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SAT or ACT? It's Easy to Determine

I assume you already know these two exams, so how to pick which one to take? The Best Option (only apply to those who still have a lot of time to prep for the test ex. Freshmen, Sophomore, or Junior who has nothing else to do): Take both test. Do the practice tests (only the ones that are very close to real one) and see which one you score higher. And then, choose the one that you scored higher!    Otherwise SAT -- if you are more into English ACT-- if you are more comfortable with math and science   In addition, because SAT is more of a "reasoning" test that tests your ability, it is more tricky to most students. And for ACT, it is more a straight forward test that test you on certain required topics. But in conclusion, you have to study for it before you take the actual exam. You have no idea how many students mess with these serious exams and ruin their chances of getting into dream colleges.    If... read more

Things a good tutor should say and discuss with you:

As the school year ramps up again, I wanted to put out a modified version of a Memo of Understanding for parents and students. It seems each year in the rush to get through the first weeks of school parents and students forget the basic first good steps and then the spiral downwards occurs and then the need for obtaining a tutor and then the ‘wish for promises’ from a tutor. Pay attention to your child’s folder or agenda book. A student is generally not able to self regulate until well into high school. Some people never quite figure it out. Be the best person you can be by helping your child check for due dates, completeness, work turned in on time. Not only will this help your child learn to create and regulate a schedule, it prevents the following types of conversations I always disliked as a teacher ("Can you just give my child one big assignment to make up for the D/F so they can pass"; "I am going to... read more

Why I Do What I Do

Tutoring is the love of my life. I've found that without it, I get grumpy. Why do I like it so much? What about it is so transformative? I get to share the fascination of the world with my students. Sometimes I forget just how beautiful and mysterious this world is that we live in. When I have my lessons, I get to remember. It’s pretty common that the work we’re doing reminds me of something awesome, and we take a quick break to marvel at whatever-it-is. Like, we were working on the ACT Science yesterday, and radioactive Uranium came up. Break time! Do you know how the Uranium bomb works? ACT Science again, ultraviolet light. Time to look up UV, bees, and flowers! And again with the International Space Station. Have you seen Wringing out Water on the ISS? Science is so cool :) I get to watch my students become confident and smart right before my eyes. I love giving those little bits of encouragement and watching my students follow that path I’m setting for them... read more

Be Like Water...

Humans have a tremendous capacity to learn and adapt. However, we consistently build barriers that hinder our natural ability to change and grow. Many people, regardless of age, perceive themselves as not being talented enough to excel at math and science. They view math and science as the realms in which only scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and geniuses truly soar. Nothing could be further than the truth. Sure, possessing a natural affinity towards these subjects helps. Yet, a supposed lack of talent does not prevent you from learning. The path may be more arduous. The journey may be longer. Nevertheless, you possess within you the fire to endure. Willpower, dedication, self belief, and an open mind can compensate for any lack of ability. Bruce Lee was a legendary martial artist, actor, and philosopher who continues to inspire millions with the sheer intensity which he pursued his endeavors. Frail, sickly, and small as a child, Bruce Lee overcame many physical... read more

SAT / ACT Test Taking Tips

Be Prepared! The night before, collect: plenty of sharpened #2 pencils an eraser a small pencil sharpener (in case your pencils break during the exam) a watch (you cannot rely on the proctor and there may not be a wall clock or it may be on the wall behind your seat) your calculator your admission ticket your identification  directions to the testing center tissues medicine (if necessary) disposable earplugs (if you find the background noise of people coughing and fidgeting distracting)   (   ( It may be helpful to collect these items in a clear plastic (Ziploc) bag that you can grab and go in the morning. If you have to search for these items in the morning, you are likely to forget something or become frazzled. Eat a substantial breakfast that will provide you with sufficient energy throughout the test... read more

Advice to my younger self- the student

IF I could go back in time and give my younger self some advice on how to be a better student, be more successful in school, life, etc, I would definitely tell myself that being involved in everything comes at a cost. It is better to find a few things that you like to do, do them well and often, than feeling stressed because there is so much on your plate at one time. Being a 'Jack of all Trades' it is natural for me to dip my toes in different waters- all at the same time, but that does not mean that I can give 100% to any of them at that time. While I was able to get good grades (A- average) while in school, I was impressed by how much better I did- and felt about my work- the few times that I scaled back on my activities. Another piece of advice that I wish that I could bestow upon my younger self would be to learn how to speak up in a group setting when someone is not fulfilling their part of an agreement. Now, this said, the best way to do this would be in a tactful... read more

Suggestions for finding the BEST tutor for your child or student.

When interviewing a prospective tutor, parents should ask about the tutor's skills and experience, and find out if the tutor truly enjoys teaching. When the tutor feels enthusiastic about the subject, and communicates well, the student has an opportunity to learn to enjoy the subject too. I recommend for parents to observe the first lesson to see the tutor's skills in action, and watch/listen carefully to future lessons when possible, to make sure the tutor has an encouraging, supportive attitude at all times. (Tutors should welcome and respond positively to the child's questions, and NEVER make the child feel "stupid," no matter what.) It is most important to have a safe and quiet place for studying, without distractions. I like to find a quiet table at a library, and work with students there. I welcome suggestions from parents, and I am always looking for ways to improve my teaching skills.

Molecular geometry, electron geometry, covalent bonds: N-A equals S equation

The equation below is used for Covalent Bonds, Molecular geometry, electron geometry, and structural formulas to figure the number of bonds in a molecule. N-A = S equation to figure the number of bonds in a molecule N = needed: the sum of the number of valence electrons needed by each atom (2 for hydrogen, 8 for all other atoms) A = available: the sum of the number of valence electrons available for each atom S = shared: the number of electrons shared in the molecule S/2 = the number of covalent bonds in the molecule If you need any help with these concepts, please contact me for tutoring. Thank you very much, John M.


Q. Where will we meet for tutoring? A. We will try to find a suitable place that is convenient for both of us. Though I do travel to meet you, time and distance are important factors in making this work feasible and profitable for me, so I try to find locations that minimize my travel time, while also providing convenience to you. Q. How will we decide on a time to meet? A. We will try to find a suitable time that is convenient for both of us. Q. When are you available to tutor? A. It varies from week to week, but my general availability begins at 10:00 a.m., Monday through Saturday, and ends at 9:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and at 3:00 pm Saturday. Please contact me for my current availability. Q. How long will each session be? A. The session length can vary, depending on the subject, the student, and the schedule. Unless otherwise agreed, the session times will be two (2) hours each. Q. Why do you recommend two (2) hours per session? A.... read more

America's Science Problem

"America's Science Problem" is the title of an article in the November 2012 issue of Scientific American. It is a surprisingly provocative look at the American political parties and their attitude towards making decisions based on facts. It is at once alarming and funny. Funny, because it is true. The abstract and lead paragraph are copied below. The entire article can be purchased at but the magazine is full of great articles this month. Read it and think. Abstract: A large number of major party contenders for political office this year took antiscience positions against evolution, human-induced climate change, vaccines, stem cell research, and more. Such positions are surprising because the economy is such a big factor in this election, and half the economic growth since World War II can be traced to innovations in science and... read more

Physical Exercise and Nutrition DO affect our brain performance and brain health.

As you may know, I am a big fan of the well-known author and brain specialist, Dr. Daniel Amen. He mentions in several of his books that Physical Exercise is good for the brain. I have read of research studies that showed a clear correlation between IMPROVEMENT in students' test scores in math and science, and their level of physical activity (for example, when math class followed PE class, the students had significantly higher scores). Maybe we should schedule PE before all math classes in our schools. What do you think about that idea? This morning I read an online article on the myhealthnewsdaily site, entitled "6 Foods That Are Good for Your Brain," and another article about how Physical Exercise helps maintain healthy brain in older adults too. The second article, "For a Healthy Brain, Physical Exercise Trumps Mental Workout" was found under Yahoo News. The remainder of this note is quoted from that article: Regular physical exercise appears... read more

Test Prep Students-3: ACT? SAT? ACT and SAT? Oh my!

Which test to take or if he should take both tests is determined by what colleges he is interested in. Generally even the top schools in the Midwest are looking for high ACT scores, and writing the essay is a plus. The big schools on the coasts generally want the SAT. (Its essay is not optional.) However, to maximize your investment you MUST investigate each individual school's expectations of its incoming freshman class. If both tests are indicated on the basis of what I've just said, then my counsel is to prep and sit for the SAT first, then the ACT.   You may even want to schedule one of each test before investing in paid test prep. It's enormously helpful to me to have that baseline already drawn.   On test dates occurring in December, April, and June, it's even possible to obtain a copy of the exact test and your students' answers. This request is called Test Information Release (TIR). You can request a TIR at the time that you register... read more

How Expectations Matter

On September 17, 2012, Morning Edition (on National Public Radio, or "NPR") shared this article: "Teachers' Expectations Can Influence How Students Perform." I recommend it. Here's the link: So, what are my expectations? That all can succeed, given sufficient support and guidance. 1. Students who believe they can't do something, after being shown and walked through examples, often can, when the tables are turned. Just ask an Algebra II student of mine who had to teach me quadratic equations to finally appreciate that he got it. 2. Students so afraid of failing that their minds freeze up and feel empty often suddenly know their subjects, when the tension and fear are broken by the surprise of a good laugh. 3. Perhaps most important of all, as suggested in the article, students are encouraged by the reflection of their own potential in... read more

Making math and science fun

Playing a math game. Following a recipe. Building a science project, robot, or electronic kit... These are some ways to use hands-on learning activities to make science and math more interesting. This summer, for example, I have been using some new modules that include electronics/science of electricity, automotive engine technology, solar energy labs, etc. for "gifted", "average", and "special needs" students. And everybody loved the new study lessons. Even the ADD/ADHD students (myself included) stayed interested during entire lessons. I think we need more of this sort of thing in the schools. What do you think? If hands-on learning can keep the attention of ADD/ADHD students, it can work for other students too! I enjoy watching students learn through interactive games that utilize technology. For example, we like to race the clock and fill in math and science puzzles. There are many active ways to make learning more interesting, and before... read more

The Best Way to Prepare for

The best way to learn and study for tests is to use technology. Websites like StudyIsland give you a chance to run through subject matter sample questions, at 10 or 15 or 20 at a time. Studies show that repeated scores averaging say 80%, result in a most probable 70% on the actual quiz, test, exam taken. The good news is you can practice online until you have command of the topic. As your average goes up so does your probable quiz, test, exam score go up. The bad news is that it costs to use Websites like StudyIsland. As a tutor I have my own access which I will let you use while I am tutoring you.

ACT Testing

It is never too early nor too late to start preparing for the ACT. A higher ACT score means more chance at scholarships and the possibility for a higher scholarship award! Many people go into the ACT unprepared. Many people aren't sure how to even get started. If your school doesn't offer ACT guidance, you can find all the information you need at and register for the next test date... Next ACT Test Date October 27, 2012 Registration Deadline: October 5, 2012 The other thing you need is someone who can help you prepare for the ACT. I have over 5 years experience in the ACT alone as well as over 10 years tutoring one on one. Math and Science ACT are my specialty, and if you need help, feel free to contact me. However you go about it, make sure you are prepared! It is not a test to be taken lightly. It's a test that "pays you" in the future!

New tutor to this site...

Hi, I'm a new tutor to this site. Within the past few days, I've been working on getting certified in as many subjects as possible. These are all of the subjects I'm certified to tutor in on the website. Most of the subjects are in math or science. Some are in English topics as well like in reading and writing, etc. I also am certified to tutor to prepare for a lot of standardized tests and a few common computer software programs people use. Please read my profile if you need a new tutor in the Hillsboro or Portland area! -Ann

Upcoming Test Dates

Summer is a good time to prep for the ACT. The pace can be regular but relaxed, there's time to cover all subject areas, and practice tests can be spaced out. You can get results from the September ACT just in time for most early decisions! Upcoming ACT Dates: September 8, 2012 (register by 8/17/12) October 27, 2012 (register by 9/21/12) December 8, 2012 (register by 11/2/12) Upcoming SAT Dates: October 6, 2012 (register by 9/14/12) November 3, 2012 (register by 10/5/12) December 1, 2012 (register by 11/6/12)

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