughly enjoy teaching Mandarin (putong hua) to preschoolers, K-12 students, university students and Chinese learners in the workplace.

Because my undergraduate degree is in engineering and I have an MBA in international finance (from NYU), many intermediate-level students come to me for CSP (Chinese for Specific Purposes) instruction, in which I tailor classes to meet professional needs. Specific CSP modules in the past have included the terms currently used in fields such as law, IT, medicine, and engineering, as well as the customs and typical phrases used in negotiations, presentations, business dinners and unexpected “problem solving.”

I have developed a short module for people planning a trip to China; this module includes the most commonly used Chinese phrases for touring, including languages used in hotels, restaurants, general small talk and even “mini-crises” (“Where is the nearest ATM?”). I make sure to teach the basic “must-know” cultural practices and taboos.

It goes without saying that, as a father of two bilingual daughters, I also have great fun teaching young people to speak basic Mandarin.

My methodology is this: depending on the student’s interests and goals, I teach pin yin (Romanized spelling of Chinese characters), Chinese characters (simplified or traditional, as desired), and usually emphasize speaking/listening skills. Some of my advanced students choose to add reading and writing exercises to the mix. I am a firm believer in contextualized learning, and so, I provide many examples of new vocabulary and phrases in typical contexts, to allow maximum learning and reinforcement in a short time.

Geometry

When I teach Geometry, I do not assume that a student is a math genius. I explain concepts and principles in easy-to-understand and intuitive ways. I try to show the student what rules, theorems, or principles to apply in the solution of a problem. With a familiarity of all the basic concepts, students can confidently tackle any plane, solid, or analytic Geometry problem presented to them.

SAT Math

The math section is just about the most coachable part of the SAT. The test covers only a finite number of concepts that students are expected to master, the application of which is always simple and straightforward. Once a student is familiar with all concepts, the remaining task is to learn to solve problems quickly and efficiently. As a tutor, I will make sure you become familiar with all concepts tested by the SAT and I will show you how to manage time when solving different types of math questions. My system is simple but effective; many of my students achieve the full score of 800.

SSAT

In recent years, many students have decided to apply to private middle schools and high schools. The SSAT test is frequently an admissions requirement. SSAT is offered at two levels: Lower (candidates currently in grades 5-7) and Upper (candidates currently in grades 8-11).
To get into a top private school such as Andover, Exeter and Hotchkiss, applicants are typically expected to have over 85% on the SSAT; less competitive schools expect 75% or below.
My teaching method for SSAT is to first diagnose each student’s strengths and weaknesses. I design a curriculum to meet each student's needs. When taking the SSAT Verbal test, a student needs to know a large quantity of low-frequency vocabulary words. Students must be especially good at identifying the logical relations of the words in the two- and three-term analogy questions. To prep for the SSAT Verbal test, I assign vocabulary work and we practice with synonyms and antonyms.
When taking the SSAT Reading test, a student needs to understand reading passages and answer 40 multiple-choice questions. To prep for the Reading Comprehension test, I teach strategies for skimming and scanning, inferencing skills, author’s attitude and use of examples, definition in context, interpretation questions and author’s purpose and other literary devices used in the passages.

For SSAT essays, I make sure that students are exposed to a wide repertoire of rhetorical strategies. I show samples of excellent student writing, and we talk about organization, supporting one's ideas, sentence structure and language usage conventions. Finally, to do well on the SSAT essay, the student must write a solid essay that is coherent and cohesive, and that contains few errors.

TOEFL

To get a high score on TOEFL iBT, the student needs to demonstrate competencies in four skills—reading, listening, speaking and writing.

In reading, the student needs to learn to preview the passage quickly, and then work the easier questions efficiently to absorb details and form a deeper insight. Armed with this, the student can tackle the more difficult questions towards the end of the section.

In listening, the best strategy is to become familiar with the four knowledge domains—physical sciences, life sciences, social sciences, and the humanities/arts—covered by the test and to learn to use a top-down listening method which greatly enhances a person’s understanding of spoken discourse.

In speaking, while the student is expected to speak fluently about a variety of subjects, it is also very important for the student to become used to the time constraints placed on responses. This requires the practice of answering questions based on structured templates.

In writing, one is expected to write clearly about ideas either provided in the test or created by oneself. Tried and proven formats can help the student concentrate on the ideas.

I will help the student master all necessary skills and address any special needs a student might have.

Read all subject qualifications »

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Education

Tsinghua University, Taiwan (Nuclear Engineering)

New York University (MBA)

Hourly fee

Standard Hourly Fee: $50.00

Travel policy

James will travel within 15 miles of Princeton, NJ 08540.

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