What types of tutoring do you offer?
Private tutoring for students, primarily in test preparation (SAT & ACT) and math.
How long have you been teaching/tutoring?
I have over 20 years (15,000+ hours) teaching and tutoring experience.
For whom do you offer tutoring?
My students range from middle school age to returning university students, but most are in high school.
Where do your private tutoring sessions take place?
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we meet in a study room in the Huntington Beach Public Library at 7111 Talbert Avenue, Huntington Beach, CA 92648. Other days are available for online tutoring. This is done live, one on one, with a simple setup. Please contact me for details.
When is tutoring offered?
Academic Year: Available Mondays through Thursdays from noon to 7:00 and Saturdays 9:30-4:30 by appointment.
Summer: Available Tuesdays through Thursdays from noon to 6 by appointment.
How much do your private tutoring sessions cost?
My rate for a one-hour introductory math session is $90. If you wish to continue, my hourly rate for math tutoring is $325 for 5 hours of tutoring. The rates for test preparation are higher. Frequently, I post discounts on the mcstutoring Facebook page. Please see my rates for test preparation.
Why would I want to work with you or have you tutor my daughter or son?
Good question. About myself: I am a National Merit Finalist, a member of MENSA and a graduate of Pomona College.
More importantly, many of my students have been accepted to and have attended Ivy League and Ivy League caliber schools. I have had a student achieve a perfect score on the SAT and many students score 800 (perfect) on SAT Subject Tests. I have the PDFs to prove it.
My kid isn’t headed to MIT. Is that OK?
While some of my students are overachievers, most have come to me trying to pass a class or secure a B over a C. Others have been brought by their parents hoping for improvement. So please don’t be put off by the accomplishments of some of my students. While it would be great to make the claim that X% of my students get into the Ivy League, it has at times been more rewarding to me (and to the student and his family) that Johnny passed Geometry or Jenny was able to get through calculus without great sleep loss.
Which subjects do you tutor?
I tutor math from pre-algebra to calculus 2 and statistics. As for standardized tests, I prepare students for the SAT, ACT and SAT Subject Tests for Math 1 and 2.
How does subject tutoring work? How often and for how long ought a student meet with you for math help?
Students will typically meet with me on a weekly basis from 1 to 1-1/2 hours per session. Shorter sessions of 1/2 hour are fine in some cases and longer sessions of up to 2 hours are fine in others. Generally, the younger the student and the shorter the tutoring relationship, the shorter the session. Once rapport is built between us and math confidence has been restored, longer sessions can be more worthwhile.
How does the SAT or ACT preparation work?
First, we will determine which test highlights the strengths of the student. To do that, the student will take a practice test of both the SAT and ACT. The tests will be taken from these guides ( SAT or ACT ) as they are tests from the real test makers and will give the most accurate score. I prefer to use these guides because most test prep companies provide tests that are both harder than the real test and scored on a more exacting scale ( Wall Street Journal article elaborating this point ).
Next, we will set up a schedule for sessions. We will want to start from 6-8 weeks out from the test date and meet once weekly. Between sessions, a student will need to take a practice test on their own time, a task taking approximately 3 hours.
There are more details about both the test and test preparation in later FAQs available to current students only.
What are the benefits of tutoring with you?
The most obvious difference with my tutoring is that after we’ve met for the initial session, students can set up sessions as often or as seldom as needed. That way, students are not forced to meet at times they don’t have any material to cover. Also, once we’ve met for the preliminary session, students can email, text or call me about any and all math questions free of charge. If it is a question from a worksheet or other source, a student can use her smartphone to take a picture of the problem and email it to me.
What is the best way to contact you?
Texting me at (714) 696-MATH is the best way to contact me. However, calling or emailing may be better depending on the nature and length of the message.
How do I set up a preliminary session?
Just call me at (714) 696-MATH so that we can set up a time that works. The first session will be for one hour. This allows us to get situated in the study room and commence tutoring.
Where do we meet for the preliminary session?
Please meet me in front of the One Find Blend coffee cart at the base of the fountains in the HB Central Library. From there we will proceed to one of the study rooms on the lower level.
What do we need to do for the preliminary session?
It is important that a parent or guardian accompany the student this first time to the study room so that this selfsame parent/guardian can return to the room about 45 minutes into the hour-long session. At that time I can address specific questions about tutoring. It also allows time to review the tutoring agreement.
What does the student need to bring for the preliminary session?
For the first session, you, the student, will want to bring recent homework from your math class. If possible, also bring a laptop so that we can access online grades, homework, etc. Please also bring a syllabus or assignment sheet so that we can work on current/upcoming homework and see the topics covered in the near future. It is imperative that you bring the class textbook. If your class does not work from a textbook, then bring worksheets that you have worked on recently or are presently assigned. In the case of Mater Dei style classes, bring the Ipad. It’s helpful to bring a laptop as there is free wi-fi in the library and power outlets in the study room should you need a power source. Certainly bring a pencil/pen, paper, and calculator.
Payment will be due at the beginning of the first session. I do not conduct sessions without payment. Checks can be made out to Martin McSweeney or MCS Tutoring. Either way is fine.
What happens during this preliminary session?
The student will be able to complete part of an upcoming homework, ask questions about certain types of problems or review a recent test or quiz. The more prepared the student is with questions, the more effective we will be. This holds true not only for the preliminary session, but also for all other tutoring sessions.
During this session, I will observe how a student works through his or her math problems. For some students, the primary problem is conceptual as they are uncertain when to apply certain methods or formulas. This is more common for those with math anxiety. For others, the difficulty is primarily the details of working through problems. Many adolescents make small calculating mistakes. The solution is showing your work. This is simultaneously the simplest and most overlooked cure for math ailments. This single modification yields amazing results.
Can I cancel the preliminary session with impunity?
Yes, so long as you give me 48 hours’ notice.