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My name is Maria, and I love learning -- whether I'm the one doing it, or helping someone else to, such as my four younger brothers, two of whom I have already helped extensively with college applications and essays. I recently completed graduate study at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M, and am available to tutor students at the elementary through higher education levels. My greatest strength is writing; for example, of the 5 major standardized tests I have taken (SAT twice, ACT twice, and GRE), I have never received less than a PERFECT SCORE on writing. That's the 99th percentile, to be precise!
Not only have I performed well on standardized tests and throughout my higher education career, but I also have on-the-ground teaching experience. I taught 40 second grade students (the vast majority of whom were English language learners) during my first year out of college, and, on average, drove them to grow over 1.5 years' worth in reading.
Lastly, I have a real knack for college applications; in fact, I've always said my dream job would be either college counselor or comedian. In other words, whether you want to work on an academic subject or a college/grad school application, I will help you do it well, and hopefully make you laugh along the way!
My English sub-score on the ACT was 34 (out of a possible 36), and my combined English/Writing score was 35. To succeed on any standardized test, a student needs to feel comfortable not only with content knowledge but also with time-maximizing test-taking strategies. I have proven experience with both.
Reading sections on standardized tests like the ACT are all about being able to quickly figure out what you're looking for -- and what information is important to finding it. My average official ACT Reading score was 33 out of a possible 36.
I am best at algebraic reasoning out of all math subjects, because of how systematic problem-solving in this area must be. Mastery of algebra is essential for student success in later, more challenging high school courses, and also in any college-level course that requires logical reasoning.
I scored a 5 on the AP U.S. History exam when I was a junior in high school, not because I studied for the most hours, but because I studied smartly. I would love to help other students do the same, particularly by cementing key concepts and over-arching themes FIRST and filling in specific details second.
I was making college spreadsheets in my spare time during my freshman year of high school. I understand that the college application process can be overwhelming, but I have found the key to navigating it successfully: you must be ORGANIZED and FOCUSED, both of which I will gladly facilitate. As college admissions decisions become more and more competitive, it is essential for students to submit applications that clearly tell their stories and make their voices heard, not only through essays but also through all other application materials. I have extensive college (and graduate school) admissions experience from the applicant's perspective, and I also have extensive experience on the other side, having served as an interview panelist for a major scholarship multiple times.
Succeeding in English courses requires a lot of memorization -- of vocabulary words, grammar rules, and parts of speech, among many other things. Throughout middle school and high school at Ursuline Academy of Dallas, a rigorous college-preparatory high school, my highest grades were always in English courses. More importantly, since teaching literacy (reading and writing) for a year, I know how to make vocabulary and grammar lessons exciting, which is a MUST for student success.
In my State and Local Government class at Texas A&M, I was that student who found lectures fascinating while everyone else was bored out of their minds. I love learning about government and how political systems work; it's why I majored in Political Science, and it's also why I came back to get a master's degree at a school of Government and Public Service. Unsurprisingly, my passion for this subject is why I am an ideal candidate to tutor students who need help with it.
I have been an avid reader all my life, particularly of literature and modern fiction. I excelled in English literature classes throughout middle and high school, and earned a score of 5 on the AP Literature and Composition exam. (Because I also earned a 5 on the AP Language and Composition exam, I was exempt from taking any freshman-level literature classes at Texas A&M. However, I did opt to take an honors class in Women Writers during my junior year, so I do have experience in a rigorous literature course at` the college level.)
I am best at algebraic reasoning out of all math subjects, because of how systematic problem-solving in this area must be. Mastery of prealgebra is essential for student success in algebra, and even in high school/college m`ath more generally. `
I was fortunate to receive excellent instruction in grammar and parts of speech when I was an elementary and secondary student. As I can personally attest, if you're taught this content really well, you'll never forget it.
The SAT Verbal section often intimidates students because it features long passages and rarely-used vocabulary words. The most important thing a student can do while taking the Verbal sub-test, then, is to breathe, stay calm, and THINK. I took the SAT twice during my college application process, and scored 700 and 750 on the Verbal section (on my first and second test date, respectively).
Although the SAT Writing section is still relatively new, a student's score can still send an important signal to colleges about whether or not he or she would succeed in freshman-level English courses, not to mention with writing expectations in other subject areas. As with standardized testing in general, excelling on SAT Writing is about content knowledge AND time-maximizing strategy. I took the SAT twice in my college application process, and while I received a perfect 12 on my essay both times, my overall writing score jumped from 790 the first time to a perfect 800 the second. I would love to tutor students in this subject.
I have loved writing, and continuously worked to improve in my own writing skills, since I was seven years old. I received a score of 5 on both the AP Language & Composition and AP Literature & Composition exams when I was a high school student, and excelled in the writing-intensive courses I took as an undergraduate at A&M. I believe so, so strongly in the power and importance of clear, concise, engaging writing. It would be an honor for me to work with students to help them gain the skills and confidence to feel the same.
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