Brandon made an amazing connection with my son that I haven’t seen with any of his other teachers-he worked twice as hard on his SAT prep as on any of his other projects.

—Tracy, Capitol Hill

Contact Me!

I’m thrilled to meet with you for a free consultation to communicate my passion for what I do, and get a sense for what would most benefit you.

There’s no expectation to sign up at the end of the consultation – you can use it to see if we’d be a good fit.

Your Name

Email Address

When you’re planning to take the SAT

Your previous experience with the test (if any), including previous scores

The scores (in Critical Reading, Math, and Writing) that would make you happy

How you feel about taking all this on – this expert study for the SAT?

Extra Notes/Questions

Contact Me!

I’m thrilled to meet with you for a free consultation to communicate my passion for what I do, and get a sense for what would most benefit you.

There’s no expectation to sign up at the end of the consultation – you can use it to see if we’d be a good fit.
E-mail me, Brandon, at brandon@seattleSATcoaching.com, and include the following information:

Your name, and when you’re planning to take the SAT
Your previous experience with the test (if any), including previous scores
The scores (in Critical Reading, Math, and Writing) that would make you happy
How you feel about taking all this on – this expert study for the SAT?  Eager?  Apprehensive?  Disgusted?  (It’s good for me to know this ahead of time, so I can serve you better)

Don’t have access to your email right now?

You can also use this web-form to answer these questions and send me an email.

Is this for Me?

Would this course be a good fit for me?

I passionately train students to maximize their intellect.  But this isn’t for everyone – expert study requires desire and hard work. To be a great fit for this course:

You should want to substantially raise your score.

You should love learning fascinating things.

You should be able to engage in an hour of intensive thinking each day.

Sound pretty hardcore?  Good!  But you don’t have to be a “good student”, though it’s fine if you are:

You don’t need to have good grades, or like school.

You don’t need to have scored well on standardized tests before.

You don’t need to think of yourself as ‘smart’.

I have a history of helping all sorts of students – the overachievers, the focused-challenged, the apathetic – improve their scores and enjoy learning.

As long as you want to improve, and can block aside the time and energy to do expert practice, I can help you.  If you’d like to get your feet wet, contact me for a free, one-hour consultation.

Study for Writing on the SAT

Schools don’t teach you how to engage big ideas, or write grammatically.

But don’t schools drill the basics of essay-writing?

Yes, but the instruction rarely goes beyond a simple thesis-support structure.  For this test, you need more.

The SAT Writing tests your ability to wrestle with a philosophical question and quickly give an intelligent-sounding opinion.  For example, the prompt might read:

“Is there always more than one right answer?”

The great news: you can respond however you’d like. You can be imaginative, methodical, or hilarious.  You can even be outlandish: Defend Vlad the Impaler!  Attack Abraham Lincoln!

The bad news:  Almost everyone gives lame, dreary responses – when they manage to actually state a side at all.  For example, a student might vomit forth something as plodding as:

“There are always more than one right answer.  Through literature, art, and history, we can see that there are many answers.”

Blah – you can do much better than that!

How can students improve their writing?

I teach you to quickly brainstorm ideas using topics you already know a lot about (kayaking, World War II, Harry Potter fanfiction – whatever).  Once you’re on familiar grounds, I train you in the basic moves of argument so you can engage intelligently with an idea.  So, for example:

“To be sure, most problems have many possible solutions.  But these solutions are ultimately just many ways of achieving the same ultimate goal.  The most pressing problems – such as defeating dictators like Voldemort and Benito Mussolini – ultimately have obvious, simple solutions, and pretending otherwise is dangerous.”

What about grammar?  Isn’t that a majority of the SAT Writing score?

Yes, and it’s the easiest aspect of the SAT to improve.  First, you’ll be grounded in sentence diagramming, so you can slice phrases apart.  Then, you’ll master the unmistakable signs of the various grammar errors.  You won’t have to hunt for the right answers: the wrong answers will jump out and bite you.

Could I see an example?

Sure: first, try to find the error in each sentence.

If I wasn’t such a grammar snob, the president’s speech wouldn’t drive me so crazy.

Who were you flirting with yesterday at the party?  I didn’t catch their name.

Drawing on the work of cognitive psychology, I’ll train you to automatically spot those errors:

Whenever you see if, look for were:  it should read “If I weren’t such a grammar snob” (Subjunctive Mood)

Whenever you see they or their, make sure you mean 2+ people: it should read “I didn’t catch his or her name.”  (Pronoun-Antecedent.  Of course, this still sounds awkward – his or her is wordy – but at least it’s not wrong.  English has issues.)

Interested?  Have questionsContact me for a free consultation, where I can demonstrate and explain these skills in person.

Contact Me About GRE Test Prep

I’m thrilled to meet with you for a free consultation to communicate my passion for what I do, and get a sense for what would most benefit you.

There’s no expectation to sign up at the end of the consultation – you can use it to see if we’d be a good fit.

E-mail me, Brandon, at seattleGREcoaching@gmail.com, and include the following information:

Your name, and when you’re planning to take the GRE
Your previous experience with the test (if any), including previous scores
The scores (in Verbal and Quantitative) that would make you happy
How you feel about taking all this on – this expert study for the GRE?  Eager?  Apprehensive?  Disgusted?  (It’s good for me to know this ahead of time, so I can serve you better)

Don’t have access to your email right now?

You can also use this web-form to answer these questions and send me an email.

Prices

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ONE-ON-ONE COACHING

Lessons are $120 for a 2-hour session, plus a $100 initial fee for books.  I’m committed to custom-fitting my instruction to work around your schedule – how long you have until the test & how often you’re able to meet.

(If you need to cancel a lesson, please do so at least 24 hours in advance.  Cancellations made later than that pay a $45 fee; no-shows are asked to pay the price of the lesson.)

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Where do you meet?

We’ll meet at the Roy Street Coffee and Tea house, in Capitol Hill, Seattle: a pleasant environment with free parking.

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How does this compare to other local GRE tutors?

Because I’m independent, I’m able to charge significantly less than my national competitors.

Interested?  Have questions?  Contact me for a free consultation, where I can lay out the course in person.

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SMALL-GROUP COACHING

The 12-lesson course costs $800.  Lessons are 2 hours long, and are in the meeting room of Roy Street Coffee and Tea house, in Capitol Hill, Seattle: a pleasant environment with free parking.  Groups are limited to 4 students.

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Are discounts available?

If you enter the group with a study-buddy (an acquaintance who you meet with once a week to review), I’ll give you a $75 discount.

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How does this compare to other local GRE classes?

Because I’m independent, I’m able to charge significantly less than my national competitors.

Interested?  Have questionsContact me for a free consultation, where I can lay out the course in person.

Is this for me?

Would this course be a good fit for me?

I passionately train students to maximize their intellectual agility.  But this isn’t for everyone – expert study requires desire and hard work. To be a great fit for this course:

You should want to substantially raise your score.

You should enjoy learning fascinating things.

You should be able to engage in at least one hour of focused practice each day.  (Two is better.)

Sounds pretty hardcore.

It is: but I’m committed to efficiency as well.  At every moment, you’ll attack only that which is most essential for sharpening your cognitive power.

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However, you don’t have to be a “good student”, though it’s fine if you are:

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You don’t need to have scored well on standardized tests before.

You don’t need to think of yourself as ‘smart’.

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As long as you want to improve, and can block aside the time and energy to do expert practice, I can help you.  If you’d like to get your feet wet, contact me for a free, one-hour consultation.

Develop Verbal Skills for the GRE

Even a reading-intensive undergraduate experience doesn’t guarantee you’ll do well on the GRE Verbal. To improve your score, you’ll need to systematically build vocabulary, sentence syntax skills, and logical reasoning.

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How does the course build vocabulary?

As always, using the fruit of cognitive science. You’ll learn how to fold words into long-term memory, how to make them easily accessible once they’re there, and how to deconstruct words you’ve never before seen – all as efficiently as humanly possible.

After this, you’ll laugh at the way most people cram GRE vocab.

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Can you really improve reading ability?

Yes.  Reading is a complex skill, but like any other skill it can be built by expert practice.

I love – love – teaching reading. And I love showing you how to quickly and confidently read the GRE’s convoluted texts.

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How does that work?

The secret: breaking things down. People routinely stumble through the wordiness of academic writing.  But I can train you to simplify those sentences into subject-verb pairs an 8th grader could read.

Try reading the following sentence aloud – extra points if you do it in a single breath:

“Yet one more meticulous case in point for such well-established propositions as that ancestor worship supports the jural authority of elders, that initiation rites are means for the establishment of sexual identity and adult status, that ritual groupings reflect political oppositions, or that myths provide characters for social institutions and rationalizations of social privilege, may well finally convince a great many people, both inside the profession and out, that anthropologists are, like theologians, firmly dedicated to proving the indubitable.”

After a few days of practice, you’ll be able to – without stress – simplify and understand it:

Yet one more meticulous example for such well-established propositions as that ancestor worship supports the jural authority of elders, that initiation rites are means for the establishment of sexual identity and adult status, that ritual groupings reflect political oppositions, or that myths provide characters for social institutions and rationalizations of social privilege, may well finally convince a great many people, both inside the profession and out, that anthropologists are, like theologians, firmly dedicated to proving the undoubtable.

All GRE passages can be broken down like this.  Impossible text becomes possible, and difficult text becomes easy.

And I’ll train you in more tools of close, analytical reading – you’ll learn to trace back pronoun antecedents, find major ideas with conjunctive adverbs, and boil down whole passages to a few sentences.

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What about the Sentence Completions, Analogies, and Antonyms?

In addition to amassing vocabulary, you’ll master the heuristics (problem-solving formulas) for each test section.  Again, we’ll use the findings of cognitive science: you won’t just hear about these methods, you’ll learn them thoroughly, and will be able to expertly employ them at a moment’s notice.

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Might any of this be useful for graduate school?

Yes!  The GRE Verbal predicts reading performance in grad school, so the systematic development of advanced literacy will help you with the terrible prose you’ll have to read as an MA or PhD candidate.  Much of what you’ll learn here comes from a course I taught at UW (in the Comparative History of Ideas Department), of which one Honors student wrote, “I wish I had taken this course as a freshman – it would have changed the entire course of my undergraduate education.”

Interested?  Have questionsContact me for a free consultation, where I can demonstrate and explain these skills in person.

Study for Critical Reading on the SAT

Schools don’t teach you how to read.

What? Isn’t that the purpose of schools?

After blasting grade schoolers with simple decoding skills, schools typically abandon high-level reading instruction, assuming kids will pick it up automatically.  Some do, but most don’t:  their abilities remain slipshod, and they struggle in high school, on the SAT, and in college.

But reading is an expertise, like any other:  it’s a complex skill that can be built by expert practice.

I love – love – teaching reading. And I love showing you how to quickly and confidently read the SAT’s demanding texts.

How does that work?

The secret: breaking things down. Paragraphs become simple ideas, sentences become subject-verb pairs, and  new words become prefixes, suffixes, and roots.

Learning to read like this is hard work, but it’s enjoyable: you’ll watch yourself get better, watch your score go up, and know that you’ll find college reading easier.

Can I see an example?

Students routinely trip over the convoluted academic wordiness common in college and on the SAT. But I can train you to simplify those sentences into subject-verb pairs a 4th grader could breeze through.

Here’s a sentence that started off a recent SAT passage – go ahead and read it aloud:

In many respects living Native Americans remain as mysterious, exotic, and unfathomable to their contemporaries at the end of the twentieth century as they were to the Pilgrim settlers over three hundred fifty years ago.

After a few days of practice, you’ll be able to – without thinking – simplify it:

In many respects living Native Americans remain as mysterious, exotic, and unfathomable to their contemporaries at the end of the twentieth century as they were to the Pilgrim settlers over three hundred fifty years ago.

All difficult prose can be broken down like this.  Impossible text can be made possible, and difficult prose can be made easy.

Interested?  Have questionsContact me for a free consultation, where I can demonstrate and explain these skills in person.

Studying for Math on the SAT

Schools don’t train you to master math.

Isn’t that a bit harsh?

Students spend over two thousand classroom hours studying math, and yet many honor roll juniors can’t add fractions.  International tests consistently report a math gap between the U.S. and countries like Japan, Germany, and China.

But that’s because our schools don’t understand the brain. When you see how math skill depends on long- and short-term memory, and when you know exactly how talent is created, you can systematically build math abilities.

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So you’re a “math person”?

Actually, not at all!  I didn’t study anything mathy in college, couldn’t calculate an integral to save my own life, and still tense up when it’s time to split the restaurant bill.  But because of the expert study system I’ve designed, I can get a perfect 800 on the SAT Math, and I can show you how to massively improve your score.

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How does that work?

The secret: understand how much your memory sucks, and drill into hard problems. You’ll fill all your conceptual ‘holes’, focus on the problems you can’t do, and mine them for all the insight you can.

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Will this help my schoolwork?

Yes!  Math builds: trigonometry is built on geometry, which is built on algebra, which is built on arithmetic.  Students struggle largely because school has let the fundamentals evaporate.

The SAT, however, tests “the beautiful basics of math”.  It demands you deeply know the fundamentals and can apply that knowledge in new ways.  You’ll master the basics, and will be freed to focus on the new ideas in class.

Interested?  Have questionsContact me for a free consultation, where I can demonstrate and explain this system in person.

More on Special Courses

Have a Specific Question?

I’d love to meet you in a free, 1-hour consultation.  I can answer your questions, & give you a sense of what I can help you accomplish.

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