Over 1250 tutoring hours

Isaak B.

Gibsonia, PA


Hard-Science and Math Tutor

Replies in 1 hour
Background check passed as of 3/16/15
4.9 Avg. Rating
337 Ratings
1hr Response Time
Excellent Physics Tutor
— Gary, Pittsburgh, PA on 12/12/14

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University of Alberta
Engineering Physics


University of Alberta (Engineering Physics)

About Isaak

I am an inquisitive, creative person and a lifelong learner. In addition to helping others to better themselves, I also continue to develop my own knowledge of various principles relating to physics, chemistry and math. These sciences are referred to as "hard" not because they are difficult, but rather because they are more quantifiable, verifiable and repeatable than some other softer sciences.

My personality is laid-back and my tutoring is more of a friendly conversation than a lecture. I adjust the tutoring format to the student’s goals, needs and capabilities and for the best results, a tutor's service should be used to augment rather than replace effective study habits.

I ask the student a lot of questions intended to spur the student’s thinking process. Except when working example problems on completely new concepts, I try to avoid simply giving you answers – instead I give you the opportunity to use the tools you are already assumed to have to contribute to finding the answers. This helps me ensure the student is sufficiently equipped with the knowledge-base required to tackle the current problems.

I hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Physics from the University of Alberta. My engineering education and prior experience working in the field allow me to offer a unique perspective to my students in the relevance of the hard sciences and math applications in everyday situations. Math and science are not merely important for academic credit but are essential tools and part of a mental framework for wise decision-making that will be useful to you throughout your career and personal life.

Contact me today to begin accelerating your learning!
I am an inquisitive, creative person and a lifelong learner. In addition to helping others to better themselves, I also continue to develop my own knowledge of various principles relating to physics, chemistry and Read more

24 hours notice required
Travel Radius
Travels within 40 miles of Gibsonia, PA 15044
Background Check: Passed

"Excellent Physics Tutor"

- Gary, Pittsburgh, PA on 12/12/14

"Very patient tutor!"

- Heather, Pittsburgh, PA on 6/29/15

"Very knowledgeable, patient and went the extra mile to ensure everything was understood."

- Payton, Mc Donald, PA on 6/5/15

"Great 1st meeting "

- Alicia, Baden, PA on 3/22/15

"Very thorough"

- Ellen , Sewickley, PA on 2/12/15

"Increased my score on the GRE by 20 percent"

- Kamy, Pittsburgh, PA on 11/26/14

"Fantastic tutor"

- Angela, Pittsburgh, PA on 11/21/14

"Great tutor"

- Kim, Mars, PA on 11/5/14


- Melissa, Sierra Vista, AZ on 9/17/14

"Very helpful and explains well"

- Mark, Raleigh, NC on 6/29/14

"Great with Young Adults"

- Joe, Murrysville, PA on 5/30/14

"Great Tutor!"

- Cecilia, Glenshaw, PA on 4/17/14

"Excellent Tutor"

- Rina, Wexford, PA on 3/13/14

"What a difference 90 minutes makes"

- Peter, Cranberry Twp, PA on 1/23/14

"Very patient and insightful!!"

- Julia, Sewickley, PA on 11/2/13

"Very Smart and extremely patient"

- Jean, Gibsonia, PA on 10/21/13

"Astute to learning needs."

- Amanda, Allison Park, PA on 4/30/13

"Thorough and knowledgeable."

- Inger, Bradfordwoods, PA on 4/11/13

"Great tutor!"

- Nick, Valencia, PA on 2/22/13

"Very well-versed in physics"

- Tom, Pittsburgh, PA on 11/15/12
English, ESL/ESOL, SAT Reading, SAT Writing
ACT Science, Chemistry,
Electrical Engineering,
Physical Science, Physics
Elementary Education:
Common Core, Elementary Science
Algebra 1,
Algebra 2,
English, ESL/ESOL, Geometry,
Prealgebra, Precalculus,
SAT Math,
SAT Reading, Statistics
Test Preparation:
ACT Math,
ACT Science, Common Core, GED, GRE, SAT Math,
SAT Reading, SAT Writing
Corporate Training:
ESL/ESOL, Microsoft Excel,

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 Math

The ACT math test can be challenging exam to prepare for, especially for students who completed the relevant high school math courses significantly earlier than their test date. It tends to have broader expectations on the depth of math knowledge, especially geometry, than does the SAT, which could catch unprepared students by surprise. I have recently worked through the math and geometry review section of an ACT math prep review book with students who needed a crash course. I have not yet encountered ACT math questions I could not answer, and I would be glad to help anyone who could benefit from additional help.

Algebra 1

I am able to help students who, for whatever reason, fall behind their expectations in algebra I. The polynomial and rational functions, exponents and logarithms, radical expressions, factoring, polynomial division, and equation-solving skills and principles studied in Algebra I are foundational skills for investigators in science, managers optimizing business decisions, engineers improving a design, or software developers cracking open new concepts.

Algebra 2

As an engineer, I routinely use the skills and principles taught in Algebra 2! Exponents, logarithms and roots come up all the time because many relationships between important factors in a design or description of a natural principle can only be treated as if they were linear, or that is, adequately described using straight lines, to the roughest of approximations. Not having these mathematical tools would make engineering work rather crude. Imagine how the drawings of a Corvette would look if the artist were restricted to use only straight lines!

Similarly, complex numbers are very useful for describing periodic waveforms, predicting natural resonances in systems, designing control systems and many other things.

I enjoy helping students understand and master the challenge of solving equations involving one or more of these non-linear equations, systems of linear equations.


I love calculus because it reveals great truths about the world we live in that would be very difficult (or at least much more tedious and time-consuming) to realize without it. How else could you figure out the volume of a sphere, Maxwell's equations of electromagnetism, the center of mass and the moment of inertia of a complicated structure, the modes of vibration of a structure, the amount of deflection expected in a beam, the fundamental modes of a plant under feedback control? You'd have to resort to using a gagillion more empirically determined formulas, and design possibilities would be slow, tedious and handicapped. It would be more difficult to minimize waste, maximize health and safety, control processes and systems, maximize quality, optimize profit, etc.

My calculus background began in high school, I studied calculus on my own in study hall by correspondence because there were only three students in my tiny rural Alberta school opting to take it to justify having a class. AP courses were not available.

The first two semesters of calculus in college were the first time I had the privilege of studying calculus at the level of those of you high school students fortunate enough to be able to take AP calculus in high school.

I took a third semester of calculus which got into vector calculus, volumes of revolution, and the Stokes and Green's theorems. Following that I took a course on ordinary differential equations, which is a branch of calculus involving equations where both a derivative of a variable and the variable itself are in the same equation. After that I took a course on partial differential equations, involving the study of equations in which derivatives of multiple variables are involved in a single equation, and (where known) the techniques of finding their solutions. The final course was the calculus of complex variables, which involves the exploitation of line integrals evaluated along curves traversing paths through the complex plane (the plane encompassing both real and imaginary numbers).

I passed all of these courses except the first with above class-average marks (the first was average but was also my first time in a large school setting where I was no longer one of the 'smartest' kids).

In the last couple of years, as I discovered my enjoyment of tutoring, I have gone back and refreshed myself on the introductory college/AP calculus. With the perspective combined experience of all the courses, I can help you do your best to learn calculus as well as you can while you are taking the course, it can be a handy tool to have in the rest of your coursework and career.


I earned top marks in high school chemistry and completed the two college inorganic chemistry courses standard to most engineering programs with above average grades. I also took several related courses over the course of earning my engineering physics bachelor's degree, including classical thermodynamics, engineering thermodynamics, and statistical thermodynamics (acing the final!). Recently, I also completed a Stanford MOOC on photovoltaics and battery chemistry, which improved my understanding of the topic immensely.
Chemistry education has certainly improved significantly with the advent of the information age, and I have enjoyed tutoring chemistry. I generally prefer to limit my chemistry tutoring to those students who also occasionally need math, physics, or test prep help.

Computer Programming

I have several years of professional experience working as a software developer. I have developed a variety of control, measurement, analysis and testing applications using LabVIEW. I contributed a year's worth of feature development and expansion to an existing PC application for acquisition and analysis of PC-based semi-automated bio-medical microscopic imaging using Visual C++ and learned how to use XML as an effective and reliable human-readable information storage. I developed several versions of an application for controlling a printer that used a 30W C02 laser to permanently mark coated metals by burning the coating using Visual Basic and C#. I have also done a little bit of programming for embedded devices using cross-platform C and Basic compilers. More recently, I became reacquainted with Fortran and its multi-processing capabilities, and also gained a passing familiarity with Python, Ruby, and Javascript.

Differential Equations

Differential equations are equations that include both a variable of the derivative or anti-derivative (possibly higher-ordered) of the same variable.

We engineering types often become very familiar with the Laplace transforms techniques for solving these equations in particular, so much so that the fact that the equations we solve algebraically by these techniques correspond to ordinary differential equations fades into the background of distant memory.

But the general student studying differential equations must learn to deal with a more diverse swath of differential equation-types, some of which are not amenable to solution by Laplace transform.

I could immediately help any student struggling with the Laplace transform techniques, and
with a couple days notice, offer some less expert assistance with some of the other techniques, such as variation of parameters, the method of Frobenius.

My memory of the details of how to approach solving some of these other types of differential equations, up to and including an entire course covering various partial differential equations is very faint.

Electrical Engineering

Some of the fruits of electrical engineering are ubiquitous throughout modern society, while other aspects of it play behind-the-scenes.

Electrical/electronic engineering includes the analysis of circuits, motors, transmission lines, semiconductor devices, digital circuits, analog circuits, control systems, power conversion, microprocessing, control theory (classical, modern, and digital), electrostatis, electrodynamics and others.

Each of these topics is deep enough to make up one or more courses all by itself. I am well-qualified to teach introductory circuit analysis of AC/DC circuits; it is the basic glue that every electrical engineering -related degree-holder knows like the back of their hand.

With a little review, I could surely help anyone struggling with digital circuit theory and boolean algebra. I was top of the class, but haven't used it lately.

I may be able to help with other courses to a limited extent.


While I am certainly not as focused or mathematically rigorous as a real geometry specialist like Euclid, I am quite comfortable tutoring geometry students who aren't worried about mastering the art of writing proofs and just want to do their best in the rest of it. Circles, triangles, quadrilaterals, spheres, hexagons and all sorts of other 2-D and 3-D shapes and angles are found in both nature and our man-made technologies that use nature's elements, so knowledge of their properties is a fundamental tool I use on a large percentage of engineering and design calculations.
I know most of the useful relationships like the back of my hand, and I am always glad to share this expertise with each geometry student.

Linear Algebra

Linear algebra is the study of systems of equations described using matrix and vector notation.

It can seem like a chore before you realize the practical applications of it, but it is a chore worth doing well, as it has myriad applications throughout engineering theory.

The knowledge of linear algebra simplify the task of solving simultaneous equations. This is ginormous! Why? Because simultaneous equations arise that need to be solved to do structural design in civil engineering, circuit design in electrical, lens design in optics, control systems design. Aspects of it are used in physics to solve quantum mechanical equations, in mechanics to find torque vectors or moments, .... etc.

In short, there are untellable numbers of applications, but you'll run into applications of linear algebra time and time again, so learn it thoroughly the first time!

Microsoft Excel

I have worked extensively with several versions of Excel (although not with the latest). In conjunction with my background as a software developer, I can readily handle comprehending and exploiting some of the most obscure features of the package, including the use of plug-ins, VBA, writing macros and setting up spreadsheets with custom formatting. I have set up numerous Excel spreadsheets over the years. I use it to help me do my taxes every year, to explore and compare various alternatives when making decisions at home and on the job, and to analyze data (even in three dimensions) including curve-fitting and statistics.

Microsoft PowerPoint

Powerpoint is a Windows application designed to help you produce effective, readable, and attractive slide presentations. It can also help you apply an overall theme to your entire presentation, so that you can experiment with and customize the color scheme and choose from a variety of styles and animations to help jazz up your presentation. Video and music can easily be incorporated and accompanying handouts can be customized in myriad ways (although not always appropriate depending on the purpose, audience, and circumstances). I am qualified to tutor someone in Powerpoint because my most recent Powerpoint presentation drew specific praise for being a very effective use of the tool. If I recall correctly, I believe it was about a physics experiment on blackbody radiation. My background as a software developer often gives me special insights into the inner workings of such packages to allow me to notice, understand and explain behaviors and functionality that sometimes seem nonsensical to the average user.


The study of the physical world around us and the nature of the interactions between all of the forms of matter and energy in it.

My bachelor's degree in engineering physics from the University of Alberta helped me develop strong problem-solving skills and an understanding of both classical and modern physics. I also have the engineering and philosophical background to be able to support my answer when a student asks "But why should I care about this?"

Often more of every-day life relates to physics than one realizes -- changes to climate, one's home or office air-conditioning and heating bill, fuel economy of one's vehicle, the performance of an audio, visual, or lighting system under various conditions, the prescription of one's glasses, the elements of performance achievement in one's favorite sport.. to name a few. While I believe most people find physics interesting, many will appreciate their physics course even more if it helps saves them money and protect the environment over the course of the rest of their lives.

Furthermore, for students destined to become political, business or thought leaders, a sound understanding of physics-principles is vital because they both uncover and bound the technologies that shape our world, play critical roles in elements of public and international policy, and cull implausible investment opportunities from consideration. It is essential for humanity's long term success that our actions are consistent with an accurate understanding of physics principles, to minimize waste of our limited physical resources including time.

I enjoy working with students from teen to adult up to and including introductory college-level physics to help them develop their physics brain. Whether you think your brain needs the help catching up to your physics goals and ambitions, or you just want to improve your problem-solving skills or understanding of physics, I would enjoy working with you, too.


Precalculus is an important and interesting part of every student's life if they are considering taking calculus, arguably the most useful mathematical tool ever invented (and by reputation, perhaps the most intimidating).

Building a solid foundation in the trigonometric relations, the relations between the manipulations of an equation and its graph, inverse functions, composite functions, domains, ranges, roots of polynomials, and the like ensures that the study of calculus will not become far more difficult and intimidating than it needs to be. Focus on doing well in precalculus so that you can get through calculus without a headache!

SAT Math

The SAT Math test is typical of many standardized math tests in that often as not, two or more of the typically four offered answers can be eliminated if one knows some of the most important math shortcuts -- simple facts and observations that can save time or improve accuracy.

In most cases, I coach students to put their calculators away. Most SAT questions can be answered correctly without pressing a single key. Only after all questions have been attempted would I normally consider checking work with a calculator.

To improve SAT math scores, I work with a student to make sure their understanding of the subject is strong, and help work the kinks out of any identified weaknesses in the tested skills. Solid understanding is a prerequisitie of sane confidence, a prerequisite to keeping exam stress within healthy and helpful bounds.


Even though I have never myself encountered a need to take a course purely dedicated to statistics, I have successfully tutored students struggling with concepts in statistics. Perhaps this is because I am very good at math, and tutor a lot of it, and therefore easily understand all of the math involved. It is partly because I have in the past signed out and studied statistics textbooks from the library in order to make sure I was prepared enough to help the stats students who had nowhere else to turn. Finally, part of earning my bachelor's degree in engineering physics required passing a course called "Statistical Thermodynamics" in which I learned about how the statistics of the motions of atoms in a gas, or atoms in a magnet, or molecules in a rubber band, for instance, can be used to help us study various aspects of our world and predict certain properties of it. I earned a perfect score on the final exam in that course. I also encountered aspects of statistics in other courses such as quantum physics, laser electronics, control system theory, and certain physics laboratory experiments.


Trigonometry involves the study of angles, lines, and especially many of the characteristics of various two-dimensional shapes, in some detail.

The ability to solve triangles is extremely important for, and can be immediately applied to, the act of making measurements.

For example, the best methods for finding out the distance to a star, the height of a tree or tall building, the maximum height safely reached via a ladder of a given height.

It also comes into play in the study of calculus, and a huge number of other subjects that depend on calculus, and almost always depend on a solid background in trigonometry.

In short, if you are having trouble in trigonometry and considering any occupation (or even a hobby, like say, quilting) where you might have to measure, design, or build anything, it would be far easier to get your troubles with trigonometry taken care of than it would be to find a way to get by without it. There is simply no way to angle around that.


While a full-time university student, I player-coached a men's volleyball team that started with some rank beginners and level 15 (= last) of a bubble-up/down-type weekly city-wide recreational volleyball league up to around level 10 in only one year.
I made use of my high school experience, in which I was voted athlete of the year largely on the strength of being a key player of a two-time provincial bronze medal-winning team, including an undefeated regular season my senior year, as well as training obtained from the coaches and players of the collegiate teams of the University of Calgary Dinos, and the internationally-ranked University of Alberta Golden Bears, including "Most Improved Player" from renowned U of A coach, Terry D. as a member of an adult summer volleyball camp. While I cannot exactly claim to have developed the skill set of an indoor-game setter, I also accumulated several games worth of two-on-two sand court experience, in which setting skills are particularly important, and I often serve as the setter in typical pickup games.

I am nevertheless undoubtedly skilled enough to help many players improve their float serve, jump-serve, hitting, passing, court vision, blocking, and team play.

University of Alberta
Engineering Physics


University of Alberta (Engineering Physics)

Excellent Physics Tutor — My son enjoyed working with Isaak B. for his physics course at the University of Pittsburgh. My son's physics teacher was very hard to understand. Isaak was able to simplify this difficult course and my son received an excellent grade. I recommend Isaak as a physics tutor. Isaak is a reputable and reliable tutor. ...

— Gary, Pittsburgh, PA on 12/12/14

Hourly fee

Standard Hourly Fee: $48.00

Cancellation: 24 hours notice required

Travel policy

Isaak will travel within 40 miles of Gibsonia, PA 15044.

Background Check Status for Isaak B.

Isaak B. passed a background check on 3/16/15. The check was ordered by Isaak through First Advantage. For more information, please review the background check information page.

After sending a message to Isaak, you will be able to order a new background check for $7.99. As part of your tutor selection process, we encourage you to run updated background checks. Please also review the safety tips for hiring tutors.