Over 500 tutoring hours

Melissa M.

Laguna Niguel, CA


Effective Tutor for ACT and Upper Level Math & Sciences

Background check passed as of 3/15/14
5.0 average from 133 ratings
— Kaitlin, San Clemente, CA on 5/3/14

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University of California, Irvine
University of Southern California


University of California, Irvine (Biology)

University of Southern California (Master's)

About Melissa

I have been working full time as a private tutor for over 2 years. As an experienced tutor I have the tools necessary to help students learn and improve in a wide range of subjects. I have had great success with students in many courses such as Algebra I and II, Geometry, Chemistry, Biology, AP Physics (calculus and non calculus based), College Level Physics, College Level Algebra and Intermediate Algebra, Precalculus, AP Calculus (both AB and BC), and Integral Calculus. In addition to coursework, I have helped many students increase ACT and SAT scores. The majority of my students show an increase of several points on the ACT after only a handful of lessons.

I have an intensive background in sciences. I have a B.S. degree from the University of California Irvine, and an M.S. degree from the University of Southern California. I have had the privilege to conduct research on many oceanographic expeditions around the world. All of this experience has provided me a much broader understanding of how the knowledge students are learning today leads to amazing things in the world of science.

I am a full time tutor and have held sessions before school and have started sessions as late as 10:30pm. I am a hard worker and dedicated to each of my students and believe that they all can learn and succeed in math and sciences when given the proper tools and direction.

Overall, I would impress that I am passionate about teaching and look forward to working with new students and helping you to achieve your goals.
I have been working full time as a private tutor for over 2 years. As an experienced tutor I have the tools necessary to help students learn and improve in a wide range of subjects. I have had great success with students in many courses such as Algebra I and II, Read more

12 hours notice required

Group rates are offered upon request

Travel Radius
Travels within 10 miles of Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
Background Check: Passed


- Kaitlin, San Clemente, CA on 5/3/14

"Great tutor. Fortunate to have found her!!!"

- Jeffrie, San Juan Capistrano, CA on 7/13/15


- Byron, Anaheim, CA on 6/23/15

"Excellent ACT Tutor"

- Martha, Anaheim, CA on 6/19/14

"Great Tutor"

- Natalie, Irvine, CA on 6/19/14


- Jeffrey, Westminster, CA on 5/19/14

"Excellent Tutor!"

- Michelle, Fullerton, CA on 4/28/14
ACT Math,
Algebra 1,
Algebra 2, Calculus, Geometry,
Prealgebra, Precalculus, Probability, SAT Math, Statistics, Trigonometry
ACT Science,
Anatomy, Biology,
Ecology, Genetics,
Geology, Microbiology, Physical Science, Physics
Test Preparation:
ACT English,
ACT Math,
ACT Reading,
ACT Science,
Microsoft Access,
Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Word
American History
Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Word
Water Polo

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.

ACT English

When I took this test back in high school I scored in the 87th percentile and since then I have become even more comfortable editing passages and papers. The ACT English test is much different from the SAT. The ACT focuses more on Usage/Mechanics and writing strategies. I help students to see cues in the passages that will increase their success on questions. In addition, I spend time practicing test taking strategies that will also improve their scores.

ACT Math

When I completed the ACT Test my score composite score was a 30, which was in the 97th percentile for that year. In the math section, I scored a perfect 35 out of 35. The math portion of the ACT covers the subject matter of pre-algebra, algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. For this portion of the test, I review with students all important equations that they may have forgotten from previous courses as well as step by step solutions for all problems. In addition to this, I will teach students how to approach problems that seem daunting to them allowing them to narrow the responses and improving their overall scores.

ACT Reading

The Reading portion of the ACT contains four passages. The four topics include fiction, humanities, social studies, and natural sciences. I help my students to prepare by giving them clues as to what types of questions to expect with each type of passage. I help them to develop their skills in interpreting the passages. In addition, I work with my students to improve their overall test taking strategies which leads to higher scores in this portion of the exam.

ACT Science

In the science portion I scored at 30 which put me in the 97th percentile for test takers that year. Since then, I have completed a Master's Degree in Science which has improved my understanding of ACT questions even more. The ACT Science test focuses on four major science subjects: Biology, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, and Physics. While a student does not need to fully understand the various subjects they are asked to interpret data sets from each of these categories. I help students interpret graphs, find hypotheses, and give them valuable test taking strategies to help them along the way.

Algebra 1

Algebra I is one of my favorite subjects to tutor. Many students have difficulties making the transitions from basic math into algebra I. As a tutor I am patient and understand my students struggles. I can take all of the topics covered in Algebra and explain them in many different ways, adapting to my students needs, thus making what they are learning very doable.


My interest in Biology started in high school where I took the AP Biology Course (4 on AP Exam). While at UC Irvine, I was on track for a double major in Biology, but was offered a full time position in a Microbiology Lab so decided to lessen my work load and minored in Biology instead. I spent the next two years working in Environmental Microbiology before returning to school and completing my Master's in Biological Oceanography.


Biostatistics takes our understanding of statistics and adapts it to use in a range of topics in biology. The major importance of this class of statistics is to find relevance in research projects and to answer key questions in project design such as:

How many samples do I need?
Which statistical test is appropriate for my data?

I have both practical and educational experience with this subject matter: including multiple statistics courses over the years at both the graduate and undergraduate level and having used these methods in my own research.


I have taken the following Chemistry Courses and passed all in the upper portion of my class:
High School Chemistry
College Chemistry
Organic Chemistry
Biogeochemistry (both in undergrad and graduate level)
Chemical Oceanography


At UC Irvine I completed the genetics course with an A. The course was an introductory course on genetics and covered all the basics. In addition, I took a population genetics course while completing my Master's at USC. This course was much more in depth and dealt with the complicated calculations that are behind the scenes in any genetics study.


Geometry was always one of my favorite subjects! Many students struggle in this course, even after doing very well in Algebra, but don't despair!! You can learn Geometry with a little bit of help. Because I understand the subject matter so well, I can often explain the exercises in multiple ways that help a student to truly understand how to approach problems. Most of my students in Geometry jump at least two grade levels by the end of the semester.

Microsoft Access

Microsoft Access is a relational database program. It has the ability to store and relate information across tables and queries. I can teach you how to create and manage tables and how to set up and utilize queries and reporting capabilities. As a data analyst, I used many of the resources in this program for years to both set up and to analyze large and diverse databases of information.


Teaching swimming is important to every young person in Southern California. I have taught swimming lessons with the Swim America program, a feeder program for the Southern California Aquatics Team based in San Clemente. I can offer swimming lessons to people of all skill levels. My requirements are that any child is potty trained.

Water Polo

Water polo is a demanding sport. It is important to be a strong swimmer and to have quick reflexes. During my senior year at Dana Hills, I was named as an alternate to the CIF All-League team for my section. I spent the summer after my senior year as a coach for our summer league team. I would be happy to workout both your mental and physical abilities in this sport.

University of California, Irvine
University of Southern California


University of California, Irvine (Biology)

University of Southern California (Master's)

Awesome!! — Melissa is so great! My daughter always comes home so excited because she finally understands the subject matter! Having Melissa as a tutor has made all the difference, Kaitlin has gone from a C to an A since tutoring began. We love Melissa! ...

— Kaitlin, San Clemente, CA on 5/3/14

Hourly rate

Standard Hourly Rate: $80.00

Cancellation: 12 hours notice required

Group rates are offered upon request

Travel policy

Melissa will travel within 10 miles of Laguna Niguel, CA 92677.