I want to thank you so much for helping me as I prepared for the SAT and Math SAT II. I came into the class quite nervous about these huge exams. I have always been insecure about my math abilities, and on my practice tests, I was scoring significantly lower on the math section than I was on the other sections. I was consistently landing a score in the low to mid six-hundreds, and I hoped to boost that score by about a hundred point.
The tricks that you showed me in the math class I took with you presented the same old problems in new ways. It's not like you were teaching us rocket science in the few weeks before the exam; rather, you were showing us how to logically break down what might seem, at first glance, like a difficult problem. For example, for problems involving fractions or percentages, you showed me how to visualize and diagram the problem such that I never got those problems wrong again. Moreover, I was moved not only by what you taught us but also by how you taught us. You are such a kind and patient teacher, and you assigned me only as much work as I needed in order to improve. I was quite happy when I ended up getting a composite score of 2350 on the SAT, with a math score of 790. That was the highest I had ever performed on the math portion, and I truly feel that I owe my improvement to your steady guidance and patience.
The trek to improving my math SAT II score was much more difficult than that to improve my SAT I score because again, math is not my strength, and the SAT II covered far more difficult material. I began having private tutoring sessions with you, which helped me a lot more than a class because you truly catered to my needs. It turned out that I had poorly learned some of the material in class, so we spent a lot of time reviewing those things (like permutations and combinations) instead of unnecessarily spending time on material I already understood well. It was this careful focus on my weaknesses and repetitive drilling on problems associated with them that boosted my confidence for the test. I still have the binder chock full of practice test after practice test that accurately reflected the difficulties of the actual exam; whereas my friends who bought other prep books found in regular bookstores were struggling with practice exams that were unnecessarily difficult or misleadingly easy. I felt confident with more than enough practice problems with which to work. Another resource you gave me were the calculator programs that I could use in the test. The "SAT II" program you downloaded onto my TI-83 turned out to be invaluable, as it saved me much needed time on the test, on which I ended up earning a 700, with which I was quite happpy.
Again, I want to emphasize how much I owe you and how much I thank you. Of all the time I spent at your center, I appreciate most our private tutoring sessions much because of the lessons we focused on but also because of the side conversations we had, the friendship that grew out of math (of all things), and the occasional visits from your wife and adorable children. I enjoyed all those moments – both refreshing my memory on hyperbolas and just goofing off every once and a while to learn more about each other as human beings. In the fall, I will be attending the program of my dreams at Brown University, where I am enrolled in an eight-year liberal arts and medical education program; for someone whose strength lies in the humanities, it's truly empowering to be able to pursue medicine, something that requires a solid foundation in mathematics. I owe you a huge one for helping me attain that foundation and for helping me reach the requisite scores; your selfless contribution to my education has shaped my future for the better, and I appreciate all you've done. I'll definitely be seeing you around; I'm sure I'm going to need help in the future with college-level work…yikes!
- Note: Vyvy graduated from Harker School and is pursuing her MD degree in the 8 years medial program in Brown University. She was admitted to all the UC's including UCLA and UC Berkeley.