My name is Tara. I consider myself a mentor/coach first, then a tutor. Once the coach part of me gets to know you well and mentally designs the best plan that works for your specific needs, the tutor part of me generates the curriculum tailored for you. My responsibilities are not limited to teaching you the math and verbal content necessary for the test. My goal is to help you achieve your target score, and I do everything it will take to get you there, including exploring new teaching methods and creating new problems that fit your learning style. A vast majority of students struggle with translating what they learn from a specific problem into similar problems on the same topic. I train you to solve any problem that the test may throw at you. I treat my clients as a personal trainer would treat his/her trainees. I design and employ techniques that address your weaknesses, but I also make sure to fine-tune your strengths. An effective standardized tests training involves several other exercises such as learning shortcuts, guessing skills, and identifying specific sub-categories of questions when you see them on the test (learn more about my techniques in the "Tutoring Methodology" section below).
I have been tutoring/coaching for the standardized exams and math for more than 10 years. I have a Master of Science in Genetics from The University of Chicago and a Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology from Northeastern University. In the last ten years, I have provided both one-on-one and small group lessons to 400+ students. I have been ranked #1 among more than 60,000 worldwide tutors on universitytutor for 5 consecutive years with an average star rating of 4.97 out of 5, based on 93 student reviews. I also have an average of 5 star ratings on Yelp, Facebook and Google. You can view my profile and read the reviews from previous students at UniversityTutor Tara B. and Yelp.
My tutoring experience dates back much further than my 10+ professional years; I used to attend a boarding school in which a class of 40 students gathered around me for help a few days before every major exam. This experience was invaluable and helped me transition into professional tutoring.
I truly love the teaching/tutoring profession; after receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback from my previous students and their parents, I decided to pursue tutoring full-time. Tutoring is much more than just work for me — I plan to continue providing services as a tutor and educator and aspire to one day establish a non-profit organization devoted to helping underprivileged children both in the U.S. and worldwide.
In the last 10-11 years, I have worked with students with with a wide variety of experience, target scores, as well as different amounts of prior preparation. Therefore, whether you are significantly lacking the content knowledge for the math on standardized tests or a math expert who cannot finish the test, whether you have test-anxiety, hate math, or are frustrated with ineffective classes or tutoring, I design the most efficient lessons tailored for your needs, learning style, and personality.
Many of my previous ACT/GRE students have gotten admissions into Ivy League schools, The University of Chicago, Northwestern University and other top ranked universities, and more than a dozen of my GMAT clients have been admitted to the Booth, Harvard, Kellogg, Stanford, Duke, and University of Michigan business schools. However, I have felt (and will always feel) most rewarded when students who start with very little hope and confidence on their math and test-taking skills eventually get admissions into a college, a graduate school, or a business school of their choice.
My previous students have stated in their reviews that I am very friendly, patient, and a great communicator. I believe in the Socratic Method of Teaching and like to help students gain confidence and independence by asking them a series of questions, guiding them to the solutions. A huge part of success on standardized tests has to do with timing. I specialize in shortcuts and more intuitive methods of solving problems, which benefit not only the students who have difficulty pacing themselves and finishing tests on time but also the ambitious students who want to score very high for top-tier schools.
I have experienced that, for many students, one of the greatest obstacles to learning is a lack of interest in the subject matter. I make math and science as fun and interesting as I can, so that my students become self-motivated. I also provide consultation on the emotional aspect of test-taking to students who have fear and anxiety of certain topics. I have been referred to as “a therapist in disguise” on more than one occasion. In other instances, a student and a parent called me "a (rock)star tutor", which inspired the name of my practice ('star', by the way, is also the literal translation of my name, Tara, in my native language, Nepali).
I greatly value knowledge and expression, so my hobbies and interests are a huge part of my life.
I am an amateur (but reasonably trained) singer. A couple of the songs I covered have played on the radio :). I sing in multiple languages and particularly enjoy singing in Romance languages. I recently read a book on vocal pedagogy, which, interestingly, also provided me with some unique insights on general teaching methods. While I don’t expect to capitalize on my musical endeavors, I definitely plan to record something when I find myself technically and aesthetically prepared to do so.
As I mentioned earlier, I have degrees in sciences (BS in Biotechnology and MS in Genetics). Although I decided not to pursue a career in research, I spend a good amount of time reading scientific articles and watching science and math documentaries (most often videos related to astronomy). I own a telescope and take it with me when I visit places with less light pollution. I am also a lover of science fiction and the history of mathematics.
I grew up learning 4 languages, which I now speak fluently. Apart from those, I had also taken 4 years of Sanskrit in high school, and I am currently learning Italian.
I am an avid traveler, hiker, and camper. I have visited 38 US states so far and have camped and hiked in most Pacific and mountain states.
I enjoy writing short stories, especially on the reminiscences of my childhood days and travel experiences. During my high school days, I was primarily involved in comical/satirical writing.
I have painted over 20 pieces in acrylic and water-color media.
I have worked with Bhutanese refugees in the Chicagoland area, volunteered to tutor children in Kathmandu, Boston, and Chicago, and have donated tutoring revenue to earthquake victims.