I'm currently a senior finishing a B.S. in Biology at Brooklyn College. During my time as an undergraduate I've shadowed an array of physicians specializing in various medical fields. During this time I was also fortunate enough to conduct research in a SUNY Downstate neuropathology lab. Along with my passion in the sciences, these experiences allowed me to fortify my pursuit in becoming an MD.
During the summer of 2015 I sat for my MCAT examination - an entirely new beast. This was truly a life changing experience, and would certainly recommend several tactics I personally employed in fully grasping the content and critical reasoning required for this exam. In the past one could survive on raw memorization and recall power for an above-par score, but this newly structured exam requires a different approach - a more cohesive and integrated one. I'm also in a binding medical program which allows only one chance to take the MCAT and meet the required benchmark, so this was truly a one-time opportunity, a mentality I would recommend for everyone sitting for this exam.
During my time as an undergraduate I taught in the Peer Health Exchange program - a program in which I traveled to various under-privileged high schools in Brooklyn and taught classes about a selected health topic. I also have experience tutoring one-on-one with students, something I personally find extremely gratifying; motivation and drive are major components of a healthy mind to absorb and retain information, and I strive to balance these with the complexity of the material at hand. Anyone can do anything, but sometimes we all need some help in getting there - I hope to help in any way possible.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: CUNY Brooklyn College - Bachelors, Biology, General
MCAT Biological Sciences: 130
MCAT Physical Sciences: 129
MCAT Verbal Reasoning: 127
Photography, weight lifting, hiking, traveling, poetry, listening to music, exploring NYC, archery, blueprinting
MCAT Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
MCAT Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
High School Biology
MCAT Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe one of the most fundamental requisites of teaching is the ability to translate material into an easily digestible and understandable unit. Each unit should be placed into its appropriate context and, ultimately, connect to each other and the overall picture. This method optimizes retention and maximizes understanding. Since everyone learns differently, it is crucial to take this into consideration when teaching so the particular style employed is tailored to the individual at hand. Every component of teaching should be tweaked, slightly or significantly, to enhance the overall experience and ensure information is finely understood.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
First and foremost, I would get to know the student. This would accomplish several things: allow both of us to understand one another and get comfortable (the psyche can have a major impact on learning), enable me to get an idea of what the student is pursuing/prioritizes, and most importantly, garnish enough information about the individual so that I may draw relevant connections between the material and the student. Then, I would proceed to delve into the material to be covered within that tutoring session. It would take some time to calibrate the appropriate style for the particular student, so this would be another focus of mine during the first session.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
A vital component of one becoming an independent learner is will and confidence. The lack of one can drastically impact a student's overall ability to learn by themselves. I would help ensure they are confident in their train-of-thought and how they begin to understand a topic. I'd also help them realize they are more than capable of understanding the topics. Certain tactics I would use are focusing on the method a student uses to arrive at an answer - no matter if it is wrong or right. This would help reinforce correct thinking and weave out any incorrect methods. I would also encourage the student to be skeptical when thinking, using every perspective appropriate to the situation at hand - this is especially unique to thinking required for exams such as the MCAT.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Reinforcement is key in maintaining a steady and positive outlook on studying. Without encouragement, an individual can lack the proper confidence in their work ethic and eventually lose their motivation. Whenever I tutor, I try to make sure the student is aware they shouldn't get too engulfed in the result; this can add a lot of stress and pressure on a person and trade their intrinsic motivation for an exterior one. The passion of the material is what I try to emphasize; this enables the student to actually WANT to learn the material rather than feeling the NEED to.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I'll target the part of the problem that is disabling the student from learning a skill/concept. This can be done by asking the student to explain the problem they're having, or having them walk me through from beginning-to-end of the skill/concept, during which I would try to locate what is causing their misunderstanding. After which - depending upon the exact issue - I would go into explaining my side of the skill/concept, contrast it to their version, and see if they comprehend what I'm saying. Further review and in-depth analysis may be required, as well as connecting the skill/concept to other areas, especially those immediately relevant to the students' life.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Firstly, I would assure them not being able to fully grasp a reading is perfectly normal, they shouldn't feel hopeless. This is a problem many individuals have, including myself - I did not begin to acquire language skills until a relatively later age, so it's something totally fixable. Difficulties comprehending literature can range a spectrum of causes, so I would try to figure out the reason the student is having difficulty - one cannot treat without a diagnosis. I would walk the student through different questions targeting different skills of reading comprehension, e.g. inferencing, summarizing, analyzing, etc. After locating the specific issues, I would use different pieces of literature and their respective questions to help walk the student through how to answer each of the questions. With constant experience and exposure, the student would acquire the appropriate skills and confidence necessary to answer similar questions alone.