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Algebra 1

Algebra I students face many challenges, but I have found most who have trouble get bogged down with

- the Distributive Property

- Order of Operations

- Rules of Exponents (where it is covered)

Those are the areas where I normally must concentrate. It's about instilling confidence, every bit as much as it's about problem-solving.

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Algebra 2

Algebra 2 students face many challenges, but none greater than solving equations for an unknown variable. Once a student is comfortable there, we can go on to

- inequalities

- systems of two equations/two unknowns

- quadratic equations

I have taught algebra in the classroom, and there I have learned that having students be comfortable with solving simple linear equations for one unknown variable is the key that unlocks everything else.

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Calculus

Calculus is very different from any other math the high-school student has faced. Therefore, with both high-school students and college freshmen, I start with the concepts most foreign:

- the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus

- the definition of the derivative

- types of integration

From there we go to practical uses of each. In all these topics, I have used them in the working world for years.

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Grammar

The biggest problem students have with grammar is that in most places it's not taught any more - not in high school, nor in college. As a result, we are exposed to terrible writing via social media platforms like Facebook and via non-academic blogs.

To do the subject justice would take a student a semester. So I concentrate on some of the most critical points

- pronouns and antecedents

- subject-verb agreement

- active v. passive voice

- most often misused punctuation,...
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Microsoft Excel

I have both a Microsoft User Specialist certificate in Excel and the International Computer Driver's License. In preparing for these two certifications, the following subjects came up again and again:

- control of the presentation of data, both as charts and as graphs

- statistical analysis of data, e.g. variation and linear regressions

- lookups

- (sometimes) pivot tables

These subjects also happen to be useful in the working world, so students in business...
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Geometry

Most students start having trouble in geometry with triangles. Though I have worked in high school classrooms teaching this subject, I find that many students can grasp simple proofs involving intersecting lines and resulting angles, but I'm prepared to review those subjects as well.

Then it's on to triangles: similarity, congruency, interior and exterior angles, and so on.

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Microsoft Word

Sometimes students need help with the basics in Word, such as

- character formats

- alignment

- spacing

But many students are on to more advanced subjects:

- headers and footers

- table of contents

- formatting media

I am prepared to address all these areas. I have a Microsoft User Specialist certificate in Word, and hold the International Computer Driver's License.

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Physics

The problem students - both high school and college - have with physics is keeping up. A student who falls more than a week behind on the material is asking for a wasted semester.

My job, therefore, is to help students keep up. There are two major components to keeping up:

- know the definitions of terms (much of physics is vocabulary)

- understand the math (which is nearly always Algebra 1 level and seldom higher than Algebra 2)

A student who knows the terminology...
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Microsoft PowerPoint

I have created many presentations with PowerPoint.

Most of mine have been business-oriented and conservative, with few uses of moving text, etc. But those options are available and I know how to use them at need.

I also use Open Office, SlideShare, and Prezi myself for presentation content, but PowerPoint is the standard.

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Prealgebra

Having taught pre-algebra in classrooms, I have learned that what makes students most uncomfortable in that class is common factors and common denominators. My job is to make that subject comfortable.

Sometimes a student can get caught by positive and negative numbers, or even and odd numbers, or comparisons of fractions to decimals - but all those subjects can be conquered through encouragement - which I am prepared to give.

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Precalculus

Much of precalculus involves polynomials:

- solving for a zero (root)

- adding and subtracting

- multiplying and dividing

- graphing; finding max/min graphically

In this sense, precalculus is one of the simplest math classes of all, once the student is comfortable with polynomials and their characteristics. My job is to help make that subject comfortable.

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Trigonometry

My philosophy of trigonometry is this: it's nearly all based on the sides and angles of triangles. For this reason, I make sure that students are familiar with the sine, cosine, and tangent functions, and understand how they contribute to the rest of the basic trig identities.

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Writing

I am constantly working to improve my craft as a writer on social media issues, engineering, bullying, and other subjects. As a tutor, I will always recommend practice.

Many schools no longer teach fine points like grammar, punctuation, or even style. I work with students on these points and give them resource materials to help with their improvement as writers.

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Statistics

Though I am not yet trained in SPSS, I am well-versed in basic statistics through analysis of variance and regression analysis - I have actually used many of those techniques on the job.

More important for students: these subjects are the heart of a first college class in statistics. If you understand the terms and procedures involved, and I am very good at presenting them, the programming tasks are easy.

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HTML

HTML has been around now since the early 90s and although it has been changed a little, it is fairly mature. Web design has largely migrated from creating sites from scratch with HTML to using HTML to create components for sites largely based on PHP.

My philosophy for students is then to have them understand how to create those components, so they can customize PHP-based sites or create attractive form responses. This includes the following HTML elements:

- link anchors

-...
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SAT Math

I have found that the biggest problem students have with the SAT Math section is that they want to solve problems sequentially, when their strengths don't go that way. A student will end up spending too much time on a problem in the middle of the multiple choice and be left short at the end. I try to enforce giving students 45 seconds per multiple-choice problem, and try to convince students to skip problems and come back to them later if they don't know what to do on the spot. Another problem...
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SQL

I have experience in SQL, in particular through beginner and intermediate levels. This includes the following topics, of interest to most students:

- data types

- statistics

- logical functions (AND, IF, etc.)

- grouping and ordering

- union and intersection

- table creation and editing

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SAT Reading

SAT and ACT Reading both have large sections devoted to sentence completion - this may require students to guess definitions of words. I like to work with students to make their guesses make sense, by eliminating what doesn't work, considering other words that DO work, etc.

There are two major considerations to reading comprehension, whether essays are long or short:

(1) Find the main idea.

(2) The answers to all questions are right there in the text.

Students who can...
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SAT Writing

The SAT Writing section measures how well a student can whip up a high-school-level essay. Never mind that college writing is completely different: the expectation on the SAT is five paragraphs, including one for an intro and problem statement and one for conclusions.

There are two major problems students have in preparing for SAT Writing: planning out the essay and managing the 25 minutes given. A good plan will help the student manage the time, and with my college classroom experience...
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Physical Science

Fortunately for most students, physical science usually involves three major topics:

- energy (and work)

- force and motion

- states of matter

That puts a limit on the vocabulary the student must become familiar with, and that means the student can work on confidence. My job is to help with building confidence through one mastery at a time.

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ASVAB

ASVAB, because it is a test required by the military, is in many ways a test of behavior and personal choices at least as much as it is a test of subject knowledge. For that reason, part of my job is to make sure students:

- practice something on that test daily

- get enough sleep

- plans both before and during the exam

- follow directions

And as is often the case in standardized tests, there are many multiple-choice questions. Part of the plan must be not...
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Probability

Probability is sometimes completely confusing for students. Even when they spend a whole grading period on it in Algebra 1 (for instance), they've forgotten everything about it by the time they reach Algebra 2.

My job is to help them understand what the terms mean:

- sampling replacement

- conditional probability

- dependent and independent events

...and so on. It may mean a review lesson, but after that we move forward, vocabulary first.

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SSAT

I have just finished working with a student preparing for the SSAT for a couple of months. She has taken the exam and been interviewed by a prep school and done well.

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ESL/ESOL

First, I have a NJ Certificate in Eligibility in TESL - this means that I've taken several graduate-level courses in this area, and am qualified to take a job teaching ESL in a public school in New Jersey.

Second, I have worked with several international students - college-level and adult - and have seen them successfully improve their written communications.

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Web Design

I specialize in Wordpress Web Design, though I have worked in HTML and CSS before as well. The PHP foundation of such blog-oriented content management systems as Wordpress and Joomla is simply more powerful, and usually results in a better product.

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Differential Equations

My background includes

- high scores in undergraduate differential equations and graduate-level systems of ordinary differential equations

- development of equations of motion for rockets and spacecraft, equations which are actually systems of ordinary differential equations having time-varying coefficients

- simulation of said systems of equations with several software packages, including Matlab

- reduction of said systems of equations into decoupled first- and second-order...
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Public Speaking

I have taught Rhetoric for six years on the college level. Rhetoric - the art of persuasion through speaking and writing - has a speech component. So I've worked with maybe 200 college students on developing their public speaking.

For my part, though I don't often get to address an audience outside the classroom, I've been inside classrooms, addressing students, for over ten years.

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C

I have written a complex program in C used for Web site form-processing. (Any executable programming language can be used for that purpose.)

Students working with me in C language programming should expect the following competencies:

- What C++ does that C does not

- How to address a C compiler

- How to create a main program and see it work

- How to create functions

- How to deal with parameters of various formats

- How to make use of logical statements...
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Computer Programming

Nearly all computer programming languages have common functions, which you must master for a language to pass a course or to program in that language on the job. These common functions include

- accessing input

- formatting and routing output

- repeated operations (via looping)

- logical operations (performed under certain conditions

- basic mathematical and textual functions

- creation of functions and/or subroutines

I generally encourage students to plan...
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Fortran

In a previous life, I worked for NASA, using a simulation program called EASY5 that was FORTRAN-based.

Students working with me in FORTRAN should expect competence in the following areas:

- input and output statements (and formatting of the same)

- simple calculations

- looping

- logical statements (e.g. IF)

- subroutines and functions

A typical introductory class in FORTRAN would concentrate on those areas. Though there aren't very many of those...
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Microsoft Access

There are three major components in an Access database:

1) A set of tables, each of which could be created in Excel, or from Internet response forms, or from a number of other sources, and then imported. They can also be created in Access itself.

2) A set of interrelationships between these tables, defined by one parameter in each, called a Primary Key.

3) A set of queries made on that database, in which parameters may be selected from each table. As part of a query, you may also...
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Mechanical Engineering

I have a Doctorate in Mechanical Engineering. Although my specialties are dynamics and control, students can expect competence from me in nearly every course in a Mechanical Engineering curriculum.

Statics - most of the course is summation of forces = zero, summation of moments = zero

Dynamics - most of the course is summation of forces = mass * acceleration, summation of moments = moment of inertia * rotational acceleration

Vibration - equations of motion of lumped spring-mass-damper...
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PHP

PHP is the language basis for the most popular blogging platforms, such as Wordpress and Joomla. Students may have need to create Web sites from scratch via PHP, but it's far more likely they will be called upon to modify the existing structure of a site by changing the existing PHP code or adding some new features.

I have done this myself for several Web sites, in trying to customize their look and feel, and students may want to leverage that experience.

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ACT Reading

The ACT Reading section offers essays in four different discipline areas, which means there is a chance a student simply may not understand an essay.

Fortunately, it's not necessary to understand what an essay is about to

- identify the main idea

- identify cause-and-effect relationships

- generalize what the author is trying to say

- define specific words, or guess at definitions, based on context

I therefore try to help students concentrate on finding...
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ACT English

I concentrate on two areas with English portion of the ACT:

(1) You'll answer 75 questions in 45 minutes - so I like to give students tips on time management, and I like to help them recognize their strong areas.

(2) There's some vocabulary involved, so I help students focus on areas like prefixes, suffixes and root words, so they can learn to define new words on the fly.

I have never seen a student who didn't improve from one sitting of this test to the next.

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ACT Math

The biggest difference between ACT and SAT Math is that the ACT includes trigonometry. I therefore work with students to get a grasp of the most basic trig identities - most students will not be familiar with them, and others may not have worked with them enough.

Then it's on to reviewing algebra and geometry, especially those topics that appear on the exam again and again, like graphing lines and similar triangles.

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ACT Science

I have had great success tutoring ACT Science. It's little more than Reading with some graph interpretation thrown in, and occasionally some uncommon vocabulary.

With students, I therefore concentrate on interpreting graphs:

- maximums and minimums of value and slope

- dealing with multiple scales

- understanding interpolation and extrapolation

These concepts appear in nearly every ACT Science question.

Vocabulary is particularly important in comparisons...
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