"We have found Ross to be very organised and proficient in his teaching of Maths. (Student) has got on very well with him, learnt a lot and made good progress, so we are all very happy and would have no hesitation in recommending Ross to others."
Mrs Y, SAT I Tuition
Senior School Entrance
2011- : MA Filmmaking (London Film School)
2006-7: MRes Humanities (U of London) Distinction
2002-5: BA (Hons) English, 2:1 Cambridge University. Downing College.
1999-2001: 4 As at A level (English, French, History, Maths), 2 distinctions at S level (English, French)
1997-1999: 13 A*s at GCSE (English Lit and Lang, Maths, Statistics, Double Science, Geography, History, French, German, Latin, IT, RS)
My main work is GCSE and A-Level home schooling and preparing students for application to Ivy League schools in the USA. I have been employed in long-term one-on-one preparation of 150+ students for the ACT, the SAT-I math and verbal components and the SAT subject tests. Of these students, around 50% made successful applications to Ivy League schools and 40% scored 2100+ on the SAT-I component of the SAT. I also assist in drafting of Common Application essays and liaising with referees. I prepare younger students for the SSAT and ISEE tests and graduate students for the GRE and GMAT tests.
I teach a wide range of students, both in GCSEs and A Levels and in SATs and other American standardized tests. I’ve included a couple of case studies of recent work below (names have been changed).
‘Joseph’ and ‘Kyle’ (A level and GCSE respectively) – Joseph and Kyle are brothers whom their mother wanted taught in alternating blocs of time during a semi-residential engagement. (Since the family lived an hour from London, it was agreed that I would teach ‘residential’ hours, i.e. 4-6 hours per day, but that I would commute to and from their house each day rather than stay over, which was mutually convenient.)
Kyle is a self-starting, hardworking boy, but Joseph is easily distracted. The lion’s share of my work, of course, involved prepping Joseph for his A2 exams (for which he was quite unready), but a portion of it involved limiting the extent to which he distracted his brother. In order to ensure the most direct progress on the academic front, we drew up a hit list of the ten topics that worried him most in his French, English, History and Geography A2s. We then made sure to give the most time to these during what ended up being three and a half solid weeks’ work together, spread over three months.
This direct approach helped Joseph feel that he was really putting in the hours where it counts. The fact that we’d set out a clear plan at the outset also made it easy for me to have a couple of ‘state of the union’ chats with him when his mother and I agreed that he hadn’t been applying himself as strenuously as could be expected. These chats shook him a little, but had immediate effects: the morning after one of them, he got up at 7:30am and did two hours’ work before I arrived, a habit that (to my knowledge) he stuck to. By degrees, he changed into a different boy, academically speaking. Where previously he was sloppy and contented with doing the bare minimum, thereafter he started to work for an ‘edge’, often by taking on extra work that would have been unthinkable from him only a short time before. He also stopped bothering Kyle quite so much, leaving him to prep for his GCSEs in peace.
‘Arthur’ (standard level SAT student) – Arthur is a young player with a Premier League football club. The club decided to help him in his aim of going to University in the USA, getting me involved to assist with the exam preparation side. Arthur was fortunate in that his sporting prowess meant having to hit a lower target composite score, but unfortunate in that he had a very limited amount of time in which to prepare and also had to deal with unpredictable nature of match scheduling at his level.
I aimed to give Arthur stability and continuity through the use of my bespoke preparation materials. These allowed us always to pick up where we left off in Critical Reading, Writing and Maths, regardless of whether our previous lesson had been two days or two weeks previously. They also allowed us to work together remotely on the occasions that he was up North or on the continent.
I also introduced Arthur and his Head of Education, Chris, to a very distinguished applications advisor with whom I work on occasion. Bertha helped them to understand the unfamiliar territory of US applications and negotiate the best deal for him when it came to his scholarship.
Arthur got great news in May 2013 when his results confirmed that he would be able to take up his fully funded place at a leading Midwestern university. As a result of my work with Arthur, I have now made contacts with other Premier League clubs and will be tutoring further young players in the 2014-15 season.
‘Dola’ (ACT student) – Dola had spent several months with another tutor preparing for the SAT before deciding that the exam just wasn’t for her. I was brought in to help her make a fairly last minute change of tack, teaching her at her public school outside London twice per week. I started by showing her the similarities between the SAT and ACT (which are overwhelming) – this put her at ease. I proceeded to teach her the differences (a bit more math, a different type of comprehension section in the form of the Science) and practiced these with her.
Despite everyone’s doubts, Dola impressed enormously in the ACT exam, getting an overall score of 34 and entry to her prestigious Ivy League school.
‘Fay’ (GMAT/GRE) – Fay is a recent graduate from the University of Bristol and wanted to do a Master’s Degree at the LSE, which requires GMAT/GRE scores for certain courses. She started off aiming for the GMAT. I helped her with this by drilling her in exercises drawn from the OG, enhancing these teaching offerings with bespoke materials of my own. In the Quant, I put together worksheets focusing on particularly tough question types. In the Verbal, I helped her grow her vocabulary and feel for idiom (she is a non-native English speaker) through exercises based around articles I selected from the London Review of Books and The Economist
At a certain point, Fay decided that the GMAT was not for her and went for the GRE instead. I stayed with her through this change and, as above with the SAT and ACT, began by showing her that lots of GRE questions (esp on the quant) are identical to GMAT questions. We then focused on the differences and other issues such as exam technique and timing.
Fay worked very hard and got her target score. She is due to begin her Master’s at the LSE this October.
Alex (French SAT II) – Alex was a French native speaker but was finding that he could not score above the mid-to-high 600s in his initial practice tests. In our diagnostic session, we isolated Alex’s specific difficulties: on the one hand, he was not terribly familiar with the format of the SAT subject tests (having sat the ACT up until this point), nor with the specific strategies one should employ with these; on the other, he admitted that some of the vocabulary and grammar questions were difficult even for him. We set about resolving these issues in the following ways:
— I took him through the reading comprehension skills particular to the SAT and showed him how one can use the multiple choice format to one’s advantage while avoiding losing marks for wrong answers
— I helped him to build his vocab and grammar knowledge with a mixture of structured exercises and reading real French texts from Le Monde and elsewhere.
By the time of Alex’s first official test, he felt he had made a big improvement and this was borne out in his score of 750.
Murad (French SAT II) – Murad was typical of many students attempting the French subject test in that he was a. not a native speaker (although he had spoken French more often when he was younger); b. studying French for A level (or equivalent).
Murad was surprised by the difficulty of the French subject test for much the same reasons as Alex: he found the vocabulary difficult and was quite often tricked by the way the questions were worded/structured. Murad had a greater distance to cover vocabulary-wise, so I set him lists of words to learn before every lesson instead of taking the more free-form approach I had with Alex. I covered much the same ground in terms of grammar, however, with both students.
Murad’s first sitting of the exam didn’t go that well and he scored in the mid-600s. We conducted a post-mortem of this result and decided that it would be better for him to switch to the French with Listening, since his listening skills were much better than his reading ones. This did the trick and he got a 700.
Hobbies and Interests
When I am not tutoring I am a filmmaker, making commercials and music videos and developing a web series and several feature film projects.
From the parents of an SAT I student
We have found Ross to be very organised and proficient in his teaching of Maths. (Student) has got on very well with him, learnt a lot and made good progress, so we are all very happy and would have no hesitation in recommending Ross to others.
From father of SAT I Math student:
[…] Wanted to take the opportunity to thank you for recommending Ross who did a stellar job with little time in preparing (Student) for his Math 1 subject test. He was an efficient pedagogue.
From father of SAT II Math student:
[…] I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank you for arranging for James to work with Ross. (Student) very much enjoyed working with him and felt that Ross explained everything very clearly and that he was extremely helpful. Ross is also very personable and Mia and I are grateful for his assistance