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University of Southern California (USC) (Comparative Literature)
I completed my M.A. in Comparative Literature on full fellowship at the University of Southern California (USC). I have nearly twenty years of experience as a teacher, tutor, and academic mentor. My extensive experience teaching at universities and tutoring privately -- to students of many ages, in diverse circumstances and in a variety of subjects -- enables me to effectively tailor my approach to a student's strengths.
I consistently rank in the 99th percentile on many standardized tests. I was initially trained by Kaplan Test Prep and taught for them for many years before returning to graduate school. I have had the opportunity to refine my approach to tutoring standardized tests as varied as the GMAT, GRE, ACT, PSAT, SAT, TOEFL, and ASVAB. In addition to standardized tests, I have tutored subjects as diverse as algebra, English composition, biology, the social sciences, along with many others.
Upon my graduation from USC, I was hired by Fortune Tutoring Group in Beverly Hills where I became my company's top-ranked tutor, specialized in the GMAT and the GRE, and catered to challenging and celebrity clients.
The most skilled teachers are not limited by lack of insight into the many ways any one idea can be communicated. These teachers are furthermore capable of adapting the explanation to the needs of their students. Ideally, teachers and tutors are not only knowledgeable, but genuinely interested in their subject matter, as well. Such educators are able to translate not just information, but energy. Such is my objective when I teach. Learning is at its best when the process is an engaging one.
I would welcome the chance to work with you! I completed my M.A. in Comparative Literature on full fellowship at the University of Southern California (USC). I have nearly twenty years of experience as a teacher, tutor, and academic mentor. My extensive experience teaching at universities and tutoring privately -- to students of
I am open to tutoring two students in the same subject for one and a half times my hourly rate.
Carolyn is approved to conduct lessons through Wyzant Online. Wyzant Online allows students and tutors to work remotely via video, audio, and collaborative whiteboard tools. For more information about how online tutoring works, check out Wyzant Online.
If you’re interested in online lessons, message Carolyn to get started.
Carolyn did a wonderful job helping me prepare for the GRE and GMAT. I had to take both tests on a very short timeline to meet application deadlines, and hadn't taken a standardized test or a math class in nearly a decade. Carolyn was able to quickly identify the areas where I would need the most help, and tailored the focus of our sessions for maximum impact on my scores. She's extremely intelligent and able to explain concepts clearly. Great test takers aren't always great teachers, but Carolyn is very much both. My GRE Quantitative score increased by a full five points, and my Verbal by seven in just over a month. I have Carolyn to thank for helping me bump my scores up from "okay" to great! She's prompt, easy to reach, fun to work with, and very knowledgeable. I would recommend Carolyn as a tutor without reservation!
We had our initial meeting with Carolyn and she immediately jumped and began her session and recommended tools and plan for ACT preparation. She was prepared, patient and had a great working relationship with our daughter. We worked with Carolyn for over 6 months and she raised my daughter's ACT Score by 6 points in that time. We are grateful for the work she did to prepare her, from reviewing tough subjects and math concepts, to helping her with test taking strategies. We could not be more pleased with our results.
Thank you so much for taking the time to write me such a great review. I am not at all surprised she achieved what she set out to, and she deserves all her success and more.
Carolyn was the second tutor that I attempted to have as my tutor for the GMAT. After meeting her for our first session I knew right away that I no longer needed to continue my search. She is very knowledgeable on the content and can describe a problem from different points of views. Carolyn, was very flexible with the location and scheduling. Prior to Carolyn I had studied rigorously but my score was not improving. Working with her has drastically improved my GMAT score. I would most definitely recommend her, and I would be grateful to have her as my tutor again. Thank you Carolyn for being so kind and for offering all the help that you could!!! :)
Carolyn started preparing my daughter for her ACT and with Carolyn's assistance, we are optimistic that she will do very well.
Update: In a very short time tutoring my daughter, she has improved her scores dramatically and was able to get the score she needed to qualify for the college she wants to go to. Carolyn was patient, well educated, and really knows what she is doing. We will be back in touch when daughter #2 needs to start her ACT prep.
Reviewed for ACT. Carolyn is knowledgeable, patient, and very friendly!! Also went out of her way to make time & place to meet convenient for us!!
Carolyn is currently tutoring me for the ACTs and she is a tremendous help! She is very well educated and has intelligent strategies that will help ace the ACTs. She is very professional and is great at explaining problems. She doesn't just provide you the answer when you are wrong, but allows you to acknowledge your mistake and fix it. And if you don't understand a problem, Carolyn carefully words her explanation in a way that is easy for you to understand. She's super friendly and easy to talk to. Overall, great tutor and highly recommended!
She definitely helped me reach my goals on the GMAT.
She is very flexible and easy to reach by text or call.
Carolyn helped me with the quantitative section on the GRE. She was the third tutor I've tried, and by far the best (the other tutors I tried weren't from Wyzant, I've had only great experiences with tutors here). I wish I had found her sooner! She helped me for a few weeks before I took the GRE for the 2nd time. In about two weeks, my score went up significantly. Carolyn knows how to explain things in an understandable way. She is so organized, a great teacher, and really knows what she's doing. I can't imagine a better tutor!
I have worked with Carolyn on GRE preparations for about 2 months. I am happy to say that in that short span of time, my scores on both the verbal and quantitative sections of the exam went up by about 10 points each.
Carolyn is a great tutor! She is prompt, responsive, confident, personable, knowledgeable, and reliable. It is evident that she has a lot of experience with the test material and working as a tutor. We discussed not only how to solve test questions, but also guessing and timing strategies.
I highly recommend Carolyn!
I contacted Carolyn to ask for assistance with my graduate school application essays as well as improving my GRE score. In just two hours, she made my originally lengthy and convoluted essay succinct, totally coherent, and something I can really be proud to submit. She has the perfect balance of listening to your suggestions while giving her own. My essay rocks now thanks to her! Our GRE sessions have also been going very well so far. I highly recommend Carolyn!
Not only is Carolyn an amazing person, she is an even more amazing tutor. Carolyn has helped me develop strategies for solving different math problems and taught me a variety of ways to figure out the right answer! She has also provided ACT books! I highly recommend Carolyn for tutoring!
Carolyn helped me study for the GMAT exam, I've been teach 10 lessons by her, she is patient, flexible, and very professional. Her explanation is clear, easy for understanding. Thanks for her passion, and it is fun to work with her :)
I am a mid-career adult working in education and I hired Carolyn to help me study for the GRE.
I had already taken a live in-class 4 week course for the GRE and wanted to improve my performance within a very specific quantitative / math discipline.
Carolyn was able to easily understand my ability, my deficits and my desired score within math practice sets; hence she helped me tremendously.
She was able to quickly determine where my quickest gains would be and where I didn't need to spend anymore time studying.
She has a quick intellect, she's intuitive and is a great listener. Within minutes she got me to the zone of proximal development and taught me what I wanted to know.
Carolyn was a valuable asset and certainly worth the price I paid. We didn't waste a single minute of time and during our time together I not only improved within the math arena - she gave me a better understanding about my skills in the written essay portion of the GRE and consequently improved my confidence.
I would highly recommend her to anyone. THANK YOU! Karin
Carolyn is a terrific tutor!
She is very knowledgeable, experienced, knows how to explain well, and patient. I needed help preparing for my GMAT exam, and Carolyn was the one to reach for, and helped me go through it all. She is patient, flexible, but reliable. Anything in Math and English wouldn't stand in her way.
We had a couple of proofreading lessons as well for my college application, and together we mastered the personal statement and resume requirements. She is very helpful, and would go beyond what is expected, always on time and very efficient.
I would strongly recommend having Carolyn as your tutor, she is the best!
Carolyn is a great tutor and REALLY knows her stuff. I worked with her mainly for the math portion of the GRE and within 1 month I felt more confident than ever to crush the GRE. Aside from being a wealth of knowledge, she has great strategies for tackling the GRE as a whole and excellent advice to keep in mind on test day. In my experience there are some tutors that are just plain boring. Carolyn is NOT one of them. She is always full of energy and eager to teach, which is motivating to anyone preparing to tackle the daunting GRE and GMAT. I guarantee that after working with her, nothing will seem impossible or daunting, and you will 100% go into your test more confident and ready than ever. I more than appreciative of her help, and am excited to move on to the next chapter of Graduate School.
My daughter took the ACTS at 15 without studying. She received a score of 28. A year later after having just a few sessions with Carolyn, she got a 35. Carolyn was very quick in understanding my daughter's weaknesses. She was also methodical in her instruction and confident in what needed to be worked on and how. Carolyn very much understands testing and how to study for it. Now at 17, my daughter has received merit scholarships averaging around $18,000 a year for four years, from several U.S. colleges. It is definitely worth the investment to have a tutor!
Carolyn has been the most important reason I was able to successfully prepare for the GRE and be able to confidently take the exam on test day. She laid out clear and easy to understand rules and guidelines to what to expect on the exam and how to approach a variety of problems. Most importantly, she altered my study schedule to fit my needs and provided me with the materials and knowledge I needed to maximize my performance on test day. Every time we met, she clearly remembered what we had gone over and personalized our meetings to continue to work on my areas that needed improvement.
I am confident that Carolyn would be a phenomenal tutor for anyone who is looking to raise their score. With only a month until test day, she was able to work with me to raise each of my scores by a significant amount. She was friendly, organized, easy to understand, intelligent and an incredible support. Reach out to Carolyn right away and start prepping for test day! I promise you'll feel confident and prepared on test day.
Carolyn did a great job going through all the GMAT techniques in the short two weeks that we had. The sessions were fast-paced and I would always leave feeling accomplished. Hiring Carolyn was my last resort after hitting the same score twice, and I was able to break the ceiling and score a higher score after we met a handful of times! Thank you Carolyn!
I used Carolyn's services for a term paper that had a lot of grammatical mistakes. She helped me to make it look professional. I appreciate her help.
Carolyn has surpassed our expectations of what a tutor can do. Our nephew has been with us on an extended vacation from Colombia; he is 15 years old. So a school for ESL was not possible unless he was 16. It goes without saying, he didn't have a teacher, a class room, a book or assigned lessons. So, we thought of a tutor to help him advance his English. I would think it would be tough for a tutor to come in and work with this kind of situation. She not only is a tutor, but has been a teacher and provider of lessons. Her attitude is wonderful and our nephew likes her very much and has improved his English. Carolyn is easy to reach, returns calls promptly, and has a flexible schedule. Our nephew has felt comfortable with her from the beginning and when asked if he is learning, he definitely agrees. In fact, we are going to ask Carolyn back to help with my husband's GMAT review, as he is trying for his 2nd master's degree, but his first degree in the USA.
Carolyn is prompt, thorough and engaging. She's been a great help to my daughter already after only a few weeks!
I worked with Carolyn to improve my statement of purpose. I can honestly say that she is a very nice person. Plus, she is very talented in writing. She helped to recognize some ideas, change words to be more academic, and correct some grammatical mistakes. I feel more confident with my statement of purpose now; I can say that it will increase my chances in getting admission for the PhD. Thanks Carolyn for your help.
This has been a great experience. Carolyn is always on time and gets started immediately. The time seems to be filled with continuous tutoring.
Carolyn worked with my son in preparation for the ACT test. She met with him twice a week for three weeks. She was very professional and quickly identified what he needed to work on. She was always on time and easy to communicate with. I would highly recommend Carolyn.
Our daughter had her first session with Carolyn and loved working with her. She gives Carolyn 5 STARS for her excellent tutoring skills, friendly demeanor, and rigorous academic approach to the material - Thanks!
Update: My daughter had another great session with Carolyn this weekend. I can see and hear my daughter building confidence and learning valuable skills as she and Carolyn prep for the upcoming SAT. Great to work with a professional and knowledgeable tutor! Thank you for your continued excellent work!
Carolyn is a wonderful tutor. She helped me greatly improve my GRE score. She has extensive experience working with students. She has taught me test taking strategies and the best methods to approach questions. Her explanations are clear and if I do not understand something, she is able to re-word it in a different way. She is very organized and always has a clear plan for each session. She responds to emails and calls promptly. Overall, I would highly recommend Carolyn!
Carolyn tutored our freshman daughter in algebra and biology. I think our daughter is bright, but was a bit overwhelmed by the amount of work required of her and she wasn't able to focus. Carolyn helped simplify the coursework and concepts to a point where my daughter was able to bring up her grades in both courses two grade levels. Carolyn was on time, easy to get a hold of, and worked around our schedules. We couldn't have asked for more.
We feel very lucky to have Carolyn as our 7th grader daughter's tutor for Algebra 1 and English. She has a passion for teaching and is personable, and is inspiring our daughter much more than we have seen in the others.
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.
I have a strong background in English, including a Master's degree in comparative literature. I have taught the English section of the ACT for more than a decade. I was initially trained by Kaplan, where I taught for many years, and continue to favor their materials and methods. However, I am flexible and well-versed enough in the exam to employ whatever materials my students prefer.
I have taught the math section of the ACT for more than a decade. My score ranked in the 99th percentile and I consistently help my students achieve similar results. I was initially trained by Kaplan, where I taught for many years, and continue to favor their materials and methods. However, I am flexible and well-versed enough in the exam to employ whatever materials my students prefer.
I was initially trained by Kaplan, and have taught the Reading section of the ACT for more than a decade. I have a strong background in reading, including a master's degree in comparative literature. My score ranked in the 99th percentile and I consistently help my students achieve similar results.
I have taught the science section of the ACT for more than a decade. I was initially trained by Kaplan, where I taught for many years, and continue to favor their materials and methods. However, I am flexible and well-versed enough in the exam to employ whatever materials my students prefer. My ACT score ranked in the 99th percentile and I consistently help my students achieve similar results.
I first tutored the ASVAB years ago for Fortune Tutoring in Beverly Hills and found the test to be more varied but also easier than the vast majority of other standardized tests with which I have more than a decade of experience teaching and tutoring. Being the wife of an US Army veteran and the daughter of an Air Force colonel has given me a wealth of knowledge about the military, while my expertise in the subjects tested by the AFOQT uniquely qualify me to tutor the exam.
As Einstein's uncle apparently once said, "What a wonderful hunt it must be when we know not what it is we seek, but call it "x" and track it down all the same." My approach to algebra is to attempt to cultivate a sense of interest in the foundations and principles that lay the framework for the math that the student will be tasked with for years to come. Additionally, for high school students, I make a habit of noting what concepts I see reoccurring on standardized tests and in what format.
My background in Algebra II is largely limited to my having tutored countless students in it through the years, at all high school levels, from beginning to advanced. Because my experience with this subject is empirical and practical more than it is purely academic, I have enjoyed marked success in helping students really struggling with understanding polynomials, systems of linear equations, basic trig, etc. Algebra forms the foundation for much of both concepts tested on standardized exams and subsequent math courses, and thus I regard as essential a firm grasp of the concepts grouped under Algebra II (College Algebra).
My serious study of American history began when I took AP American History as a high school sophomore and received a 4 on the exam. I continued to specialize in American culture and history in my studies as a PhD candidate in Comparative Literature, particularly in the areas of early modern, modern, and postmodern thought. I am exceptionally well read on the early colonial period and its Puritan underpinnings.
I've specialized in the mechanics and content of standardized tests for nearly twenty years. I've had the opportunity to prepare many students to take the ASVAB with great success and enjoy making the diverse subject matter covered on this exam simple.
Biology is a science that came naturally to me, and I enjoy laying bare concepts and terms to my students that they may otherwise struggle with. I offer a wide range of help with biology, from long term, weekly or biweekly appts to help students stay up to date with their classes, to more short-term help with projects, quizzes and tests. Please do let me know how I can be of assistance to you.
I have played chess for nearly ten years and have studied many techniques and Chess Masters as a way to more fully engage in the activity. I have taught many students to play as both a learning tool and stress reliever during down time between classes or tutoring sessions. I'm a member of several online chess organizations and relish the opportunity to play whenever I can.
I come from a large Catholic family and began cooking for the family when I was eight years old. I am an experienced baker and cook, and an enthusiastic "foodie". Living in Paris for a year while I was studying at the Sorbonne enabled me to learn firsthand the technique of French cuisine (sauces being central) and pastries (tartes tatin, clafoutis, etc.). More recently, while setting up a philanthropy to benefit artists-in-residence at a friend's villa, I lived for almost a year in a small town called Barga and was able to learn more about Italian food and various specialties belonging to the Tuscan countryside (porcini risotto, broccoli rabe, farro, etc.).
I have tutored elementary math for several companies and for dozens of students over the years. Perhaps because math wasn't as intuitive for me as other subjects were when I myself was a kid and I was so frustrated by this, I have enjoyed marked success translating mathematics to children as an adult. My foray into quantitative tutoring began with my training as a tutor for Kaplan more than a decade ago where I taught the SAT and ACT, GRE and GMAT, among other tests. I'm told over and over again I make math simple where others have failed!
I have helped scores of students through the years to better understand texts and improve their writing. I completed my M.A. in Comparative Literature at USC and am a writer myself when not tutoring and teaching.
I received my M.A. in Comparative Literature on full fellowship at the University of Southern California where I studied literature and philosophy in French, Italian, German and Latin. Because my training is in literature and languages, I am able to appreciate both the difficulties and benefits of translation and mastering foreign languages. Before graduate school, I had the opportunity to serve as an instructor at the University of Oklahoma's Center for English as a Second language. There I was able to apply my knowledge of standardized tests to my TOEFL class and my literature background to courses in English language and grammar.
Having majored in Comparative Literature with an emphasis in French and having lived in Europe several times means my knowledge of European history is fairly comprehensive. I'm especially well versed in French, English, Irish and Italian history, but my understanding of all European history is deeply rooted in the study of its literature and languages. I bring to my tutoring of European history a broad and personal experience of it.
I began French as an undergrad as an extension of my studies in Latin. I took one semester of French as an undergrad before I received a university grant to study abroad, living in Paris for a year. While there, I was permitted to skip the next level to take the advanced class (the equivalent of French III) at the Sorbonne. I later earned my M.A. in Comparative Literature from USC with an emphasis in French literature.
I came to tutor geometry through teaching and tutoring standardized tests like the GMAT and the ACT. Because so much of geometry is based on concepts that can be illustrated, many students who otherwise struggle in math have a predilection for and strength in geometry. As a tutor, I'm able to emphasize whatever those aspects are that make sense to a particular student, capitalizing on a student's preference for the literal (figures) or the figurative (algebra) and relating concepts thematically so every student comes away an expert in geometry.
I was initially trained by Kaplan, where I taught for many years, and I continue to favor their materials and methods. However, I am flexible and well-versed enough in the exam to employ whatever materials my students prefer. I have taught all of the quantitative and verbal sections of the GMAT for more than a decade. My score ranks in the 99th percentile and I consistently help my students achieve similar results.
My background in grammar began early, with a solid eight years of parochial education that emphasized language arts, with separate classes for reading, spelling, grammar, and handwriting. A talent for languages helped foment my interest in grammar, syntax, and style. The exceptionally strong honors program at my university, with a writing course taken in tandem with each class in literature, cemented my inclination toward writing and editing. Though the years, I have served as teacher and editor of grammar to professors, doctors, CEOs, and countless students.
I have taught both quantitative and verbal sections of the GRE for more than a decade. My score ranked in the 97th percentile and I have helped scores of students achieve similar results. My students typically begin seeing the percentage of their correct answers on practice tests skyrocket after only a couple sessions.
I attended Catholic school for 8 years and took classes to learn D'Nealian print and cursive while there. The same school provided mandatory art classes to instruct students in calligraphy, with an emphasis in the Gothic style. As an avid poet and writer, I've been interested in chirography for years and recently learned the Chancery style.
I began studying Latin in high school, completing Latin I, II, and III in two years. I received a silver medal on the National Latin Exam and competed in the state Latin Convention in several areas, including extemporaneous speaking. Upon admission to USC as an undergrad, I passed out of Latin II and began studying French, while maintaining an emphasis on classic literature and philosophy. I have had the opportunity to tutor beginning and intermediate Latin many times in my career and enjoy elucidating the sometimes unexpected rapports between Latin and Roman thought and the various topics I teach and tutor.
My background in literature is extensive and spans decades, with a primary emphasis on American, English and, to a lesser extent, French literature. I have had the opportunity to study hosts of texts from perspectives as diverse as their historical context, composition, and cultural impact, spending the bulk of my undergraduate and graduate study focusing on English and American modern and early modern literature. As a tutor and teacher of literature, I am able to convey how the elements of a text establish the tone and deliver a message through a rigorous hermeneutics and critical thinking.
Logic can -- and, verily, must -- take many forms, given that it governs not only the way in which we reason and the manner in which sound arguments are constructed, but the very way in which we think. Indeed, the work done by post-modern philosophers (the most notable among them being Jacques Derrida) has made great strides in establishing the history of logocentrism as the very history of history itself. I have an extensive background in both philosophy and literature (studied with a comparative approach) both as an undergraduate and a graduate student. Additionally, I received an 'A' in my course in formal logic at USC.
Beginning as a philosophy major as an undergrad, I continued to study philosophy throughout graduate school. I am well-acquainted with ancient and modern schools of thought in a variety of languages and traditions. My study of metaphysics, epistemology, phenomenology, linguistics and ethics underpinned my subsequent specialization in Derridian thinking.
As someone who came to appreciate algebra later than other subjects, I have a keen understanding of how students struggle with cornerstone arithmetic and pre-algebra concepts, and how these issues snowball as a student progresses through the curriculum. Because of my many years preparing students for standardized exams, I am proficient at identifying foundational weaknesses and remedying then efficiently.
My grasp of the foundations of good grammar occurred early, in the form of a solid, private education in which 8-year olds were subjected to an entire 6-month unit on the functionality of the comma and its use. Though doubtless the driest class ever, it nonetheless successfully inculcated in me a meticulousness in my writing and proofreading that lends itself well to copy.
I have been teaching PSAT preparation for more than a decade. I consistently help my students achieve great results. I was initially trained by Kaplan, where I taught for many years, and continue to favor their materials and methods. However, I am flexible and well-versed enough in the exam to employ whatever materials my students prefer.
It goes without saying that reading has been the linchpin of my studies both as an undergraduate and later as a Ph.D candidate in Comparative Literature. I've always enjoyed the ability to easily and quickly comprehend both the content of a text and the many ways in which an author conveys that content on different levels and through various textual elements. When tutoring reading or teaching a text, I encourage my students to engage deeply with their subject, thinking critically about the language, structure, and spirit of the text, so as to fully appreciate the manifold possibilities encoded therein. I am able to "pitch" a text at the level of my student, scaffolding from there to build critical reading skills.
I had the privilege of attending a parochial school from first to eighth grade which, in addition to including a rigorous secular education, also provided me with a strong foundation for my subsequent scholarly forays into theology. At the university, my interdisciplinary training merged the metaphysics handed down from the ancients with the religious thought of the Middle Ages, ferreted out the connections between Protestant doctrine and early modern English and American literature, and explored the radical theologies so often underpinning colonialism and military engagement (just to begin). I have been fortunate, furthermore, to explore divinity, or its conception, as arguably being the raison d'etre of all art, and both the aporia and sine qua non of the ambitious philosophical systems of thinkers such as Kant, Descartes, among many others.
I have taught the math section of the SAT for more than a decade, and consistently help my students achieve great results. Because my score ranks in the 99th percentile, I was initially trained by Kaplan, where I taught for many years. I continue to favor their materials and methods. However, I am flexible and well-versed enough in the exam to employ whatever materials my students prefer.
I have a master's degree in comparative literature and a strong background in reading. I have taught the reading section of the SAT for more than a decade. I was initially trained by Kaplan, where I taught for many years, and continue to favor their materials and methods. However, I am flexible and well-versed enough in the exam to employ whatever materials my students prefer.
As a poet and recipient of a master's in comparative literature, I have a very strong writing background. I have been teaching the Writing section of the SAT for more than a decade. I was initially trained by Kaplan, where I taught for many years, and continue to favor their materials and methods. However, I am flexible and well-versed enough in the exam to employ whatever materials my students prefer.
While serving in my capacity as instructor at the Center for English as a Second Language (CESL) at University of Oklahoma, I had the opportunity to teach a TOEFL class that met every day for two hours. I enjoyed watching the majority of my students pass the test on their first attempts. I've also tutored the TOEFL for many students from many different countries though the years and am well-versed in all sections of the exam.
My penchant for polysyllabics started young, borne out of a natural curiosity about the origins and meanings of words. Later, it was my study of Latin and other Romance languages that fomented my vocabulary and love of philology. With my students, I use a variety of tactics to instill in them new vocabulary: understanding word roots, suffixes and prefixes; identifying associated words and derivatives; and recognizing, wherever possible, common idiomatic expressions or turns of phrase that allude to a word's definition and connotation. Although it is reading, of course -- with an attentiveness to unfamiliar words -- that is the best method for improving one's vocabulary, there are strategies that can help in the meantime.
My background in world history comes largely vis-a-vis my training as a student of comparative literature both as an undergraduate and later as a graduate student. Since my study of world literature was premised on reading in the original language, my study of history was often accompanied by an emphasis on cultural and ideological influences, paradigm shifts, and the influences of colonialism. Having lived abroad several times in Europe adds a personal dimension to my studies.
I started writing at a young age, competing in the Power of the Pen state competition and placing 10th as a fourth grader competing against writers in high school. I later went on to major in comp lit with an emphasis in poetry, becoming the first student to win both Welch awards from my dept. In my senior year, I completed an optional senior thesis to graduate with honors and was admitted by application to an advanced poetry seminar. I taught and tutored writing and composition for many years before completing my master's in literature and continue to tutor writing and freelance edit professionally.