Over 200 tutoring hours

Brad M.

Blacksburg, VA

$40/hr

Math - Science - Business: simple, calculator-free concepts

In-person lessons
Replies in 3 hours
4.9 Avg. Rating
 
 
69 Ratings
 
 
3hrs Response Time
Great Math Instructor
— Karen, Christiansburg, VA on 8/9/13

Message Brad

Send Brad a message explaining your needs and you will receive a response by email. Have you already emailed Brad or another tutor? If so, you have an account! Sign in now

Please enter the tutor's email address.
Please enter the student's email address.
Please describe how you heard about us.

Receive responses from additional tutors

If you select this option, WyzAnt will ask interested tutors to contact you by email if they are able to help. A maximum of five different tutors will email you and none of your personal information, including your email address, will be released.

Virginia Tech
mechanical engineer
Virginia Tech
Graduate Coursework

Education

Virginia Tech (mechanical engineer)

Virginia Tech (Graduate Coursework)

About Brad

Since 1987, what young minds have taught me in my thousands of sessions with them (both one-on-one and in the classroom) is that they appreciate things that are simple, fun, and practical. They respond to pictures, stories, game-like "what if?" experiments, and real-world examples. They prefer handiwork over paperwork. Most importantly, students love to personalize -- really understand -- what they are learning rather than merely to read books or to memorize things.

REMOVING THE WORRIES
Families are concerned with time and money. Thus, clients are welcome to cancel at no charge! Cost is always negotiable on a case-by-case basis. Students enjoy the lesson or it's free.

Students are afraid of making mistakes. Since we are learning, we're not scared of errors. In fact, during preparation is EXACTLY THE BEST setting for messing up -- we learn more! I like it when clients progress in confidence and know-how enough to notice and correct MY occasional goofs! Since I'm comfortable with my mistakes, students can be at ease with theirs.

Learning is much more about temperament and attitude than intelligence. Our sessions will maintain a calm focus -- always relaxed, flexible, humble, and respectful. While success cannot be guaranteed, half of my WyzAnt clients have rated our lessons most highly. What I can promise is that our sessions will be very different from "school" and quite simple.

2013-2015 WYZANT CLIENT MIX
Since March 2013, 30 clients (10F, 20M) have purchased 215 lessons. Only 7 lessons (4%) were "one-time" without 5-star (*****) feedback -- clearly, customers have been requesting repeat business. Two-thirds of teaching time have been with ten clients. Rather than aiming for perfect scores, most students seek simple advice to move from below-average to above-average performance. Academic year 2014-15 successes include two accounting students (VT & RU) at risk of having to repeat courses advancing to solid B's, a sports-medicine coed achieving above-average grades in physics, and a calculus client outscoring class-average test scores by 20 points.

Physics and chemistry sessions with 7 college women comprised 12% of client subjects. Accounting, statistics, and economics amounted to 23% -- dominant in 2014. Advanced algebra and pre-cal made up another 24%, especially in 2015. Business calculus, discrete integration, multi-variable calculus and engineering math totaled 22%, with the remaining 19% of tutoring for admissions-test "prepping" -- 2013's main activity.

WHAT I BRING TO CLIENTS
Many university students want to quickly comprehend a required course OUTSIDE the major field of study: business majors needing to pass calculus (RU MATH 151, VT MATH 1526), life-science coeds trying to get through physics (RU PHYS 111-2), or marketing people needing to make sense of accounting (RU ACTG 211-2, VT ACIS 2115-6). Our sessions will focus on the 20% of a subject that can be used 80% of the time, positioning clients for a solid "B" in these tough classes with modest effort.

My interdisciplinary background in energy, electronics, human physiology, music, investments, and sports provides a treasure trove of "true-to-life" examples that can engage a diverse clientele, young and old. Hands-on engineering work includes 2000 hours of power-plant testing, plus 2000 hours in labs teaching electronics, water-air-heat flow, vibrations, and technical writing.

HIGH-STAKES TEST PREP
Too much test time is wasted fooling with equations and calculators. Signs can be missed, fractions inverted, and wrong buttons pushed. Students will learn how to "re-frame" the test questions, avoiding the unproductive "reflex" of jumping "headlong" into equations. Key tools are a few principles and a couple of back-up "safety nets." Math clients will practice applying these tools on every test problem.

Two psychological traps hurt scores: overconfidence on "easy" questions, and ever-changing answers to tougher problems. The remedies? Double-checking easy answers (you have time), and keeping your first guesses UNLESS there's a REASON to change answers. (Note: "Feelings" are NOT reasons -- retain your initial response).

Since most exam "retakers" rise less than a few percentiles in rank, we aim for twice that gain: 10-plus percentile improvements.

HOW IT WORKS
Our tutoring lessons can serve one of three typical objectives.
Ideally, tutoring early in a course, as soon as it gets "murky," can clarify things so that the rest of the course will make sense. Or we can have test-prep sessions, much like "warm-ups" with a coach on the driving range or putting green before the golf match. As a last resort and with less chance of success, an end-of-course "sorting-out of matters" may be needed to recover the course and final grade. Kindly email, if handy, a table of contents or course syllabus to indicate what to prepare for our very first session and for your next exam. Students are welcome at no cost to Email specific, pressing questions for a next-day response.

PHILOSOPHY
Many school challenges have math as "the sticking point." Math processes are typically cast in the abstract language of symbol manipulation with formal rules to memorize. Although this academic approach works for some students, even these students who can recall and use this method have no idea what the equations MEAN. Instead, our session problem-solving will feature reason rather than formulas, comprehension before computation. The goal is to fulfill my URL designation "/oneliners" by expressing the clearest, easiest, and briefest solutions.
Since 1987, what young minds have taught me in my thousands of sessions with them (both one-on-one and in the classroom) is that they appreciate things that are simple, fun, and practical. They respond to pictures, stories, game-like "what if?" experiments, and real-world examples. They prefer handiwork over paperwork. Most importantly, students Read more

Policies

Clients may cancel anytime for any reason at no charge! Cost is negotiable on a case-by-case basis. Students enjoy the lessons or they're free.

Travel Radius
Travels within 40 miles of Blacksburg, VA 24060
Background Check: Passed
In-person lessons

"Great Math Instructor"

- Karen, Christiansburg, VA on 8/9/13
Brad replied on 8/10/2013

Thank you kindly, Karen, for the generous assessment. Your son and I appreciated first-hand how a fully-labelled sketch can easily "re-frame" many of these SAT math puzzles. We had a lot of fun avoiding the time-consuming academic "reflex" of diving headlong into equations -- we even enjoyed a few chuckles regarding the value of these "simpler ways." It was a pleasant summer with your son and I will miss our routine.

The very best to both of you...

"Responded to Our Request Quickly and Met My Son the Next Day"

- Deb, Radford, VA on 11/5/14
Science:
Chemistry,
Physics
Business:
Accounting,
GRE
Test Preparation:
ACT Math,
GRE,
SAT Math
Corporate Training:
Accounting

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.

Accounting

Extensive local tutoring has included both financial and managerial accounting principles for VT ACIS 2115-2116 and RU ACTG 211-212.

Accounting, simply stated, is the "language" used in recording business transactions. The simplest transaction is an actual lump-sum transfer of cash on a specific date. Most deals, however, take non-cash forms and are spread out over time -- sometimes over very long, even indeterminate timeframes. This is when accounting gets very interesting, requiring a deep understanding of the principles, assumptions, and estimates used in producing a particular accounting exhibit. It's NOT so much what the numbers ARE, but what the numbers MEAN. And the figures can mean VERY different things in different business situations! It's also helpful to notice when the accounting is sober & conservative and when it's "rosy" and overly-optimistic. I'd be of more practical help in the reading and understanding of accounting statements than in their actual preparation. I've also been requested to perform numerous quarterly audits.

In 1987, Virginia Tech saw fit to award me a Minor in Economics. As a practicing private investor from 1996 through 2006, I examined thousands of accounting exhibits for hundreds of companies and their annual reports describing their financial situations. During that same 10-year period, I wrote 172 pages of essays explaining each of my investments. My favorite investment writers are J.M. Keynes, Ben Graham, Phil Fisher, and Warren Buffett. It was fun to own Berkshire Hathaway shares from February 2000 through 2006.

ACT Math

Students can enjoy simple techniques to "re-frame" many of these ACT Math puzzles using a very different, non-academic approach. Our "toolkit" includes: cutting in half, rescaling, "seeing the offset," "stair-stepping," noting counter-examples, using the "middle-value," "spelling it out" for powers & probability patterns, numer/denom tracking, and system "levelling and cancelling." Our cost-free material contains hundreds of multiple-choice and "grid-in" problems. Typical sessions begin with a tutorial puzzle, followed by a review of test questions, and ending with a timed-test simulation (Goal: 1 answer per minute).

Our ACT sessions will impart a "down-to-earth", visual sense of how any triangles work. Would you like to be able to "see" the three sides and three angles of any triangle without fumbling with equations? This can be performed mentally within a minute. Given two sides and an angle, or two angles and a side, we can specify the three remaining unknowns within 5%. No calculator or tables are needed! We will use two simple approximations often overlooked. This will serve as a handy supplement to the laws of sine and cosine for non-right triangles. We'll see how squares and circles work -- the template for almost all spatial concepts. Geometry areas and volumes can be estimated with no formulas to remember! We will also "see" how most algebra stems from the y=x and y=x^2 relations.

Algebra 1

Having been favored with a BS in mechanical engineering, as well as power plant and laboratory experience, our algebra sessions will impart a "down-to-earth", visual sense of how the graphical equations work. The mx + b relation, for example, has two "knobs" -- "m" is the slope or amplifier/gain knob and "b" is the offset dial. I've enjoyed teaching thousands of sessions since the late 1980's, both in large classes and in the home on a wide variety of topics. Good teachers care about people, are good examples, know their subject, and are terribly interesting. That's what I aim to provide.

Algebra 2

Picking up where Algebra 1 leaves off, the y=x^2 relation is the starting point for this subject. Learn to "stair-step," "cut in half," and to re-scale systems of equations to "even up" or "cancel." The square, circle, and triangle will form our "template" for all spatial concepts. Students will develop a handy "visual" sense of polynomials, sine waves, and the e^x and ln(x) curves. Algebra 2 overlaps with much of the precalculus description below.

Calculus

Practical training is for science as well as business majors (VT Math 1525 & 1526, RU MATH 151). Other tutored courses have included VT Math 1206, 2214, 2224. Calculus is the mathematics of change. Slope (a derivative) is all about observing differences. Integration is simply a "fancy way of adding." Think about your car's dashboard: the speedometer measures velocity. How do you "integrate" the speed? Look at the odometer (an "integrator") -- it adds, or accumulates, the distance traveled. Automatic feedback controls for all kinds of devices and processes use slope detectors or integrators. Say a car's cruise control is set for 60 mph. Heading up a steep hill, the car speed drops quickly. That sudden difference in speed can trigger a differentiator or slope detector to "hit the gas" as well as downshift the "tranny" to recover the 60 mph speed.

Chemistry

It was enjoyable to make the "final four" of the 21 high-school teams competing at the Corning, NY chapter of the American Chemical Society's May 1981 "Chem Bowl". Virginia Tech favored me with a full 1st-year of advanced-placement (AP) chemistry credits. High-school-level chem is likely where I'd be more helpful.

Chemistry is all about the slots in an atom's electronic "outer-shell." We must also attend to concentrations & proportions. Lewis-diagram rules can "size-up" possible compounds, like using Tinker Toys or Legos. We'll also see bond angles and molecular shapes.

GRE

Having been favored with a GRE Quant score in the 97th percentile (770/800 scaling), our GRE math sessions will impart a "down-to-earth", visual sense of how the numbers and formulas work. Students can enjoy simple techniques to "re-frame" many of these GRE Math puzzles using a very different, non-academic approach. Our "toolkit" includes: cutting in half, rescaling, "seeing the offset," "stair-stepping," noting counter-examples, using the "middle-value," "spelling it out" for powers & probability patterns, num/denom tracking, and system "leveling and canceling."

Our cost-free material contains 240 multiple choice problems and over 300 "numeric entries." Typical sessions will begin with a tutorial puzzle, followed by a review of test questions, and ending with a timed-test simulation (Goal: 1 answer per minute). Almost all spatial concepts stem from circles and squares. Geometry areas and volumes can be estimated with no formulas to recall! We'll "see" how algebra comes from the y=x and y=x^2 relations.

Physics

Local physics tutoring has included RU PHYS 111-112.
Having been favored with a BS in mechanical engineering, as well as power plant and laboratory experience, our physics sessions will impart a "down-to-earth", visual sense of how matter & energy move and interact. Introductory physics can be boiled down to about two dozen concepts. We will use word-pictures (eating, driving a car, spending money, TV shows and movies, sports) and sketch lots of diagrams to “see” the physics. We will see how the numbers work by “tweaking the knobs” of the formulas. We can draw from the “hands-on” mechanical engineering experience I've been favored with: including 2000 hours in power plants testing equipment, plus 2000 hours in laboratories teaching electronics, vibrations, water-air-heat flow, and building a low-hemolysis, pulsatile blood pump for cardiopulmonary-bypass use.

Precalculus

Final exam client preparation has included RU MATH 138.
Our pre-calculus sessions will impart a "down-to-earth", visual sense of how any triangles work. Would you like to be able to "see" the three sides and three angles of any triangle without using a calculator or table of values? This can be done mentally under a minute. Given two sides and an angle, or two angles and a side, we can specify the three remaining unknowns within +/- 5%. No calculator or tables are needed! We will use two simple, overlooked approximations. This will serve as a supplement to the laws of sine and cosine for non-right triangles. Polynomials can be "eyeballed" and factored with simpler methods you may like. "Asymptotes" are simply viewed as "fences" on the x-y grid. Students will also benefit from a "hands-on" look at sine waves, and the e^x and ln(x) functions.

SAT Math

Students can enjoy simple techniques to "re-frame" many of these SAT Math puzzles using a very different, non-academic approach. Our "toolkit" includes: cutting in half, rescaling, "seeing the offset," "stair-stepping," noting counter-examples, using the "middle-value," "spelling it out" for powers & probability patterns, numer/denom tracking, and system "levelling and cancelling." Our cost-free material contains hundreds of multiple-choice and "grid-in" problems. Typical sessions begin with a tutorial puzzle, followed by a review of test questions, and ending with a timed-test simulation (Goal: 1 answer per minute).

Having been favored with a BS in mechanical engineering, as well as power plant and laboratory experience, our SAT Math sessions will impart a "down-to-earth", visual sense of how squares and circles work. Almost all spatial concepts stem from circles and squares. Geometry areas and volumes can be estimated with no fancy formulas to recall! We will also "see" how most of algebra comes from the y=x and y=x^2 templates. I've enjoyed teaching thousands of sessions since the late '80s, both in large classes and in the home on a wide variety of topics. Good teachers care about people, are good examples, know their subject, and are terribly interesting. Students deserve that.

Trigonometry

Having been favored with a BS in mechanical engineering, as well as power plant and laboratory experience, our trigonometry sessions will impart a "down-to-earth", visual sense of how triangles work. "Trig" functions are used to "see" vectors and simple harmonic motion.

Trigonometry is all about "triangles simplified." Would you like to be able to "see" the three sides and three angles of any triangle without using a calculator or table of values? This can be done mentally under a minute. Given two sides and an angle, or two angles and a side, we can specify the three remaining unknowns within +/- 5%. No calculator or tables are needed! We will use two simple, overlooked approximations.

I've enjoyed teaching thousands of sessions since the late 1980's, both in large classes and in the home on a wide variety of topics. Good teachers care about people, are good examples, know their subject, and are terribly interesting. That's what I aim to provide.

Virginia Tech
mechanical engineer
Virginia Tech
Graduate Coursework

Education

Virginia Tech (mechanical engineer)

Virginia Tech (Graduate Coursework)

Great Math Instructor — Brad helped my son with math that he needed to know for the SAT's. He has an insightful way of teaching so that my son understands based on drawings and some theory. My son's question-answer times have improved dramatically! ...

— Karen, Christiansburg, VA on 8/9/13

Hourly fee

Standard Hourly Fee: $40.00

Clients may cancel anytime for any reason at no charge! Cost is negotiable on a case-by-case basis. Students enjoy the lessons or they're free.

Travel policy

Brad will travel within 40 miles of Blacksburg, VA 24060.

Background Check Status for Brad M.

Brad M. passed a background check on 5/1/13. The check was ordered by another user through First Advantage. For more information, please review the background check information page.

After sending a message to Brad, 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.