TUTORANDIA
Empowering students to succeed in
Math, Chemistry, Physics,
SAT/ACT, SAT Subjects

Tutor


Roberto Bianco, PhD

  • Italian-American, in the USA, Colorado, Boulder County, since 1991
  • US citizen since 2004
  • PhD Chemical Physics, MS Chemistry
  • 22+ years (1991-2013) at the University of Colorado-Boulder, Department of
    Chemistry and Biochemistry, as a researcher in Theoretical/Computational Chemistry
  • Numerous publications on peer-reviewed journals (Journal of Physical Chemistry and
    Journal of Chemical Physics, among others)
  • Co-mentor of PhD, MS, Honors, and Senior students

My extensive background in Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics, their application in a professional, academic environment, and the one-on-one mentoring of undergraduate and graduate students for research projects provide me with a unique array of tools for the successful tutoring of students on difficult subjects in preparation for college and their future careers.

Tutoring practice

My tutoring practice addresses each student's specific needs. Sessions
address homework assignments, mid-term and final tests, and
SAT/ACT test prep. The student brings notes, previous tests, homework,
textbooks, a list of the subjects she/he has trouble with, and
dates, subjects and required textbook chapters for the upcoming tests.

During each session, in an intensive and interactive fashion, the student is guided
by example and advice towards the solution of assignments, together with
timely reviews of underlying methods and the frequent probing of the student's
comprehension. This manner of interaction facilitates a full assessment of
the student's strengths and weaknesses in a personable and relaxed atmosphere, and
informs my intervention to reinforce her/his confidence. The best outcomes entail
students allotting enough study time in addition to the tutoring sessions
in order to improve their grasp of the subjects.

Both in-person and remote sessions are available. For in-person sessions, if convenient,
whoever is driving the student to the session is welcome to comfortably wait for
its entire duration in a room adjacent to my tutoring room (open plan). Free wifi available.
Remote sessions make use of Google+/Hangout. The Hangout app is free and only requires the student
to open a gmail/Google+ account, also free, on www.google.com.

Optimal tutoring

Brinnng... Brinnng... Click ... “Hello?”

“Hi, I was referred to you by Jane Smith. My son Sean has not been doing well in Calculus AB. He has the final tomorrow and needs a high score to keep his grade for a scholarship. Later this afternoon he must attend basketball practice – would you have two hours available starting at 6 pm?”

When we meet, Sean looks tired and tense. We attack the test material in earnest, squeezing in crucial refreshers here and there. Sean is initially quite receptive and, with simple hints, holds his own on a few problems, but his performance is rapidly declining. At the 45 minutes mark, he looks very tired struggling with my explanations and confesses he had to skip dinner to make it in time to our session, straight from practice. His team has been gunning for the state championship and they are in the play-offs – that means longer and harder practices! I prod him to drink some water and have a candy bar for a quick sugar boost. On the final stretch, our tempo slows down considerably – unlikely he will retain much, if anything, from this point on. Before he leaves, I give Sean some final words of advice, he appears reassured, some uncertainties still linger. “Good Luck tomorrow!” Hope he has a restful night.

A fictional scenario, to be sure, but how many tutors, students, and parents have lived similar situations? I did, more than once.

It is rather common for a parent to seek remedial tutoring a few days in advance of some important, grade-setting test, and with stringent requirements on when a tutoring session can be scheduled. The students are usually under a lot of pressure, both at school and at home, short on sleep, and short on time to follow up on the tutoring session with further study on their own. What is asked of the tutor is to quickly improve a bad situation without reducing, let alone removing, the causes which led to poor performance in the first place. In these conditions, a full recovery is arduous.

Remedial tutoring – the right way

Tutoring occurs in the context of that highly complex, balancing act which is the daily life of a student. A tutoring session is most productive after the student has delved into the material independently and has narrowed down problem sections in order to facilitate a focused intervention within the 1-2 hours normally required. Tutoring mostly provides guidance, while the main thrust in the recovery is left to the student, who has to carry on with further, independent practice. For remedial tutoring to be effective, it has to be administered well in advance of important tests, allowing enough time for the session material to settle. The overscheduling of a student's activities, the main culprit of poor academic performance, needs to be addressed in discussions involving tutor, student, and parents, and the student's activities portfolio must be reduced in order to make time for tutoring and the extra study required. Volunteering and varsity sports look good on a college application, but only as add-ons – nothing beats a solid GPA and high SAT/ACT scores to help students get in the college of their choice.

Optimal tutoring

Tutoring is far more effective when it is integrated into a student's schedule at the start of the school year. By setting a schedule conducive to the best conditions for learning, tutor, student, and parents act in concert toward the betterment of the student. Then, the weekly tutoring session becomes a stable complement to standard academics, allowing the student to rely on personal, expert attention to timely clarify and assimilate concepts and methods learned in the classroom. As a beneficial by-product of this ongoing interaction, the relationship between student and tutor is strengthened, with the latter assuming at times the role of mentor, further supporting the student's academic and personal growth throughout the year.

Somebody once said: “Time and I against two others, whomever they are!” Learning difficult subjects like Math takes time. Not just classroom time, but quiet time spent outside the classroom unhurriedly perusing a textbook, reading and re-reading a paragraph to full comprehension, understanding all worked out examples, and dodgedly pursuing solutions to exercises. It's called studying, folks, and it takes plenty of focused and unhurried time! While in high school, the boundaries of one's own knowledge should be expanded, the skills needed to acquire that knowledge should be strengthened, the ability to work under pressure tested, and appealing paths in particular fields should become well-defined goals, all of which takes time. If a college degree is the goal, there shouldn't be any doubt in the minds of students and parents that quality studying must be given priority – studying hard in high school has huge payoffs both in college and in life after graduation.

Finally, from an holistic perspective, optimal tutoring must also involve the physical well-being of the student. The ancient Romans used to say: “Mens sana in corpore sano” (Men-s sah-nah ee-n corpo-reh sah-noh) --- healthy mind in healthy body. In our times, this translates into restful and abundant sleep, away from light sources and personal electronics; disciplined hydration, just water, no sugary drinks; nutritious meals, especially breakfast, to fuel the brain and control mid-morning cravings; and daily sport activity, to play, relax, reset ... and get ready for yet another exciting tutoring session!

Subjects


We cover a wide variety of Math, Chemistry and Physics subjects, from
elementary to advanced, both at the High School and College level.
If your subject is not listed below, please email us .

General

  • Algebra I
  • Geometry
  • Pre-Calculus
  • Discrete Math and Math Applications
  • Physics 1
  • Chemistry 1
  • Algebra II / Trigonometry

Advanced Placement (AP)

  • AP Calculus AB
  • AP Calculus BC
  • AP Statistics
  • AP Chemistry
  • AP Physics B
  • AP Physics C Electricity and Magnetism
  • AP Physics C Mechanics

International Baccalaureate (IB)

  • IB Math Studies SL
  • IB Math Standard SL
  • IB Math HL
  • IB Chemistry SL
  • IB Chemistry HL
  • IB Physics SL
  • IB Physics HL

College level

  • General Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Physical Chemistry
  • Quantum Chemistry
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Calculus
  • Physics I
  • Physics II

SAT / ACT


Reading ability, vocabulary, and mathematical knowledge are the pillars
upon which to build a successful bid for the general SAT/ACT. Multiple-choice
test-taking tactics are certainly useful, but cannot compensate for
poor reading and mathematical fundamentals.

Starting as a Sophomore, doing well in challenging classes, being
academically curious, constantly enriching one's vocabulary,
working on math problems with eagerness and gusto, will maximize
the student's ability in her/his Junior and Senior years to attain
the SAT score needed for a befitting college within a few,
intensive sessions of SAT practice.

There is no need for students and parents to start fretting about the SAT/ACT
in Sophomore year, and undergo intensive and protracted test-taking practices then,
when they can even be unproductive for lack of both academic foundations and motivation.
The extensive coursework foundations and the degree of maturity required for the
SAT/ACT are acquired during Junior year. It is at that stage that a concentrated
and intensive SAT/ACT practice can be most successful.

General SAT/ACT prep

To prepare for the test, we recommend an intensive schedule spanning
two weeks and involving five practice tests and five 1-hour tutoring sessions.
This schedule is partitioned into five, closely spaced practice cycles.
In each cycle, spanning 2-3 days:

  • before the tutoring session, the student independently takes
    a full practice test and scores it
  • within the tutoring session, the wrong answers are discussed and
    needed concepts and methods are reviewed
  • after the tutoring session, the student independently
    reviews the lessons learned
The practice test is not timed in the first 2-3 cycles: quality of
reasoning supporting the answers is given precedence over speed.
The last 2-3 practice tests are timed. The number of practice cycles can be
reduced or increased depending on the student's progress.

This intensive schedule is mainly intended for the end of Summer of the
student's Junior year, in order to improve the score of the general SAT/ACT taken
in the Spring. For the latter, a lighter schedule, involving only 2-3 cycles,
is recommended.

SAT/ACT study guides

PSAT study guide
SAT official study guide
SAT Math Level 2
SAT Chemistry
SAT Physics
ACT official study guide

Timeline for the college assessment tests

  • Sophomore year
    • Focus on coursework and take AP/IB classes.
    • Coursework quality and performance during this challenging but
      fruitful year will lay the foundations for a successful SAT/ACT bid.

  • Junior year, August-September
  • Junior year, October
    • Take the PSAT:
      • become acquainted with official college admission testing
      • get feedback on your performance
      • qualify to compete for scholarships
      • start addressing your weaknesses for the SAT

  • Junior year, Spring
    • Register for the general SAT.
    • Take the SAT in March/May/June.
    • Start looking at colleges.
    • If applying to competitive colleges, take also the required SAT Subjects.
    • If you are attending AP/IB classes, take the general SAT and SAT Subjects in March,
      long before finals.

  • Junior year, Summer
    • Enjoy Summer and recharge yourself!

  • Junior year, end of Summer
    • Two-weeks intensive practice for your second pass at the general SAT and SAT Subjects.

  • Senior year, Fall
    • Refine your general SAT score.
    • Retake your chosen SAT Subjects tests.
    • Taking the October/November SAT or the September/October ACT
      allows enough time for early admission.
    • Even taking the SAT/ACT in December still allows for regular admission.

ACT

ACT home
ACT registration dates

Testimonials

Thank you Roberto!

This follow up from you is very helpful and insightful. We appreciate it very much.
To have your thoughts and suggestions after spending time with my daughter is invaluable.
She has loved working with you! For the first time all year, with your help and
your teaching methods, she began to understand and learn the material. I could see
the change in her, the constant struggle and worry was replaced with curiosity and joy.

My daughter reviewed for her exam yesterday at school and takes her exam today. She took
time off yesterday afternoon and evening just like you suggested, to rest her mind
and let it all take root. With a good night sleep, a hearty breakfast, healthy lunch
and your role, we're hopeful that she has a good outcome.

What's most important to me is that she worked hard to do her personal best.
A lifelong love of learning has always been most important to our family and
your help reminded her of how much fun it is to learn.

Thank you.


And then, the day after ...

My daughter got an 85 on her Chemistry test Roberto! I wish you could see the smile on
her face :) She's regained confidence and has a sparkle in her eyes.
What an accomplishment and she could not have done it without you!

Thank you!

(Chemistry, Senior)

Hi Roberto!
My mother and I wanted to write and thank you for all of your help in math.
I can't tell you how much easier math class got after your tutoring sessions.
You really helped me get into all of the schools that I wanted to.

I was accepted at Loyola University Chicago, Columbia College Chicago, CU Leeds,
Western University Ontario, University of British Columbia, and Northwestern!
I have committed and will be attending Northwestern University this fall!

Thank you sooo much!!!

(Math, SAT Math, Senior)

Hey Roberto I just checked my grades online and I got
a 30/30 on my math quiz over chapter 5.3.
Couldn't have done it without your help.

(AP Calculus AB, Junior)

Hi Roberto, I just got my score back for the SAT chem test.
I got a 720! Thanks for all of your help!

(SAT Chemistry, Senior, accepted at Stanford)

I felt like it went well, definitely well enough to keep the grade I need.
I will let you know the percentage when I know it.
Thanks again for all of the help Roberto.

(AP Calculus AB, Senior, already accepted at UCSB, kept grade)

I got a 91 on the final after the curve :).
Top ten in a class of 30.

(AP Calculus AB, Junior)

Hey Roberto,
So I took my chemistry test today on acids and bases and got an 83%!
Hi Roberto,
So I took my chemistry final this morning and I just got the results.
I got a 87% on it and a 77% in the class.
Thank you so much for helping me this semester, it really made
a big difference and both myself and my parents are appreciative.

(Introductory Chemistry, Junior)

B in math – which was really good. It is the best grade my daughter
has ever received for a math multiple choice final.
Thank you for all your help.

(Algebra 2, Sophomore)

Rate


My current rate is $60/hour. Payment is due upon delivery via check, cash, or PayPal (ask for address).Delayed payments will incur an administrative fee.

Fees for time spent answering questions or solving exercises outside of tutoring sessions are calculated at the same rate.

Google+/Hangout sessions are arranged via email and payment is made in advance via PayPal (ask for address).

Cancellation policy


If a student shows up late, the session is not usually extended beyond the agreed time slot because of scheduling conflicts, and the student is still charged for the entire session.

A student who fails to show up or fails to cancel with a 24 hours advance notice is charged for the entire session.

If the tutor shows up late or fails to show up, the student is granted a free, one hour session.

Directions

Tutoring location: 901 Sunflower St
Louisville, CO 80027


View Larger Map