Breakthrough Test Prep
I own and teach verbal lessons at a private ACT/SAT Test Prep company in the Potomac, MD area. My mentor worked in this business for 35 years, and we have had students at this location coming from elite private schools, including the former presidents' daughter, and who go on to every Ivy League you could name. Our focus on one-on-one, in-person lessons allows us flexibility in scheduling around the often-busy schedules of 10th and 11th-graders, and in adapting our instruction to each individual student. I like to think that my lifelong enthusiam for reading, writing, and teaching tends to come through in way that makes it easy to connect with and motivate students.
My job every day is to try and engage with and do my best to influence the way my students think about reading and writing - I love that it requires both structure and adaptability, and am grateful to have the opportunity to influence them at such a key time in their lives.
Photos and videos
Frequently asked questions
What is your typical process for working with a new student?
The 60 ACT vs. SAT Assessment. This assessment consists of 11 either/or questions based on the tests format and content.
The 90 Second ACT and SAT Skill Set Assessment. These assessments ask students to self-rate the relevant skill sets required to score well on the SAT and ACT. After completing both, students are able to get a better picture of which test they are most likely to succeed at.
What Type of Learner is Your Teen? Breakthrough has identified and described six types of learners based on how they approach learning.
The Parent and Student Profiles. These provide us the information we need to best advise you and your teen. It includes information such as GPA, current and past courses, personal interests (i.e. how much time they have away from sports), and future goals such as target schools or programs.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
I have a strong humanities background nearly 20 years’ experience tutoring –traveling to students’ homes for private lessons, mentoring gifted high-schoolers and helping them find and share their passions, giving 7am ESL lessons to executives at companies like Google, McKinsey and Accenture, and supervising bachelors and masters students as they completed their thesis work.
I was a National Merit Finalist after placing in the 99th percentile on the PSAT, and scored a 34 on the ACT (36 in Reading). A a result was offered a full academic scholarship to the Honors College at Michigan State University where I majored in Psychology, Philosophy, and History (BA-Interdisciplinary Humanities).
After graduation I moved to Spain where I completed TESOL/TEFL certifcation and worked independently as an English-language tutor for the next 3 years, until enrolling in a two-year Research Masters in Social Psychology at the VU University, Amsterdam. There I continued to teach private students in the expat community as well as university-level courses while completing both my MSc and PhD.
Do you have a standard pricing system for your lessons? If so, please share the details here.
Our standard tuition packages can be found here: https://www.breakthroughtestprep.com/tuition
Our rates are based on expert, one-on-one tutoring in our Potomac learning center. However, we are committed to making our services available to a broader audience - especially given the disruption caused by COVID - if you're looking for instruction (and especially if your teen is motivated!) don't hesitate to get in touch.
What types of students have you worked with?
We focus on intensive, one-on-one tutoring sessions in and around the area of Potomac, MD. A majority of our students are looking to improve their potential score range to enter extremely competitive, Ivy-league level universities and most find that the money invested in improving their entrance exams more than pays for itself in merit scholarships.
What advice would you give a student looking to hire a teacher in your area of expertise?
As a sophomore or junior you're more than capable of taking practice tests and grading them yourself. Take a few (they're free) as soon as you're considering tutoring, time yourself, and keep track of the questions you get wrong. A good tutor should be able to do more than just correct your mistakes - they should be helping you identify patterns, giving you specific feedback on problem areas, and exercises to improve those skills. You just don't have time to go back and review years of grammar rules or math equations in a few months.
What you CAN do is learn to focus more on what you know than what you don't know. Stop getting hung up on what you think you should know, and use the time you have as efficiently as possible. Your mindset and an understanding of how the test is structured can make a MUCH bigger impact than you think.