Why I Tutor—Marie Bercik

Marie B., an expert Leland coach, Georgetown/Columbia Grad, and 99th Percentile GMAT/GRE/SAT/ACT, outlines why she chooses to coach and what it means to her.

Marie B.

By Marie B.

Posted August 22, 2022

I didn’t take a traditional path to becoming a math teacher. I was a gifted student in school, but always had trouble understanding my teachers’ methods. I couldn’t follow their logic—I got overwhelmed and frustrated. What they were saying, it was just words coming at me, I couldn’t process any of it. Fortunately, I was good at figuring things out my own way. I did well on tests, and would show my classmates my work. They’d always say: “Why can’t the teacher make it that simple?”

This continued until middle and high school, when I started taking those mandatory statewide math aptitude tests. I took first place every year. After several years of this, I realized I had something my teachers hadn’t recognized. I loved math. I got the highest math SAT score in my grade. I entered Georgetown University as a math major (which I ultimately dropped for an English major, because I like analytical writing). My senior year of college, I took the LSAT—I didn’t have any interest in law, but wanted to see what kind of score I could get. I did well. I went to Seton Hall on their top scholarship for one year before deciding law wasn’t for me.

Around this time, I started tutoring SAT part time to make extra money. I absolutely loved it. I also loved teaching SAT math subject tests and contest math. I was recruited by Kaplan Test Prep to work in their sales department to sell their products. While there, I also trained to teach GMAT and GRE classes. After a few years, I decided teaching was what I really loved most, so I completed post-baccalaureate math classes, then enrolled in a Masters in Math Education program at Teachers College, Columbia University. I started teaching high school math in 2008; I offered test prep tutoring after school and on weekends, working mostly on the ACT and SAT. I’ve since expanded to the GMAT and GRE, where I specialize on the quantitative sections.

I’ve had quite a bit of success as a GMAT / GRE tutor, and I think there are two reasons for that. One, I’m always trying to perfect my craft. Over the years, I’ve observed what other institutions have done—Veritas Prep, Manhattan Prep, Magoosh, Kaplan, etc—and cobbled together my own curriculum, my own best practices. The second, though, is that I genuinely love tutoring. I love seeing people solve problems for themselves, love seeing them get to that “aha” moment. For me, the feeling of getting someone to that breakthrough moment when the idea just clicks—it’s indescribably gratifying. That is why I tutor.

Interesting in GMAT / GRE prep? Click here for my Leland coaching profile.

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