Eric M.

Mcminnville, OR


Chemistry, Mathematics, Physical Sciences, Writing...take your pick!

In-person lessons
20+ Hours
Background check passed as of 3/10/15
4.4 average from 11 ratings
Great tutor, easy to reach by phone!
— Catherine, Salem, OR on 6/22/14


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University of California, Irvine
University of California, Irvine.


University of California, Irvine (Chemistry)

University of California, Irvine. (Master's)

About Eric

I have tutored privately for both a tutoring agency as well as independently in chemistry, mathematics, and statistics. I am interactive with students by asking the students what is unclear about the material, quizzing them on important concepts, and, most important, working with them to solve problems in the textbook. Physical science and math courses are best learned by working problem sets, so that is my emphasis. I am most effective tutoring through the high-school level, through pre-calculus in math, for example.

As a writer and proofreader I tutor well at a high level. There are many professionals in business, teaching, and technical fields who would do well to tighten up their writing style. I've proofread for everyone from high-school students to research scientists. The principles of good prose writing are unchanging and basic. They are very teachable as well.

I have substitute taught grades 3-12 for Ventura Unified School District (Ventura, CA) for a full academic year in subjects such as language arts, English, life and physical sciences, mathematics, chemistry, and music. I hold undergraduate degrees in Music Performance (USC) and Chemistry (UC Irvine) as well as an M.S. in Environmental Toxicology (UC Irvine College of Medicine).
I have tutored privately for both a tutoring agency as well as independently in chemistry, mathematics, and statistics. I am interactive with students by asking the students what is unclear about the material, quizzing them on important concepts, and, most important, working with them to solve problems in the textbook. Physical science and math Read more

24 hours notice required
Travel Radius
Travels within 25 miles of Mcminnville, OR 97128
Background Check: Passed
In-person lessons

"Great tutor, easy to reach by phone!"

- Catherine, Salem, OR on 6/22/14
ACT English, ACT Reading,
Proofreading, SAT Reading, SAT Writing,
Test Preparation:
ACT English, ACT Math, ACT Reading,
ACT Science,
SAT Math,
SAT Reading, SAT Writing
Microsoft PowerPoint
Music History
Microsoft PowerPoint

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 Reading

I have a history of success on standardized tests (SAT, GRE general test, GRE subject test (chemistry), AP subject exams). One very important key to doing well is to make sure you walk into the test with confidence that you will excel over the next few hours.

That confidence comes in two ways: 1) You're a genius, in which case you need no tutoring, or 2) You have prepared carefully for the test.

I cannot make you a genius more than you already are, but careful preparation is something I can take you through. Try the following strategies on your own, for a taste of what I can offer:

1) Read each passage from start to finish before answering the questions about it, and

2) have a peek at the questions for that passage first to help you focus your reading.

Something surprising: if the passage is on a subject you're familiar with or like very much, make sure to read the whole passage, beginning to end. The obvious question is, "Why?" The answer is that the passage might have information new to you, or conflicting information from your knowledge base -- that might even be wrong. The key is you must answer the questions based on the passage alone, whether or not the passage is 100% accurate.

Also, remember you won't score a single point on a passage, no matter how carefully you read it, if you don't allow time to answer the questions. Manage your time efficiently and maximize your score by reading passages you excel at, for example passages about science or history, before tackling passages you're not as strong at, for example minor Russian poets from the 1760s.

I can help prepare you to maximize your ACT Reading score by helping you improve comprehension of the more difficult passages in the test prep materials you have assembled.

You, too, can confidently walk through those doors ready to conquer whatever they throw at you.

ACT Science

In the course of my college education I've studied chemistry, physiology, and biochemistry at graduate level. I received a B.S. in Chemistry from UC Irvine, a program that requires, in addition to chemistry, physics, lots of mathematics, and other science electives.

I thus have a diverse scientific background and, in addition, have years of research experience in graduate school and during my professional career as well.

Finally, I have always tested well, and can pass along my strategies to prospective examinees.

Algebra 1

Algebra is where mathematics begins. Up until now you've been doing arithmetic. In algebra, you substitute letters for numerals and begin solving equations. Instead of solving a specific problem, you're able to solve an infinite set of problems at a time.

If mathematics were a martial art, algebra is where you earn your white belt. The first-degree black belt is attained with calculus, where mathematics begins again.

But that's for later. For now, let's have fun exploring a new way of thinking that will literally re-structure your brain in wonderful ways.

Algebra 2

I have studied mathematics through second-year college calculus and linear algebra (matrices, determinants and such), as part of my Bachelor's degree in Chemistry (University of California, Irvine).

I have always enjoyed math and have tutoring experience in physics, math, and chemistry.

I have over a year of substitute teaching experience in California in math through AP Calculus as well as many other subjects. Schools liked hiring me because of my approachability and my ability to explain concepts in different ways.

I can help you find the fun in doing math well.


Astronomy: that strange science where the entire universe is your laboratory, but one in which you can never perform an experiment. You just observe and try to explain.
It is said that every nine-year-old kid is a genius at something. For me, it was astronomy. I even became a member of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, and pored through its journal with joy. I knew about the discovery of the "spokes" in Saturn's rings, for example -- spokes that radiated outward and were hard to explain. Many of the rings, in addition, were found to be in the form of twisted braids. (I also remember when it was proven beyond a doubt that Saturn's rings do not, after all, consist of lost luggage and car keys.)

Although not active in astronomy for many years, I retain a grasp on its basics and have kept up on news items.

For example, when I was a kid Jupiter had 15 known moons. Now it has 67. Is it because our detection methods are better? Yes...after all we've even sent probes to fly by and have a close look...but don't forget that Jupiter is so large that its gravitation is a continuing threat to astral bodies flying by, and it catches some of them, increasing its moon tally.
Also, Jupiter is technically a brown dwarf star...a proto-star not quite massive enough to start burning inside.

Did you know Saturn's specific gravity is less than one? That means if you had a bathtub big enough, you could float Saturn on the water.

Astronomy, by its very nature, uses mathematics. At the secondary level, however, the mathematics are not that intimidating, and astronomy is sure a fun application for math!


The ASVAB is a standardized test, with some categories unique to this U.S. Armed Forces battery of subtests: Assembling Objects, Electronics Information, Mechanical Comprehension, and Automotive and Shop Information.

The ASVAB is more than a qualification exam. It helps determine the MOS to which you are best suited. In these four specialized subject areas, your experience will help you more than individual study. For example, if you have interest in auto mechanics, you will probably have taken auto shop in high school. The same goes for Electronics Information: those who've tinkered around inside their computers a lot will do well on that subtest.

My expertise lies in the general knowledge sections of this exam. I am highly trained in science, math, and English.

In general, if it can be studied for, I can help you.


I passed the CBEST in July 1985 with a score of 200. The minimum passing score is 123. The writing component of the exam, in which two essays must be written, brings the most anxiety to prospective examinees. It is on this portion that I scored highest, with a 75 of 80 possible. This skill was borne out again while an undergraduate chemistry student at UC Irvine, when I was the only physical science major (math, physics, or chemistry) to pass the Upper Division Writing Exemption Exam that year.

The CBEST tests for competence in reading, math, and writing. I have expertise in these three areas. Having earned a B.M. in Music Performance at USC and a B.S. and M.S. in Chemistry and Toxicology (respectively) at UC Irvine gives me a uniquely balanced ability to tutor in subjects ranging from literature to advanced mathematics. For example, while at UCLA (before transfer to USC), music majors were required to take three upper-division humanities courses outside the music department. I enrolled in classes on Milton, the History of Religion in the U.S., and the History of Science. All were interesting, but I was also competing successfully with majors in those departments as well.

My Chemistry degree required two years of calculus, so I am very well-qualified to tutor CBEST-level math, which does not include any calculus. In fact, a full 40% of the mathematics section on the CBEST is arithmetic, with another 20% consisting of elementary geometry.

I have substitute taught grades 3-12 in public schools in California and have years of professional tutoring experience.

I can help you pass this exam.


My undergraduate degree from the University of California, Irvine, is a B.S. in Chemistry. I found chemistry easier than biological sciences, because you can think your way through problems instead of having to memorize huge amounts of information.

I will help you understand the mathematics needed to solve chemistry problems.

Success in chemistry follows a simple (but not necessarily easy) plan: if you can solve the problems at the end of each chapter, you are doing well.

I can teach you how chemistry can be fun. And surprising at times. For example, why doesn't 1.00 liters of gasoline plus 1.00 liters of water = 2.00 liters of mixture? Or, you may have heard of ideal solutions of liquids: liquids that dissolve completely into one another. Did you know that there are ideal solid solutions as well? For example, brass is a solid solution of copper and zinc atoms completely mixed together.

Chemistry is loaded with interesting things like these. I can help you discover them.

Composition (Music)

I have a B.M. in music performance, Winds & Percussion USC's Thornton School of Music as a trombonist. In 1983, on graduation I was awarded the Brass Chamber Music Award.

The core curriculum for USC's performance degrees includes ear training, music theory, counterpoint, orchestration, and conducting. I have found elements from all of these useful in composing music. For example, ear training allows my brain to look at a line of music and hear it in my head, and vice take dictation by hearing music and being able to write it down. This is useful in composing if away from a piano. Orchestration and conducting training allows me to correctly annotate a melody as easily for a French horn (a transposing instrument, where a written C sounds as an F) as for a violin (C written = C heard). Most importantly, orchestration gives me the skill to successfully arrange music to produce sounds to my desired effect, such as how well French horns blend with oboes vs. bassoons, and the like.

Music composition tutoring is a subject best left to active composers, but these are hard to find unless you are already studying with one in music school. I have, however, composed various pieces that have been performed, which is the ultimate goal of any composer. Okay, that and making a good living at it. These pieces include a brass quintet Easter Fanfare and a Fanfare and Passaglia "To Opa's Victory" dedicated to my father-in-law, scored for British Brass Band. The latter piece uses distinct themes for the seven children in his family, him, and my mother-in-law. In the conclusion of the work, the nine themes are performed simultaneously.

My genre is strictly classical music. I've written popular songs, mostly for my spouse, but they sound like songs written by a guy with a music degree, not by a song-writer (Hint: don't use augmented sixth chords in your progressions for popular songs).

I'm no Stravinsky, and he's long dead anyway. You can still study from him and the likes of Beethoven and Mozart as well, however, by studying their scores.

I can help you combine what music you hear in your head with what will work when written down.

Elementary Math

I was always one of the kids who not only liked math but was good at it. I convey my enthusiasm for math to younger kids by showing everyday examples of how math is used to solve problems. I have experience working with younger kids and teens, with whom I can form an immediate connection. Math can be fun, plain and simple.

Elementary Science

In elementary school, the most important facet of science education is the "missionary work" -- getting kids to understand why science is important. Once this flame is ignited, the learning of science becomes less a task or requirement and more about fun and discovery.

I have a strong track record in science and math, having won the science fair in fifth grade and learning how to use a slide rule that same year; through 1998, having completed a B.S. in chemistry and an M.S. in toxicology; and to the present as a scientist, teacher, and tutor.

I passed the eneral Science Subtests (I and II) and the Chemistry Subtest in the California Subject Exams for Teachers in 2009 with highest marks ("++++" on all sections).

I enjoy working with kids and have always been able to gain an easy rapport with them. I would enjoy helping your child out with elementary science, from astronomy to zoology.


The culmination of English language skills through high-school graduation is the ability to write persuasive essays. Vocabulary, grammar, sentence structure, concision, argument...all come together to produce the kind of writing required to create essays of impact.

Writing good fiction or poetry are wonderful assets, but writing clear prose is essential to success beyond high school.

I have excelled at these expository English writing skills for a long time. In high school, before the SAT had a writing component, I took the ACH exam in English composition with essay, scoring a 750 out of 800. On the SAT verbal, I scored a 620.

At UC Irvine, while majoring in chemistry, one requirement for all physical science majors was to take a course in upper division writing. The only way to avoid the class was to pass the Upper Division Writing Exemption Exam on a single attempt. I was the only physical science (math, physics, or chemistry) major at UC Irvine to pass this exam the year I took it.

In the context of English literature courses, essays are written about the writing under consideration, for instance a Shakespeare play, a lengthy poem or essay by Milton, an American classic such as "Walden," etc. Having earned a degree in music, my liberal arts background is rich compared to most scientists, so I've been exposed to lots of literature, and continue to enjoy reading it.


Using English effectively is a passion for me. I have always been great at spelling words, putting words together into clear sentences, assembling sentences into coherent paragraphs, and linking paragraphs into persuasive essays. In high school (back then the SAT was math and verbal only), I took the ACH exam in English Composition with Essay and scored a 750 out of 800 points. In junior college, taking freshman English Composition, the professor exempted me from taking the final because she didn't see the point--I'd already shown that I got it.
At the University of California, Irvine, I was the only physical sciences major to pass the Upper Division Writing Exemption Exam, which spared me enrollment in a course on professional writing that all my classmates had to take.
I am good at wordsmithing, noticing and quickly remedying improper use of English, and helping students choose the correct and most concise wording of phrases. Examples follow.
1) The overwhelming majority of times the word "myself" used, "me" or "I" should have been used instead.
2) "None" means "not one" and is thus singular, as in "None of the wolverines was tame." (Many would say, "...were tame.") The same rule goes for "nobody," "anybody," and "anyone."
3) I know when to use "that" and when to use "which."
4) I don't sweat "toward" vs. "towards" since they are equivalent.
There are many more examples. Give me a red pen and a student writing sample, and I can render it not only grammatically correct, but simultaneously more concise and more effective. Give me time with the student and his marked-up paper, and if he cares about improvement (a vital requirement) his work will be cleaner next time around.

Music Theory

I first studied diatonic harmony (what is now called "music theory") in high school, quickly learning that our teacher needed help now and then extricating himself from his contradictions.

I excelled at harmony at UCLA. We went from typical Roman-numeral chordal analysis as far as 12-tone serial techniques, which I found to be of mathematical interest only. (In my opinion, twelve-tone music is to be studied but not heard...there's a reason nobody writes it anymore.)

Music theory is quite mathematical in its logic, despite the period being looked at. The mathematics that underlie Bach's music are simple and elegant, but nowhere near as profound as the music itself.

This is an exciting subject for me!

Physical Science

Physical sciences are broken up into three areas: mathematics, physics, and chemistry, progressing in decreasing intensity of mathematical content.

I submit, however, that mathematics is not science at all, but art based on logic. Applied mathematics is the language of science, however.

In any case, I can help with any level of middle-school or high-school physical science, since I've studied it all before and substitute taught or tutored most of it as well.


Probability is one of the more enjoyable subjects in precalculus mathematics. How many ways are there of flipping a coin five times? How many three-letter combinations of the letters A, B, C, D, E, and F are there -- if order counts (A, B, C being different from C, A, B, for example) or if it does not? If you have 3 green marbles, 4 yellow marbles, and 6 blue marbles in a black bag, what are the chances of drawing at least one green marble in three tries, given you replace the marbles each time? What do "nCr" and "nPr" mean, and how do they relate to the three-letter combination questions above?

All this stuff is covered in probability. Trust's fun!

SAT Math

I have taken math through second year calculus (B average, UC Irvine). I love doing and teaching math. I also test well (SAT Math = 770; SAT Subject Test, Math Level 2 = 750).

I can help you improve your PSAT/NMSQT*- and SAT Math scores. The more time you allow, the better you'll do. (This, of course, applies even without a tutor, but it helps to have someone who's been there to guide you.)

*The PSAT/NMSQT, taken your junior year or earlier, is a GREAT way to earn lots of scholarship money if you do really well.

SAT Writing

For the purposes of the SAT writing requirement, the subject matter for the essay is one of personal opinion or experience. You will not be asked to analyze a piece of literature. In this case, the first and most important tip seems obvious, but can be easily overlooked: have an opinion! Without the benefit of an opinion on the question posed, you will not have a thesis statement, and your writing response will meander pointlessly. This point is hard to overstate. Before you begin writing, make sure you have something to say.

Having fulfilled this requirement, the rest amounts to practice, review, and mentoring. This is where I can be of great help.

Sight Singing

As part of being a music major at USC, I took sight singing and ear training with an A average. I scored the only perfect test on trichords in the top section of ear training at USC.

I do not have perfect pitch, which is actually a hindrance because it holds a person back from being able to teach the basics of ear training and sight singing.


Chthonian. Botryoidal. Verblungent. Thaumaturgy. I know how to spell all of these words, except perhaps "verblungent," which means "overwrought with emotion," but which was made up by a friend of a percussionist I know. The other three are actual words! As a competitive adult-spelling-bee participant (to promote adult literacy), I often advanced to rounds where such words were pronounced. Butyraceous. Oxymoronic. Empennage. I once tripped up on "photophygous," but not since! Some of these words seem silly. Why do we need a word meaning "shaped like a grape cluster"? "Hey Joe, that's a pretty botryoidal backpack you've got there...."
Hunh? There are some wierd words out there.
Anyway, with ridiculous words like these in my palette, I can show you not only how to spell normal but commonly misspelled words, but whether or not they fit into a given piece of writing.
Incidentally, did you catch the word I misspelled? Hint: above, it follows the "'i' before 'e'" rule, but shouldn't.


As a high-school junior, we spent a whole semester of pre-calculus studying probability and statistics. In college I took a lower-division course in statistics that went into more depth. As a graduate student in toxicology, a class on experimental design was essentially an advanced statistics class--UC Irvine's math department didn't allow us to use the word "statistics" in the course title without their approval.
I currently am tutoring a college junior in upper division statistics, which ranged quickly through descriptive stats, went into some depth on correlation, causation, and linear regression, and is moving toward analysis of variance (ANOVA).
I have successfully shown my student how her professor has tripped up on certain things, and how to correctly work those problems.
I'm pretty good at this. Let me show you how.

Study Skills

My familiarity with how the mind works gives me a heads-up on study skills. For example, the typical attention span of a college freshman is about 20 minutes. Beyond that, performance sharply tails off. So in spending two hours studying, I would insist a student take a five-minute break every 20 minutes, to get up, move around, and take some deep breaths. It pays off. This is demonstrated by my tutoring sessions, where the hour includes ten minutes of break time.

I have found that different subjects require different approaches. Math and physical sciences (chemistry and physics) are problem-solving courses: if you can do the problems at the end of each chapter, you have mastered the material.

With biological sciences, where large amounts of information need to be memorized and made sense of, concept maps are most useful. This applies to other information-rich subjects, like history, as well.

Writing a persuasive essay confounds and even threatens many students. In my experience, the main hurdle to surmount is having something to say. I thus require that every student underlines their thesis statement. (This guarantees they have one.) Supporting the thesis, and the rest of the essay, then falls into place.

Although not fluent in any foreign language, I have a gift for language and have studied French, German, Spanish and Korean. My musical ear makes me less likely to butcher pronunciation, given that a musician's primary skill is to listen well and imitate what others are doing. (In fact, ear training is in the curriculum of all music programs.)

In addition, I have taken and passed subjects that were very difficult for me (biochemistry, organic chemistry, quantum chemistry, e.g.), which made me solve the problem of how to approach and master (or at least survive!) complex subjects.

My academic accomplishments, which span two bachelor's degrees (music performance and chemistry) and an M.S. in toxicology, make me uniquely qualified to assist a student in just about any subject.


For me, trigonometry ("trig") was a fun semester in high school. It can be for you, too. Let me show you how. I aced trig and can get you going more quickly through the material, with better results. It's a simple plan: I guide, you drill.

The trig functions (sine, cosine, tangent, etc.) and identities (e.g. [sin^2]A + [cos^2]A = 1 [where "^2" means "squared"], etc.) can all be pictured on a graph of the unit circle. This makes things easier for visual learners as it helps you make sense of the equations.

As in many math courses, the kinds of problems you can solve expand. This is always fun, and yes, it applies to real life.

For example, I used trig to accurately tilt outward some volleyball poles I was installing, to precisely 5 degrees off-vertical. This required only a level, a string weighted on the end, a ruler, and a calculator (that knew the sine of 5 degrees).

You learn how to use polar coordinates in trig. Like in Cartesian coordinates (x-y coordinates), you can specify exactly where any point on the plane lies. But you use radius (distance from the origin) and angle from the positive x-axis to do it. I'd never imagined being able to do this. And you learn how to transfer back and forth between these two systems if you need to -- using trig.

Polar coordinates open up the door to periodic behavior, where objects move in a predictable, repetitive motion; and angular velocity problems, where something is spinning around in circles. If you're given the period (how long it takes to complete one circle), using trig you can tell me how fast the object is moving at any given moment.

Proofs are done in trigonometry. Many students cannot stand doing math proofs, but in trig they are easier to work out, thanks to the identities, which allow you to change complicated-looking expressions into familiar ones.

If you've negotiated Algebra II, congratulations! It can get tricky and laborious and takes sharp attention to detail to excel at. With trig, get ready to try something lighter in flavor. More sophisticated, perhaps, but more fun at the same time.

I'll show you how to enjoy and improve your performance in this course.


I am a professional trombonist, specializing in classical music. I have a B.M. from USC's Thornton School of Music in Trombone Performance. I was a member of the USC Senior Brass Quintet and won the Brass Chamber Music Award on graduation in 1983.

I have taught privately on and off since my high school days.


Vocabulary development is best achieved by reading good literature. It can also be achieved, in test preparation for example, by memorizing definitions from word lists.

The latter strategy, however, can bore you to tears of hair-ripping agony, as the words are not attached to anything meaningful. If the list is alphabetical, you're in even more trouble!

So: read good literature. Look up the words you don't know. Keep a journal of these words. Use them immediately in your journal in a couple sentences of your own, and then as soon as possible in conversation...that very day even. Use of the new word boosts retention better than anything.

The more you do this, the more quickly you will be able to pick up new words and retain them (the brain is the only "engine" I know of whose performance goes UP the more you use it).

Vocabulary tutoring is, in my mind, a short-term program for the initiated student, as I will just show you how these tools work, how to tweak them to your personal needs, and off you go.

And stay away from word lists!


The culmination of written English language skills (excluding writing fiction and poetry) is the ability to write persuasive essays. Vocabulary, grammar, sentence structure, concision, argument...all come together to produce the kind of writing required to create essays of impact.

Competent writing samples under exam conditions are now required for teaching credentials, for one example. The demand for clear, concise writing will never go away.

I excel at these expository English writing skills. In high school, before the SAT had a writing component, I scored a 750 (out of 800) on the ACH exam (now called SAT Subject Tests) in English Composition with Essay. My verbal SAT score was 620.

At UC Irvine, while majoring in chemistry, I was the only physical science (math, physics, or chemistry) major that year to pass the Upper Division Writing Exemption Exam, which waived an otherwise required enrollment in an upper division writing class.

For the purposes of the SAT Writing requirement, the subject matter for the essay is one of personal opinion or experience. You will not be asked to analyze a piece of literature. In this case, the first and most important tip seems obvious, but can be easily overlooked: have an opinion! Without the benefit of an opinion on the question posed, you will not have a thesis statement, and your writing response will meander.

This point is hard to overstate. Before you begin writing, make sure you have something to say.

Having fulfilled this requirement, the rest falls into place, and increasing your skills amounts to practice, review, and mentoring. This is where I can be of great help.

University of California, Irvine
University of California, Irvine.


University of California, Irvine (Chemistry)

University of California, Irvine. (Master's)

Great tutor, easy to reach by phone!

I am usually a hater of math and want nothing to do with it. After discovering I was required to take Intro to Applied Statistics, I was quite upset, but also desperate to find an excelling tutor who could re-teach the class to me while I was taking it. I am a student in college and have spent money on various math tutors since grade school. After seeing over six math tutors, I have a fairly good

— Catherine, Salem, OR on 6/22/14

Hourly rate

Standard Hourly Rate: $40.00

Cancellation: 24 hours notice required

Travel policy

Eric will travel within 25 miles of Mcminnville, OR 97128.