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Vanderbilt University (Biology and Spanish)
I am from the D.C. area originally and graduated from Vanderbilt University with a dual degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology and Spanish. My G.P.A. at Vanderbilt was a 3.74 and I graduated with cum laude honors. I now work as a research assistant in an HIV lab at the National Institutes of Health and will be starting medical school in August. Having just taken the MCAT, I have a strong background in all the basic sciences including Biology, Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Physics, and Biochemistry. I am bilingual and fully fluent in Spanish because I studied abroad in Madrid for a semester, Buenos Aires for a summer, and Lima, Peru, for a month to volunteer in a health clinic. I worked as a medical interpreter for two years at Shade Tree Clinic, Vanderbilt Medical School's free clinic as a Spanish translator for patients with limited English proficiency.
Additionally, I have worked as a private tutor for students in the Nashville area and the Washington D.C. metro area during the past four years in subjects up through AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Physics, Math up through calculus, AP Spanish, and SAT/ACT preparation. Because I love teaching and helping students to understand difficult concepts, I worked as a teacher's aid for a year in math and science classes at Claremont High School in Worcester, Massachusetts. I enjoy tutoring because it enables me to inspire others to realize the importance of learning. My teaching strategy is less lecture-based and instead encourages students to think critically and solve problems, not just passively listen to me. I would not have made it to my position at NIH had it not been for the dedication of a select few teachers I had in high school and college. I was fortunate enough to be learn many of the science concepts I tutor by working in research labs at the National Institutes of Health in West Nile Virus and Hepatitis C research, as well as Type I Diabetes research at Vanderbilt Medical Center. I wish to similarly inspire students in a variety of subjects, so that they can discover what they are passionate about and ultimately succeed academically. I am from the D.C. area originally and graduated from Vanderbilt University with a dual degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology and Spanish. My G.P.A. at Vanderbilt was a 3.74 and I… Read more
In my first lesson with John, he was able to quickly identify some of the concepts I was struggling with in preparation for the MCAT. He was very attentive, and had many useful study aids such as ExamCrackers MCAT books. After outlining where I might have difficulties on the MCAT, we went through about 20 electrochemistry problems, taking time to analyze and discuss the more complex problems. It became obvious to me that John has plenty of useful strategies to offer for every section of the exam, and I'm happy to continue taking his affordable lessons rather than the typical far more expensive MCAT tutors of the Kaplan and Varsity Tutor world.
John is a very intelligent, reliable, and kind tutor that I would definitely recommend to any science student. I needed help preparing for the MCAT and John, having recently taken the test, offered his expertise to help me in Physics, Chemistry, and Biology. Whereas other tutors seem to just regurgitate material in textbooks, John provided examples that enabled me to understand complex concepts like acid/base chemistry, projectile motion, kinetic and potential energy, and optics, just to name a few. If you need an MCAT or science tutor in Chemistry, Physics, or Biology, tutor, look no further! You will not be disappointed.
John was very prepared and had lessons planned when we started. He was able to answer my questions clearly and offered alternate ways of solving problems that helped a lot.
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I have been tutoring the ACT over the past four years. I scored a 720/800 on the SAT math I subject test and a 720 on the SAT math II subject test, which is within the top 90% of scores. I also received all A's in high school math classes and 2 grades of A- in college Calculus I and II (though Calculus is not on the ACT it does help me tutor advanced math better).
I spent a year working in a middle and high school in Worcester, Massachusetts that was identified by the department of education as needing extra support because of the poor college placement of the students. I was a NOYCE (through the department of education) tutor who would work with ESL students and many students with ADD/ADHD and Asperger's. Because I was interested in these aspects of human psychology, I took developmental psychology at Vanderbilt University, which is a class in the Peabody school of education. Peabody is the #1 education school in the country, and I got an A- in this very rigorous class. Many of the students I have privately tutored over the past four years additionally have ADD/ADHD, and thus I try to use a more hands-on approach with them that encourages problem solving to learn instead of just lecturing to them for an hour. This method was taught to us in developmental psychology at Vanderbilt, as students with ADD and ADHD can be highly intelligent, but may have issues with focusing when there is not a direct task in front of them. I encourage making lists with some students who I feel will benefit by being able to cross things off once they complete a task. This encourages successive productivity because I reward them when each task is complete.
I excelled in high school and college math, earning all A's in high school math (algebra I and II, geometry, Precalculus, Introduction to Calculus) as well as college Calculus I and II. I have been tutoring math of all levels over the past four years, and really enjoy helping others understand tricky problems.
As a molecular and cell biology major at Vanderbilt University, I excelled in my genetics class, which is known among biology and pre-medical students to be the hardest class in our academic program. The class is extremely competitive, with the majority of students scoring around 65-70% on exams. It is in fact so competitive that the school grades the course based on a standard so that the average grade is a C+ each year. I earned a B+, which put me in the top 10% of the class. Genetics was hard, but it was also one of my favorite classes in undergrad, and since I spent so long studying it, practicing problems, and helping fellow students in the class with problem sets I feel comfortable tutoring genetics at a high school or college level. This past year I tutored a student in AP Biology for over 50 hours, many of which were spent doing practice genetics problems for her AP exam.
As a student applying to medical school, I am well aware of the importance of high performance on the MCAT. I recognize that the test can seem overwhelming, but I believe that persistent study and development over the course of months, and not weeks, can lead to success. At first I doubted if I could do well on the MCAT, but you must realize the test is not about memorization. If medical schools wanted to see how well you could memorize information they would simply look at your transcript. The MCAT is about analyzing your abilities to solve problems, analyze confusing passages (especially on the verbal section), and use the process of elimination to arrive at the best possible answer. As someone who has privately tutored subjects up through AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Physics, math up through calculus, and the MCAT over the past four years in addition to doing well on the MCAT myself, I am confident I can help you succeed.
Physical Sciences: The Physical sciences section was my best section on the MCAT, as this part of the test is the most straight-forward. While some pre-medical students that are more grounded in biological sciences find this section intimidating, especially the passages, I teach tactics that will help you eliminate silly answers that are designed to confuse you. Often times you do not even have to read the passage in order to answer the vast majority of questions on this part of the test correctly. Whereas there is more ambiguity on the verbal and biological sciences section, I can show you how this section should seem the most straight-forward and easy to tackle.
Verbal Reasoning: While I initially struggled on the verbal reasoning section, I came to realize that it likely seems so hard because the intent of the exam is to confuse you, make you doubt yourself, and waste time in the process of doing so. I stress techniques that will show you to use time effectively on the verbal section and read to answer the questions. The key is focusing on the MAIN POINT of the passage, and while this sounds simple it can be very confusing, especially on philosophy or legal passages that are outside of the comfort zone of the normal pre-medical student. The key is practice and learning techniques to master time usage, as on verbal reasoning timing is critical.
Biological Sciences: Besides three years of experience in biomedical research at both the National Institutes of Health and Vanderbilt University Medical Center, I majored in molecular and cell biology and Spanish, and thus this section of the exam was the most directly related to my college studies. I can help you narrow down what you really need to focus on: there are definitely a few concepts that are constantly tested on every MCAT exam. Again, it’s not all about memorization, but rather a specific way of thinking and skills involving process of elimination. If you learn these skills well you can stress less about memorization because you can use the information provided to get to the correct answer, or at worst narrow it down to a 50-50.
I am sure that I can help any pre-medical student develop the skills they need to perform well on the MCAT. Since I have been there myself, I know how stressful it can be, but you can do it if you devote the time and attention to preparation that this test demands.
I received an A- and A in Organic Chemistry I and II in college, respectively. As a molecular and cell biology major, a solid basis in organic chemistry was required for the advanced Biochemistry and Nucleotide Transaction classes that I took as a senior. My grades in those classes were an A and A-, respectively.
I did very well on the math portion of the SAT, as well as the subject tests for math, which are a lot harder. I scored a 720 on math I and a 700 on math 2.
I have been tutoring the SAT and ACT for four years. The science section on the ACT is very easy for me to tutor in because I just took the MCAT, which is kind of like the ACT science on steroids.
I started studying Spanish in the first grade, and have taken Spanish classes in school every year since then. In high school participated in an exchange program in Buenos Aires, Argentina during the summer before my senior year. I became fluent in Spanish because my host family did not speak English. This is the hardest way to learn a foreign language, but it is also highly effective. I aim to hold the majority of tutoring sessions in Spanish and only switch to English when absolutely necessary, since this method encourages greater retention and develops fluency.
I began college knowing that I wanted to double major in Spanish and Biology, and deciding this early on enabled me to plan my college career to be able to study abroad for a semester in Madrid, Spain, while still completing my pre-medical coursework and graduating in four years. Prior to attending Vanderbilt University I worked as a teacher's assistant in a high school in Worcester, Massachusetts, for a year, where I tutored many students whose first language was not English. Sometimes I would translate their homework assignments into Spanish or offer further instructions in Spanish, since they had problems with English. This experience taught me to be more patient as a tutor, in addition to improving my own fluency.
Being highly fluent enabled me to work as a medical translator for the Shade Tree, Vanderbilt Medical School's free clinic for the Nashville community. I translated for patients with limited English proficiency, so that they could receive medical care from our doctors and nurses. Because I had experience translating, I was chosen to be GlobeMed at Vanderbilt's translator and team leader during our yearly trip to Lima, Peru, where we volunteer in a community health center.
I have tutored Spanish privately over the past four years, from levels as low as someone taking their first lesson ever to a student preparing for the AP Spanish exam, which requires high fluency and great understanding of grammar and vocabulary.
John F. passed a background check on 7/18/14. The check was ordered by John through First Advantage. For more information, please review the background check information page.
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