Since 1987, what young minds have taught me in my thousands of sessions with them (both one-on-one and in the classroom) is that they appreciate things that are simple, fun, and practical. They respond to pictures, stories, game-like "what if?" experiments, and real-world examples. They prefer handiwork over paperwork. Most importantly, students love to personalize -- really understand -- what they are learning rather than merely to read books or to memorize things.
REMOVING THE WORRIES
Families are concerned with time and money. Thus, clients are welcome to cancel at no charge! Cost is always negotiable on a case-by-case basis. Students enjoy the lesson or it's free.
Students are afraid of making mistakes. Since we are learning, we're not scared of errors. In fact, during preparation is EXACTLY THE BEST setting for messing up -- we learn more! I like it when clients progress in confidence and know-how enough to notice and correct MY occasional goofs! Since I'm comfortable with my mistakes, students can be at ease with theirs.
Learning is much more about temperament and attitude than intelligence. Our sessions will maintain a calm focus -- always relaxed, flexible, humble, and respectful. While success cannot be guaranteed, half of my WyzAnt clients have rated our lessons most highly. What I can promise is that our sessions will be very different from "school" and quite simple.
WYZANT CLIENT MIX
For 2013, 16 clients (6F, 10M) have purchased 91 lessons. Only 5 lessons (6%) were "one-time" -- clearly, customers are requesting repeat business. Over 60% of the year's teaching time has been with four clients. The summer's SAT "retaker's" Math rank progressed 15 percentiles (on October 5th) -- way more gain than for most retakers (a few percentiles or less). A 2nd test-prep client nearly doubled his exam score (in early November) to qualify for mechanics school training. A scholarship athlete who aimed to pass a business calculus course has scored "C" or better -- 89% most recently -- on the Fall term's tests. Client #4 is working to get through high-school advanced algebra, with the two most recent exams scoring "B's."
Physics and chemistry sessions with 5 college women comprised 10% of client subjects. Advanced algebra and pre-cal made up about another 15%. Business calculus, diff. equations, discrete integration, multi-variable calculus, econ and accounting totaled 30%. Finally, the remaining 45% of tutoring was admissions-test "prepping" -- 2013's main activity.
WHAT I BRING
My interdisciplinary background in energy, electronics, human physiology, music, investments, and sports provides a treasure trove of "true-to-life" examples that can engage a diverse clientele. Hands-on engineering work includes 2000 hours of power-plant testing, plus 2000 hours in labs teaching electronics, water-air-heat flow, vibrations, and technical writing, as well as building a low-hemolysis, pulsatile blood pump for cardiopulmonary-bypass use.
HIGH-STAKES TEST PREP
Too much test time is wasted fooling with equations and calculators. Signs can be missed, fractions inverted, and wrong buttons pushed. Students will learn how to "re-frame" the test questions, avoiding the unproductive "reflex" of jumping "headlong" into equations. Key tools are a few principles and a couple of back-up "safety nets." Math clients will practice applying these tools on every test problem.
Two psychological traps hurt scores: overconfidence on "easy" questions, and changing answers to tough problems. The remedies? Double-checking easy answers (you have time), and keeping your first guesses UNLESS there's a REASON to change answers. (Note: "Feelings" are NOT reasons -- retain your initial response).
Since most exam "retakers" rise less than a few percentiles in rank, we aim for twice that gain: 10-plus percentile improvements.
HOW IT WORKS
Our tutoring lessons can serve one of three typical objectives.
Ideally, tutoring early in a course, as soon as it gets "murky," can clarify things so that the rest of the course will make sense. Or we can have test-prep sessions, much like "warm-ups" with a coach on the driving range or putting green before the golf match. As a last resort and with less chance of success, an end-of-course "sorting-out of matters" may be needed to recover the course and final grade. Kindly email, if handy, a course syllabus -- that will tell me what to prepare for our very first session and for your next exam. Students are welcome at no cost to Email specific, pressing questions for a next-day response.
PHILOSOPHY
Many school challenges have math as "the sticking point." Math processes are typically cast in the abstract language of symbol manipulation with formal rules to memorize. Although this academic approach works for some students, even these students who can recall and use this method have no idea what the equations MEAN. Instead, our session problem-solving will feature reason rather than formulas, comprehension before computation. The goal is to fulfill my URL designation "/oneliners" by expressing the clearest, easiest, and briefest solutions.
PRE-MED PHYSICS AND SPATIAL CONCEPTS
Introductory physics can be boiled down to about two dozen concepts. We will use word-pictures (eating, driving a car, spending money, TV shows & movies, sports) and sketch lots of diagrams to “see” the physics. We will see how the numbers work by “tweaking the knobs” of the formulas.
Trigonometry is all about "triangles simplified." Given two sides and an angle, or two angles and a side, we can specify (under a minute) the three remaining unknowns within +/- 5%. No table or calculator is needed! We will use two simple, overlooked approximations.
Geometry areas and volumes can be estimated with no formulas to remember! Using the area of a square, we can approximate any measure for cubes, pyramids, cylinders, cones, & orbs.
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Brad's subjects
Algebra 2
Picking up where Algebra 1 leaves off, the y=x^2 relation is the starting point for this subject. Learn to "stair-step," "cut in half," and to re-scale systems of equations to "even up" or "cancel." The square, circle, and triangle will form our "template" for all spatial concepts. Students will develop a handy "visual" sense of polynomials, sine waves, and the e^x and ln(x) curves. Algebra 2 overlaps with much of the precalculus description below.
Calculus
Practical training is for science as well as business majors (VT Math 1525 & 1526, RU MATH 126). Calculus is the mathematics of change. Slope (a derivative) is all about observing differences. Integration is simply a "fancy way of adding." Think about your car's dashboard: the speedometer measures velocity. How do you "integrate" the speed? Look at the odometer (an "integrator") -- it adds, or accumulates, the distance traveled. Automatic feedback controls for all kinds of devices and processes...
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Chemistry
It was enjoyable to make the "final four" of the 21 high-school teams competing at the Corning, NY chapter of the American Chemical Society's May 1981 "Chem Bowl". Virginia Tech favored me with a full 1st-year of advanced-placement (AP) chemistry credits. High-school-level chem is likely where I'd be more helpful.
Chemistry is all about the slots in an atom's electronic "outer-shell." We must also attend to concentrations & proportions. Lewis-diagram rules can "size-up" possible compounds,...
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Physics
Having been favored with a BS in mechanical engineering, as well as power plant and laboratory experience, our physics sessions will impart a "down-to-earth", visual sense of how matter & energy move and interact. Introductory physics can be boiled down to about two dozen concepts. We will use word-pictures (eating, driving a car, spending money, TV shows and movies, sports) and sketch lots of diagrams to “see” the physics. We will see how the numbers work by “tweaking the knobs” of the formulas...
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Precalculus
Our pre-calculus sessions will impart a "down-to-earth", visual sense of how any triangles work. Would you like to be able to "see" the three sides and three angles of any triangle without using a calculator or table of values? This can be done mentally under a minute. Given two sides and an angle, or two angles and a side, we can specify the three remaining unknowns within +/- 5%. No calculator or tables are needed! We will use two simple, overlooked approximations. This will serve as a supplement...
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Accounting
Accounting, simply stated, is the "language" used in recording business transactions. The simplest transaction is an actual lump-sum transfer of cash on a specific date. Most deals, however, take non-cash forms and are spread out over time -- sometimes over very long, even indeterminate timeframes. This is when accounting gets very interesting, requiring a deep understanding of the principles, assumptions, and estimates used in producing a particular accounting exhibit. It's NOT so much what the...
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SAT Math
Students can enjoy simple techniques to "re-frame" many of these SAT Math puzzles using a very different, non-academic approach. Our "toolkit" includes: cutting in half, rescaling, "seeing the offset," "stair-stepping," noting counter-examples, using the "middle-value," "spelling it out" for powers & probability patterns, numer/denom tracking, and system "levelling and cancelling." Our cost-free material contains hundreds of multiple-choice and "grid-in" problems. Typical sessions begin with a...
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GRE
Having been favored with a GRE Quant score in the 97th percentile (770/800 scaling), our GRE math sessions will impart a "down-to-earth", visual sense of how the numbers and formulas work. Students can enjoy simple techniques to "re-frame" many of these GRE Math puzzles using a very different, non-academic approach. Our "toolkit" includes: cutting in half, rescaling, "seeing the offset," "stair-stepping," noting counter-examples, using the "middle-value," "spelling it out" for powers & probability...
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ACT Math
Students can enjoy simple techniques to "re-frame" many of these ACT Math puzzles using a very different, non-academic approach. Our "toolkit" includes: cutting in half, rescaling, "seeing the offset," "stair-stepping," noting counter-examples, using the "middle-value," "spelling it out" for powers & probability patterns, numer/denom tracking, and system "levelling and cancelling." Our cost-free material contains hundreds of multiple-choice and "grid-in" problems. Typical sessions begin with a...
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