Mary M.

Montclair, NJ


SAT/ACT Expert: Plus English, Writing, Editing

In-person lessons
300+ Hours
Background check passed as of 7/13/12
5.0 average from 92 ratings
— Hilary, Montclair, NJ on 7/31/12


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Clarke College
Montclair State University, NJ
City College of City University of New York
Graduate Coursework


Clarke College

Montclair State University, NJ (Master's)

City College of City University of New York (Graduate Coursework)

About Mary

Hi! I am an experienced ACT and SAT tutor, also certified to teach all ages from elementary students to adults. I have been a professor at two universities and have worked in the corporate world as a professional editor. Educational credentials: graduated summa cum laude in college and 4.0 in my Master's along with a university-wide writing award. I am an experienced professional writer and editor, and have had my own 310-page book published. I am a member of Actors Equity Association, so I can help with speech and pronunciation and I'm am a terrific with ESL persons at all levels and ages in both speaking and writing. You may ask for my professional resumes in either of the above-mentioned areas.

FOR MOMS: I am also a mom. Personally, I have always done very well on tests, but I fully understand how daunting they can be, especially today. I take one step at a time and all my classes are totally personalized to one student. Your child will get my undivided attention in sessions and I will do research for the books and papers and test samples that can help only your student! Your child is not a number in a class -- he or she has my full attention.

TESTS: A note about the SAT test: I am fully aware of the changes happening with the SAT, when they will be implemented and specifically what they will be. I can help with vocabulary and logic and give students clear, memorable examples. Needless to say, I have also tutored for the ACT and am familiar with Common Core.

For students: I can help with reading and comprehension. I will teach starting at your level and you will be amazed at how far you can learn and how fast! I will not overwhelm you, but I will challenge you to see how much you can learn by grasping some basics you may have missed in your education. I'm great with vocabulary and reading comprehension, terrific with essays, and extremely patient with grammar.

WRITING and EDITING: I'm highly experienced with college essays, both Common App and school-specific. I can help you overcome writer's block by asking pertinent questions. I can help professionals and college/master's students with term papers, manuscripts, essays, reports, important e-mails, resume cover letters, etc. I'll help you get better scores on tests, write and edit great essays, and turn your research paper into an A-grade project. I've also tutored elementary children in good writing skills.

RESUMES/INTERVIEW SKILLS: I've helped both college applicants and professionals write or revamp resumes that are concise and impressive job/college application tools. I work intensively with students and adults on practice interviews, speech pronunciation, and tricky interview questions. I hope you'll consider me both a friend and a tutor, and I would love to work with you to help you ace a test, get a degree, and get that job!

SUCCESSES: Recently I worked with a young man from the Middle East who was applying for a medical residency in this country. With my coaching and help with written materials, he got one of the few spots available in a teaching hospital. Additionally, one of my students received a prestigious scholarship after working extensively on interview skills.

MUSIC: I studied piano for more than 15 years and was musical director of a USO tour, playing both piano and guitar -- I have played piano onstage professionally and continue to play classical, jazz, popular, and standard music from all eras. I read and teach music and also encourage playing by ear and chording so you can "just sit down and play" as so many people would love to do!
Hi! I am an experienced ACT and SAT tutor, also certified to teach all ages from elementary students to adults. I have been a professor at two universities and have worked in the corporate world as a professional editor. Educational credentials: graduated summa cum laude in college and 4.0 in my Master's along with a university-wide writing award. Read more

24 hours notice required
Travel Radius
Travels within 15 miles of Montclair, NJ 07042
Background Check: Passed
In-person lessons


- Hilary, Montclair, NJ on 7/31/12

"Great content, says Mom. Good listening, says student."

- Jacqueline, Montclair, NJ on 2/17/14

"Very Knowledgeable and gives thorough explanations"

- Gigi, Montville, NJ on 1/29/13

"Excellent tutor"

- Sylvia, Haledon, NJ on 1/18/13

"Fantastic teacher!"

- Frances, Livingston, NJ on 1/10/13

"Calmed my daughter"

- Vicky, Bloomfield, NJ on 10/11/12

"Five Star Tutor"

- Minesh, Parsippany, NJ on 9/28/12

"Great tutor - excellent college essay advisor with superior editing skills!"

- Cheryl, Livingston, NJ on 9/26/12

"Very good Tutor"

- Yaming, Millburn, NJ on 8/10/12
Voice (Music)
Test Preparation:
ACT English,
ACT Reading,
PSAT, SAT Reading,
SAT Writing
Microsoft Word
Special Needs:
Elementary Education:

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

I'm a specialist in English and testing. Not only have I worked in the corporate world as a writer and editor, I also have a summa cum laude BA and Master's Degree (4.0 of 4.0) with a Student Citation Award and an award in writing.

The ACT test is difficult, but much of the material can be mastered if good grammar and simple writing tools are introduced. Unfortunately, many of today's students did not learn grammar very well because there was a time when teachers did not emphasize it enough in favor of "creativity." I'm all for creativity, but not at the expense of proper English (you can only know how and when to break a rule if you know the rule!). So it's not the student's fault. Opening doors is what I'm all about. I welcome your emails and questions.

ACT Reading

I'm an expert in writing, having spend a good deal of my corporate career as a writer and editor. I did very well in school -- summa cum laude BA and 4.0 of 4.0 Master's degree with a university-wide Student Citation Award and a Writing Award. In business I have written and edited healthcare and scientific material, and science was not my degree! Yes, you can fix the grammar, spelling, and English without really knowing the subject matter.

Reading comprehension on the ACT is especially difficult because many students are not really used to paragraphs that use big vocabulary words and may make an important political, cultural, or universal statement. So much of our writing is creative and personal (e-mails, texts, and even many textBOOKS!). What I try to introduce is the ability of the student to get over the big words and get the basic idea the writer is making, so that one incomprehensible word (do you know THAT word?) does not deter the student from answering the questions correctly. Oh, yes, you can figure it out!
Email to me, set up a lesson, and ask me. I can truly help.


Hi! I'm an expert in English, whether it's writing or speaking it. In the corporate world, I've specialized in English as a professional editor, which requires the greatest level of mastery and knowledge of the English language, since much of what I edit may end up in a national TV ad or a professional journal. I've taught at two universities and my own education includes a summa cum laude undergrad BA and a 4.0 with university-wide awards for writing upon earning my Master's degree. English is a difficult and challenging language, whether it's for a test, essay, research paper or you're struggling with speaking or writing English as an ESL student. I've got the background, I'm a great teacher (very fast and very patient), I definitely can help you! PS. I can also help with accents and pronunciation, as I am certified and experienced in speech.


English as a second language is very difficult and I empathize with anyone trying to learn how to speak or write it correctly. I have worked with many students from all over the world (China, Korea, the Middle East, Latin America, Europe) and have successfully helped them in both their writing as well as pronunciation. I am especially good at what I call "transliteration," that is, figuring out what you meant when you said or wrote something, and writing or explaining it in English. I enjoy getting to know both students and adults from different parts of the globe and learning about their cultures through language as well as written papers.
I have Skype-taught students overseas ( Chinese students, many actually in China) but also American students who are out of my commute range. This is very effective and works as well as "in person" tutoring. My students and I can have conversations, I can explain words, and particularly help students of all languages understand the idioms and slang expressions peculiar to the English language.


Grammar is one of the subjects that for many years has been ignored in schools, so many students just didn't learn it and have no way to. And now those students are finding out how important it is! I know grammar because you are expected to know correct grammar, especially for standardized tests.
I am a professional editor and writer. Good grammar affects not only your tests but also your papers and your speech, and therefore represents the grades you get and your overall presentation in class and interviews. The English language is difficult, but some grammar rules are easy to teach and learn. I'm particularly good with ESL students and those who just were never taught good grammar. Work with me and you'll do better on tests, essays, papers, and in your speech. Then you can know all the rules for teachers and tests, and break all the rules -- with your friends!


Literature from every age is such great fun! I bet you don't believe me. Since I was a lonely child, even though I grew up in a large family, I have been a great reader, and I would love to share just a tiny bit of what I know about literature with you. Although many students have difficulty reading literature from various eras and places, once you get the hang of it and start with something that is appealing to you, you'll learn to love literature from all kinds of countries and writers.
Even if you don't love reading, you can learn how to understand what's being said and pick up the "voice" of the author ( is it funny, satirical, ironic, serious, biased?) and that's important for comprehension even if you don't catch every word. Have you ever noticed that the Spark notes and other summaries are sometimes just as hard to read as the original? Plus, tests are often NOT based on just plot!). I can help you learn about literature through the ages, both classical poetry, Renaissance literature including Shakespeare, great world writing, American classics, and new slang. You know you'll need it if you ever watch Jeopardy :-). Vocabulary is critical and I can teach you shortcuts to increase your vocabulary and word understanding. I hope when I tutor you that you will learn how to "get" all sorts of reading and all types of literature -- some of it has been around for centuries for a reason -- because it's good. We only need to unlock the keys to help you learn to it (or at least to do well on a test!)

Microsoft Word

MY EXPERIENCE: I have been using Microsoft Word for many years and can fully understand how difficult it can be for both students as well as adults. Because I am a professional editor and writer I have to use Word daily.

YOU LEARN: Word and all its basic essential functions I can certainly teach you. I also know some keyboard shortcuts, how to do track changes, how to change fonts, do bullets, make margins and tabs, make tables, and all the other basic functions of Word. I can teach you what you will never learn in a class because you just can't learn when someone is giving you a PowerPoint presentation and expecting you to go at the pace of the class. Word is so very critical to students who need to do papers for school, but it is also essential for many adults who need to have professional resumes.

HOW? I can work from your home or better yet mine, where I have two computers and we can work side by side. Many of today's students can pick up a cell phone or an iPad and know how to work it, but never learned how to write in Word. Then they are faced in high school or college with doing a research paper in Word or writing something as basic as a resume and HELP! Even the Help function doesn't work anymore! If you want patient tutoring from someone who can identify with you and who has "been there," but who also had to keep up with Word each time it changed and must do so daily for contract jobs, I'm your gal! You WILL learn and you WILL remember. This software is here to stay and has become an essential part of publishing, so you might as well bite the bullet and learn as much as you can NOW, no matter what age you are.

FOR ADULTS AND SENIORS. I specialize in teaching seniors how to correspond and do minimum basic business functions on Word. It's the only way you can present yourself, particularly if you want a job! I'll not only help you with Word, I'll help you with a resume and cover letters. You can also write letters to your lovers (!) and grandchildren:-).


I have been actively playing the piano for more than 25 years; additionally, I trained for 15 years in piano, hold a minor in Music from a reputable college, and am proficient in reading music, transposition, chording, "faking," and am experienced in teaching piano. I can play classical music as well as jazz, pop, and standard. I was musical director of a USO tour, playing piano while coaching singers. I offer a new fast approach that allows learners of all ages who "just want to sit down and play" to learn songs quickly; if students have the aptitude I can teach them how to play by ear and "fake"; and I can also patiently teach notes and provide to any age learner both a solid background with simple songs and classics as well as disciplines such as scales and arpeggios in all keys (without being too boring!). In addition to a very strong music education and years of experience, I have also played professionally on stage (both solo and as piano accompaniment for singers and choral groups).


MY QUALIFICATIONS: I am a professional proofreader and have been for 15 years. I also know, when I make a correction, why I'm making that correction. This is what you need to know to become a professional proofreader. I have the years of professional experience (as well as a Master's degree) to help teach potential proofreaders all the aspects of the job, not just how to correct typos.

NOTE: I do not yet have a rating on Wyzant because I'm new to this company. I have been manager of editorial departments (proofreading is one of the functions within editorial) in large and small corporations in the real world. As a university professor I have also corrected hundreds of papers.

IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT THE TYPOS: There are a number of duties of proofreaders that people wouldn't even think of -- it's not just about the words being correctly spelled. I can share all the duties of proofreading as a tutor, because I've done them. I can even share how to become a technical proofreader (you can make 2 to 3 times more money!)

ABOUT SPELL CHECKERS: If you don't know, you must never rely on a spell checker for anything but the grossest of typos. The spell checker on a word processing program is essential to use, but it can be dangerous. Sometimes the spell checker will tell you there's something wrong when there is NOT and sometimes the spell checker will suggest a correction that is WRONG. And there can still be typos because while the computer can check spelling, it but does not ensure the spelled word is the correct word (example: mean instead of meat). Spell checkers, no matter what they're called or claim, cannot really check grammar and any good writer or proofreader knows this. (If that were the case, the computers would have replaced human proofreaders years ago!)

NEED A PROOFREADER? If you are a student who needs help with proofreading, I can help you learn how to proof your own documents by using tracked changes to show you where you're making mistakes. I can also teach you how to use track changes in Word! If you want to learn proofreading in order to make money, I am your tutor. It's never as easy as it looks or sounds, but you need to learn from a professional! You could not ask for better academic or professional credentials. Learn from someone who has made a (good) living by DOING.

Public Speaking

With a strong background in theatre and speech, I am eminently qualified to teach/tutor public speaking. Much of the key to effective public speaking has to do with teaching the speaker how to emphasize the right word, phrase, sentence, and dramatic theme. Most public speeches (if well written) are crafted to persuade -- I am excellently qualified to help students find a strong voice as well as how to accent particular words/phrases and how to fill the speech with emotion. That is what actors do. I have 25 years of experience as a professional actress, am an active member of Actors Equity Association as well as Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA. I am able to coach both the "clear speaking" part of oration as well as the emotional underpinnings and the "drama" in the speech (not to mention dealing with the speaker's nerves!). I have taught in speech and drama departments in two colleges as well as a local community theatre. Public speaking is a natural extension of my capabilities as an actress, and my professional experience speaks for itself (resume available on request). Capability in public speaking is critical to persons in almost all professions, as well students who need to give a presentation. I am particularly good in helping people whose first language is not English and/or who need to overcome stage fright.


WHAT HAPPENED TO READING? In today's schools, it's possible to not be a good reader and still excel and get good grades. It doesn't help that this generation has grown up with TV, internet, and videos that foster listening but not reading! They are capable of putting a computer or cell phone together but can't read a newspaper. When today's students are suddenly faced with a SAT, ACT, or GRE test, or get to school and don't understand the course material, or speak with a professor or professional and don't understand a word they are saying, then reading is really important, isn't it? Reading often gets skipped over, and depending on the child's background, reading ability (or not) can deeply affect every single aspect of his ability to succeed as a student, in taking tests, and in doing well in higher education.

MY METHODS: Vocabulary is important. People learn vocabulary from people who use a word correctly and then say, "do you know what that means?" and then explain it. That's what I do. I don't assume that my students understand every word I am saying, nor do I refrain from using "big" words for fear they will not understand. After a while, if I use even a simple word, the student will be in the habit of asking (because trust is fostered) "what does that word mean?". That's conversation. When it comes to reading, I try to get the student to grasp the whole meaning of the sentence, and then the paragraph, and then the whole essay, article, book, novel, trilogy! But of course, reading is not going anywhere without a grasp of the words. I tailor my tutoring to my particular student and never ever look down on someone who cannot read well. I understand. It is common and I applaud students and parents who are willing to start at the beginning or wherever they are and are willing and motivated to learn. Many of my students who hated to read now love books.

REALITY CHECK: Love it or not, reading well is critical for anyone who wants to score well on tests, complete school effectively, to go on to higher learning, and to keep up with what's happening in the world. Above all, reading is just like any other learning situation: starting from where the singular student is, the teacher should decide what level to begin and then move to more challenging reading every day. Cater the material to the interests of the student. Be willing to drop a book that is not of interest or is not a good "fit" for the student's personality.

AN EXAMPLE: My son was given hardcover first editions of the Harry Potter books. We started with the very first one. I knew that my son did not care for books about the surreal or ghosts or ghouls or goblins, he liked books about real people. Sure enough, he said very early on, "I don't like this book." So I put them all away. It's not his thing. Sometimes we HAVE to read things that are "not our thing," but this was reading for fun, and to my son, Harry Potter was not fun (apologies to all those Harry Potter fans out there, it's just very personal thing!)

MY QUALIFICATIONS: Besides being a voracious reader my entire life, I have a Master's Degree (4.0 of 4.0 average, Student Citation Award) with an emphasis on reading and writing and have spent the better part of the past 15 years in the corporate world as a professional writer and editor. Not only do I love reading, I know how to break down words and how to teach what words might mean by putting together their parts or guessing what language they might come from. You can learn a lot from me about reading, comprehension, and how you can learn to grasp what's being said possibly without even knowing all the meanings of all the words. I can also help you immensely increase your vocabulary so reading won't be so hard. For all ages, believe me, reading is not only challenging, it can be fun!

PS. I do not have a rating yet with Wyzant because I am a new tutor, but I am not a new teacher. I have served as a professor at two universities as well as taught at community schools students of all ages. One of my recent successes is a young man from the Middle East (ESL) who I helped with reading and he was able to pass the exams and be accepted into a coveted US medical residency program. I am so proud of him!

SAT Reading

ABOUT SAT and ME: The SAT reading test is very difficult for most students. I can help you with vocabulary and reading comprehension, because I've tutored many students in how to get better scores in these areas. My tutoring is geared to just one single student and my classes are tailor-made for you!

MY QUALIFICATIONS: I graduated summa cum laude with a BA, and for my Master's (MA) earned a 4.0/4.0 GPA plus a university-wide citation (School of Fine Arts) and special writing award. I have taught at two universities and on the high school and younger level. I spent 15 years as a technical writer and editor (this means I did in real life what SAT students do on the reading comp test - make sense of extremely difficult material that's hard to understand and interpret).

MY STYLE FOR SATS: I focus on vocabulary and reading comp; I also share some of my professional secrets. I do not "teach down" to students, but I also do not assume that every big word I use they already know from school - I know this isn't true! I foster an attitude of openness so the student can ask questions. There are also books and flash cards, but if that's all there was to it, you wouldn't need a tutor!

Whatever your level (on the PSAT or prior SATs), I want to help you do better in the quickest and easiest way possible.

SAT Writing

MY QUALIFICATIONS: I am a professional writer with the academic background to know what is required on the SAT essay. You need to know what I know. I can help you. You need to practice writing, and I am so good at helping you find the right words as well as using logic and good examples to get your essay in order, all within a certain time and under pressure.

ABOUT ME and ESSAYS: When I was studying for my Master's degree, I learned how to write a structured persuasive essay. In one class, all the tests were essays and we were graded entirely on them. I earned an "A" from one of the most notoriously difficult teachers in the school.

ABOUT MY STYLE: I can help you understand how to write an essay that can get you a higher score than an average essay. I can help someone who's majoring in science or math write well. I can help a good writer write a GREAT, fresh, creative, and well-ordered essay.

ABOUT YOU AND THE SAT: You may be that student who has great grades but just doesn't excel in writing. You can be taught. You may be an ESL student or one who shines in areas other than writing English. You can be helped. The SAT score is critical, and not only to getting into a great school. Your ability to write a good essay will be a great asset when you're writing papers IN the college of your choice. Let me help you get there!


My qualifications in speech are tremendous. I was a professional actress for 20 years (a member of Actors Equity Association and Screen Actors Guild). I have taught speech and drama at two universities. I graduated summa cum laude from own college with a degree in speech and drama; my master's and PhD work are also in this area. I have worked with a number of people on how to pronounce English correctly and how specifically to place the tongue, lips, and teeth to change obvious foreign as well as regional accents and improve English pronunciation to Standard American. I can also help get rid of bad grammar, regionalisms, inappropriate slang, poor pitch, nasality/placement, and poor speech habits ingrained from youth. Plus I offer substitutions for words that are hard to pronounce so that foreign students and others do not embarrass themselves by using big words they do not know how to pronounce. Recently, I coached a young man from the Middle East on his accent and vocabulary specifically for job interviews, and he obtained a coveted MD residency at a prestigious university hospital. I can also do a very intensive tutorial for a specific oral presentation. Speech and the art of being understood are most important keys to how we are perceived and how we present ourselves.


HOW IMPORTANT IS IT? Vocabulary is so crucial to success in testing, comprehensive reading, writing research papers, and even self-presentation. The ability to have and use a strong vocabulary is not a question of IQ: it's a matter of education.

FOR YOU: Whether you're studying for a test or an ESL student trying to learn English vocabulary and usage, you need a strong grasp of the English language. I teach by providing the meanings of word parts from Greek and Latin and go from there. Because so much of English comprehension is vocabulary (think about it: if you do not know ONE word in a sentence, you may miss its meaning entirely!), it's critical to learn. But it's also easy to work with a good teacher and you can double and triple your vocabulary.

ABOUT ME: I'm an etymologist -- that means I love words! I have a Master's Degree and coursework on the PhD level, and have spent most of my adult life either writing or editing professionally. Word work. If I don't know the meaning of a word, I look it up and then I remember it. As a result of my academic work as well as my corporate work as an editor, I have a fairly vast vocabulary. I can help you. There is a method to this madness and it's not as hard as it may seem.

WHO NEEDS VOCABULARY? You probably need some help if you are taking a test such as the SAT, ACT, or GRE. You may need some help if you are studying English or creative writing. You definitely need help if you know some English (ESL) but want to speak it fluently and need to understand words that professionals use. I can help you. Words have been my academic and professional life. Give me a call. Or, as they say, SHOOT ME an e-mail!


ABOUT ME: I am certified to teach elementary school students through graduate school. I have tutored for several years. I have also been a writer myself for many years. A 300-page book I wrote was published by a real publishing company (not a "vanity press") and I learned how to write persuasively by writing press releases and biographies for book publicity. That's my "corporate" experience, but I am no stranger to academic writing and essays. I took the SATs and the GREs, graduating summa cum laude from my college (Clarke) and with a 4.0 (highest) in my Master's degree (Montclair State U). I'm not really a brainiac, I just learned how to write and study.

FOR YOU: I love working with students of all ages. So many steps get "skipped" in school, and there is a need for good teachers who can explain vocabulary, writing outlines and other pre-writing assignments, fiction writing for younger students, as well as logical writing elements (in addition to parts of speech and good grammar!) There are many tricks and shortcuts to good writing that are easy to learn. I can help students quickly and I am patient--I start with where the student is and go from there--and I have a good sense of humor. I am also an experienced teacher, serving as professor at both Caldwell College and Montclair State University. I love to help people--one of my recent successes was working with a young doctor and all his written materials to help him get accepted in a coveted US residency. Your essays and writing are so important--and I would love to help you learn some of the basics of how to make every essay, research paper, school report, article, book, (and whatever else you want to write) positively shine.

Clarke College
Montclair State University, NJ
City College of City University of New York
Graduate Coursework


Clarke College

Montclair State University, NJ (Master's)

City College of City University of New York (Graduate Coursework)


Very experienced tutor, lighthearted and encouraging...would highly recommend. Very good rapport with my daughter, positive and encouraging. My daughter is motivated to study and learn with Mary.

— Hilary, Montclair, NJ on 7/31/12

Hourly rate

Standard Hourly Rate: $75.00

Cancellation: 24 hours notice required

Travel policy

Mary will travel within 15 miles of Montclair, NJ 07042.