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Over 1500 tutoring hours

Tom M.

Portland, OR

$65/hr

Expert Exam Prep - 19 years experience teaching technical subjects.

Usually responds in about 5 hours

Expert Exam Prep - 19 years experience teaching technical subjects.

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I've been training, teaching and tutoring on and off since 1987, and tutoring exclusively since 2005.

I tutor simply because I enjoy helping others succeed by mastering the essential principles that will apply in all contexts. I specialize in preparing students for exams like the SAT, ACT, GRE, GMAT and MCAT, but can also help with advanced math, chemistry and physics at both the high school and college level.

I can provide study material and several practice exams. I can usually help a student fully prepare in 4 to 8 weeks.

When it comes to standardized tests, I believe in teaching to the test, because the research shows that is the best way to improve your score.

That doesn't mean short-cuts or tricks; it means knowing the essential principles of math, logic, science and English that you need to score high on the specific test, no more, no less.

While you need to know essential math for the SAT, GRE, or GMAT, these tests are not math tests - they are problem solving tests, so I focus on the strategy and techniques to exploit those essential principles!

Many people have difficulty with such exams because they are nervous about being on the clock or the high stakes. If your real scores are significantly below your practice scores, such anxiety might be the cause. Likewise, if you find yourself forgetting things during the real test that you clearly remember knowing shortly before, you are almost certainly suffering from too much anxiety. (Some anxiety is actually a resource, but too much of a good thing backfires.)

If you experience anxiety with math specifically or tests generally, there are many, many options for dialing down your nerves, so please let me show you a way out of the woods.

If you seek help with math, physics or chemistry, then the main difference in my approach is simply omitting practice tests. The trade-off is that we do have to include ALL the relevant principles, which is actually more work for the student, but it's also more useful.

Finally, I have NO CANCELLATION policy - that means you can cancel any session or all future sessions with NO PENALTY.

I am busy enough that I can usually fill dropped future sessions, and if I can't, I often need the break anyway. Further, I have a 6 year old, so there is always a possibility that I may have to cancel for some emergency with him, and it's just not right to charge a student for a cancelled session when they cannot charge me for the same thing. So I don't!

Testimonials

"Extremely knowledgeable and excellent communicator"

- Lynn, Portland, OR on 3/2/14

"Best tutor!!!"

- Mp, Overland Park, KS on 10/14/14

"Great demeanor and fantastic results"

- Mike, San Clemente, CA on 6/29/13

"Great tutor"

- Maureen, Chicago, IL on 5/20/13

"Amazing tutor. Great experience. "

- Dave, Calverton, NY on 4/26/13

"Amazing tutor"

- Alan, Morgantown, WV on 4/21/13

"Very patient, extremely knowledgeable."

- Daniel, Folly Beach, SC on 3/12/13

"Great Teacher"

- Javier, Fort Worth, TX on 12/5/12

"Thank you."

- Tammy, Glendale, AZ on 11/5/12

"GMAT 670 to 720 in four sessions"

- Pete, Santa Monica, CA on 11/2/12

"Great teacher"

- Sean, Fort Bragg, NC on 10/16/12

"Tom is very patient and incredibly intelligent!"

- Nic, Plano, TX on 9/2/12
Math:
ACT Math, Algebra 1,
Algebra 2,
Calculus,
Geometry,
Precalculus, Probability, SAT Math, Trigonometry
English:
ACT English, ACT Reading, SAT Reading, SAT Writing
Science:
ACT Science, Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Philosophy,
Physical Science, Physics
Business:
GMAT, GRE
Homeschool:
Algebra 1,
Algebra 2,
Biology, Calculus,
Chemistry, Geometry,
Physics,
Precalculus, SAT Math, SAT Reading
Test Preparation:
ACT English, ACT Math, ACT Reading, ACT Science, ASVAB, GMAT, GRE, MCAT,
SAT Math, SAT Reading, SAT Writing
Corporate Training:
GMAT

Approved subjects are in bold.

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 approved in a subject, the subject will appear in non-bold font. Tutors need to be approved in a subject prior to beginning lessons.

Algebra 1

Algebra is a language for writing recipes that do calculations.

It's also the wacky rules for turning one recipe into another, which are called arithmetic when you apply them to numbers.

Once you get familiar with translating between them, you'll sail.

Algebra 2

One of the best parts about Algebra II is that you finish numbers!

The geometry and algebra keep going on into the stratosphere of calculus and variations and multiple dimensions &tc, but at least one big chunk of math wraps up; the imaginary number i "completes" algebra.

(And actually, it does exist, it isn't merely a symbol or concept.)

I first tutored a friend with her algebra in 1987. Since then I've taken a degree in physics and if you google 'sangaku' you'll see one of my favorite types of algebra puzzle.

If the roots and quadratics and polynomials and exponents and rational expressions and systems and analytic geometry have got you down, let me help you do it the easy way.

Calculus

Warning! Some people experience a loss of eyebrows, from being continually astonished at all the amazing things Calculus can do!

I've been tutoring students in Calculus since 2007. I've seen it happen.

"The Queen Of The Sciences" doesn't have to be difficult.

Bishop Berkeley said Newton was cheating on his algebra. Newton said Leibniz was plagiarizing.

So now textbooks use Newton's methods...with Leibniz' notation.

If you use Leibniz methods, it makes a lot more sense...which has to make you wonder why Newton got all the credit.

Geometry

Geometry is a two-part subject;

1) shapes and their sizes

2) argument (AKA, proofs)

We don't just want to know things, we must also know WHY we know things.

We start with shapes anyone can draw in the sand, but the habit of backing up your notions extends across every field of scholarship and created the scientific revolution.

The Greeks tried to model the universe with numbers and arithmetic, thinking numbers only had meaning when attached to areas or lengths. The square root of two defeated that ambition.

Ironically, the modern world largely succeeded crafting a geometrical model of the world, and String Theory presents a geometrical basis for the QM world our "geometrical physics" (so-called for decades) science discovered.

Most of engineering and science still depends on basic geometry, not only for the physical triangles and other shapes necessary for any structure, but also as metaphors for interactions that aren't actually geometrical at all.

MCAT

I earned a degree in astrophysics in 2000 from Michigan State University, which speaks for my skill at math, physics and chemistry. During that primary work, I also took a fair number of courses in biology and botany because I liked them so much, which are relevant for the biological sciences section of the MCAT.

I've also been tutoring since 2005 in physics, chemistry and math, at both the high school and college level. Further, I've been helping high school students with ACTs and SATs and college grads with the GMAT and GRE, including the math, science and English, since 2007.

These all indicate excellent qualification for even quite technical standardized tests.

Philosophy

Philosophy has been called 'the science of everyday life' because as a field it seeks to answer deep questions on the basis of experience that everyone shares.

How can we know things? What can we know? Can we know things? Where are we, really? What comes next? Are we free? Is there a God? Do we really share ideas, or just sounds?

"BS Artist" is a common and fairly accurate description of many of it's students, including some of the most famous. Learning their errors will help you remember their stories.

Like computer programming, the field of philosophy has a focus on strict logic that scares off a lot of students.

If that's what you need help with, we'll jump right into syllogisms, venn diagrams, conditionals and prepositional calculus.

That part is easier than it sounds.

Physics

I took a degree in astrophysics from Michigan State University in 2000. I also worked at the school observatory and did some programming for the SOHO observatory (which popularized coronal mass ejections but is now largely obsolete).

I began tutoring full time in 2005, mostly in physics and chemistry, but with a few students taking standardized tests.

I've never worked with a net (ie, answer sheets) because I've always been working from whatever book my student brings. Sometimes I'll ask you to look up an answer when I'm not sure.

Physics problems are mostly just math with units, though it's been said that physics is for people who never stopped asking kid's questions; "Why is the sky blue, why does it fall so fast, why does it do that?"

Units make measurements quite different from mere numbers; they describe the sizes of particular kinds of things. Miles are not just different sizes, but entirely different kinds of things than minutes.

Equations using units are abstract recipes for calculating one measurement from another... yet our muscles and brains do those calculations all the time!

"Physics" as a subject, is really a language for talking about those interactions which we live and are and cope with daily. Those complex formulas describe the relationships between measurements, and done right, there are far fewer than it seems.

Using them, we can convert one measurement into another, or predict another... or another, including the sort we don't experience directly.

Everyone can judge the speed of a car while deciding to cross the street, or when to duck to avoid a tire swing, or the expected impact when we don't.

With the math and units, we can and have discovered and identified truly amazing things quite far outside our experience... yet we can and must always relate it all back to the Big Five.

(Time, force, rotation, length and charge, the dimensions we experience directly.)

Trigonometry

Master your triangles, and you will have the essential tools for analyzing all structures, for the universe is built largely of triangular relations.

If you're memorizing your way through trigonometry, please stop killing yourself. Let me help you (re)discover a better way.

Done right, trig is absolutely the easiest 'higher' math class on the list.

If you can draw a triangle and set up a proportion, you already have 80% of the essential skills. And if you can't, that's exactly where we'll start!

Tom’s Resources

Tutors have the ability to create educational resources and share them with the WyzAnt community. Here are some of the resources created by Tom. View all of Tom’s resources

Algebra is a language for representing and talking about calculations.   Despite what your teachers might have told you a million times, it isn't *necessary* for everyday life...but neither is art, music, dance, sports, games, history, fiction, or a million other things people do, so...

I bet it's because most of the Western World learned their geometry from the Greeks first, who used the compass and straightedge for their geometry.  To make right triangles with a compass, you could set it to a "L" shape...and stand it on it's "legs." I don't think...

Michigan State University
Astrophysics

Education

Michigan State University (Astrophysics)

Extremely knowledgeable and excellent communicator — Tom is able to explain math and physics concepts in a way that helps my son handle complex problems in pressured test environments. My son looks forward to his sessions with Tom and always feels more confident and relaxed after he has been able to review some tough math or physics questions with Tom. I highly recommend Tom as a tutor. ...

— Lynn, Portland, OR on 3/2/14

Hourly fee

Standard Hourly Fee: $65.00

Travel policy

Tom will travel within 8 miles of Portland, OR 97230.


About Tom

I've been training, teaching and tutoring on and off since 1987, and tutoring exclusively since 2005.

I tutor simply because I enjoy helping others succeed by mastering the essential principles that will apply in all contexts. I specialize in preparing students for exams like the SAT, ACT, GRE, GMAT and MCAT, but can also help with advanced math, chemistry and physics at both the high school and college level.

I can provide study material and several practice exams. I can usually help a student fully prepare in 4 to 8 weeks.

When it comes to standardized tests, I believe in teaching to the test, because the research shows that is the best way to improve your score.

That doesn't mean short-cuts or tricks; it means knowing the essential principles of math, logic, science and English that you need to score high on the specific test, no more, no less.

While you need to know essential math for the SAT, GRE, or GMAT, these tests are not math tests - they are problem solving tests, so I focus on the strategy and techniques to exploit those essential principles!

Many people have difficulty with such exams because they are nervous about being on the clock or the high stakes. If your real scores are significantly below your practice scores, such anxiety might be the cause. Likewise, if you find yourself forgetting things during the real test that you clearly remember knowing shortly before, you are almost certainly suffering from too much anxiety. (Some anxiety is actually a resource, but too much of a good thing backfires.)

If you experience anxiety with math specifically or tests generally, there are many, many options for dialing down your nerves, so please let me show you a way out of the woods.

If you seek help with math, physics or chemistry, then the main difference in my approach is simply omitting practice tests. The trade-off is that we do have to include ALL the relevant principles, which is actually more work for the student, but it's also more useful.

Finally, I have NO CANCELLATION policy - that means you can cancel any session or all future sessions with NO PENALTY.

I am busy enough that I can usually fill dropped future sessions, and if I can't, I often need the break anyway. Further, I have a 6 year old, so there is always a possibility that I may have to cancel for some emergency with him, and it's just not right to charge a student for a cancelled session when they cannot charge me for the same thing. So I don't!

Testimonials

"Extremely knowledgeable and excellent communicator"

- Lynn, Portland, OR on 3/2/14

"Best tutor!!!"

- Mp, Overland Park, KS on 10/14/14

"Great demeanor and fantastic results"

- Mike, San Clemente, CA on 6/29/13

"Great tutor"

- Maureen, Chicago, IL on 5/20/13

"Amazing tutor. Great experience. "

- Dave, Calverton, NY on 4/26/13

"Amazing tutor"

- Alan, Morgantown, WV on 4/21/13

"Very patient, extremely knowledgeable."

- Daniel, Folly Beach, SC on 3/12/13

"Great Teacher"

- Javier, Fort Worth, TX on 12/5/12

"Thank you."

- Tammy, Glendale, AZ on 11/5/12

"GMAT 670 to 720 in four sessions"

- Pete, Santa Monica, CA on 11/2/12

"Great teacher"

- Sean, Fort Bragg, NC on 10/16/12

"Tom is very patient and incredibly intelligent!"

- Nic, Plano, TX on 9/2/12

Education

Michigan State University
Astrophysics

Education

Michigan State University (Astrophysics)


Tutor Policies

Travel Radius
Travels within 8 miles of Portland, OR 97230

Tom’s Subjects

Math:
ACT Math, Algebra 1,
Algebra 2,
Calculus,
Geometry,
Precalculus, Probability, SAT Math, Trigonometry
English:
ACT English, ACT Reading, SAT Reading, SAT Writing
Science:
ACT Science, Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Philosophy,
Physical Science, Physics
Business:
GMAT, GRE
Homeschool:
Algebra 1,
Algebra 2,
Biology, Calculus,
Chemistry, Geometry,
Physics,
Precalculus, SAT Math, SAT Reading
Test Preparation:
ACT English, ACT Math, ACT Reading, ACT Science, ASVAB, GMAT, GRE, MCAT,
SAT Math, SAT Reading, SAT Writing
Corporate Training:
GMAT

Approved subjects are in bold.

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 approved in a subject, the subject will appear in non-bold font. Tutors need to be approved in a subject prior to beginning lessons.


Tom’s Resources

Tutors have the ability to create educational resources and share them with the WyzAnt community. Here are some of the resources created by Tom. View all of Tom’s resources

Algebra is a language for representing and talking about calculations.   Despite what your teachers might have told you a million times, it isn't *necessary* for everyday life...but neither is art, music, dance, sports, games, history, fiction, or a million other things people do, so...

I bet it's because most of the Western World learned their geometry from the Greeks first, who used the compass and straightedge for their geometry.  To make right triangles with a compass, you could set it to a "L" shape...and stand it on it's "legs." I don't think...


Background Check Status for Tom M.

Tom M. passed a background check on 1/5/14. The check was ordered by another user through First Advantage. For more information, please review the background check information page.

After sending a message to Tom, you will be able to order a new background check for $7.99. As part of your tutor selection process, we encourage you to run updated background checks. Please also review the safety tips for hiring tutors.