Matt D.


I grew up (i) in rural New England (ii) in a town with no traffic lights (iii) on a dirt road with potholes big enough to lose your car in (iv) in a house my parents physically built themselves. I don’t know if this was my parents’ cunning masterplan to raise a kid obsessed with learning and exploring but it worked: as soon as I was about four I couldn’t get enough of the local bookmobile, then it was the library, then it was the internet, then it was traveling pretty much anywhere with, you know, lights, restaurants, more people than cows, little things like that. I’ve been in California since 2005 and have lost enough of my country mouse ways to fool the locals, but then once in a while a bat or a raccoon will get into the house and somehow everybody knows to call me.


I’ve been teaching test prep since 2006. I’ve worked for a number of companies and at several universities, including UCSD, UCI, and various campuses of the City University of New York. I do about 50/50 SAT and GRE/GMAT, and while it seems cool to brag about the number of people you got into Harvard and Stanford this year, the stories I really like to share are the ones of the students who don’t give up, who persevere through anxiety, failure, evil proctors, seemingly endless plateaus, and self-doubt to finally triumph on their fourth or fifth crack at the test. I know *exactly* what former athletes turned coaches mean when they say coaching is so much more gut wrenching yet rewarding than playing ever was.


The longer I’ve taught the more I’ve come to believe in guiding students to insight. When I started I used to explain everything in minute detail, but as I’ve matured I’ve realized what matters is teaching the student to explain something *to me* in minute detail, so I ask a lot of questions and follow up questions and try to spark as much of a love of understanding as I can. I tend to work best with high-achieving, hard-charging students who benefit from my calmer, more reflective style: I can help them dial down the pressure and really ease into the material.

Matt D.