Below is a list I have compiled over the years of teaching and tutoring standardized exams. It is almost complete. Enjoy!

  1. Learning new words and their origins
  2. Learning new things about science, history, social science, outer space, reptiles, etc
  3. Doing lots of practice problems
  4. SMH when getting tricked on questions
  5. Doing challenge problems
  6. Hearing students explain to me why the wrong answers are wrong
  7. Getting texts from clients that they met their score goals
  8. Getting texts from clients that they got accepted into schools
  9. Learning about the different things clients do besides studying for tests
  10. When clients text me saying that they completed a practice test, even if they bombed it
  11. When clients do their homework
  12. When clients are early and have already been working on practice problems
  13. When the latest Official practice test for the SAT, it’s like Christmas
  14. Writing detailed explanations in my solutions so I never ever misunderstand that problem ever again
  15. Doing vocab games on Quizlet
  16. Recognizing correct idiom usage in daily life, using my GMAT skills
  17. When I go back to a question I once missed and now the right answer couldn’t be more obvious
  18. The rush of taking a test under time pressure and just making it
  19. When clients laugh at my jokes
  20. When potential clients call and I have an opportunity to educate them about test prep, even if they don’t choose to tutor with me
  21. When I teach a student how to do a difficult math problem
  22. When that student goes on and teaches other students how to do that problem
  23. When I am working with a student in class and another student has a question, and I am able to refer that student to another student who knows how to do the problem while continuing to work with the original student…efficiency!
  24. When I think of a new example in the style of Eats, Shoots and Leaves to illustrate a point about grammar
  25. When I come across a poetically written wrong answer choice, such as “an excusable reaction to an intolerable situation” and I think about how the person writing that probably dreamed of being an author when he/she was a kid
  26. When I find myself quoting such statements in normal conversation
  27. When I’m editing my blog, and I know immediately to split an article into two because I’ve started to go off-topic…thanks to the SAT and ACT English sections
  28. When a student gets really excited over a test prep book
  29. When high school students ask me about my college experience
  30. When high schoolers contact me directly, showing maturity and are motivated to learn
  31. When parents help provide the structure at home so their kids can study and take practice tests
  32. When client meetings are at Whole Foods
  33. When the strategy that works best in theory for a student actually delivers results
  34. When a student comes to me a full year before they need to even submit test scores
  35. When I get a chance to see or hear about students succeeding outside of test prep, such as in theater, robotics or sports
  36. When my students from different high schools make friends with one another
  37. When my students get crushes on my other students. Lol…
  38. When students in class get really competitive in the team games I set up
  39. When parents are happy and I can talk to them about how awesome their kid is
  40. When a student starts to recognize patterns in their mistakes
  41. When a student suggests a pattern in the test I have yet to notice, such as the topic sentence is often not used as evidence, but the one after it is
  42. Good luck high fives or hugs before test day!
  43. When students stick out the entire class
  44. When a student stays after the session to do more practice problems
  45. When students tell me to slow down
  46. When a student interrupts me or can finish my thoughts, not because he or she is rude, but because he/she is engaged and actively listening
  47. When student ask short, direct questions.
  48. When the classroom has a whiteboard
  49. When students wipe the whiteboard faster than I ever could!
  50. When students want me in the pictures they take of what I’ve written on the board xD
  51. When students are interested in reading outside of SAT prep
  52. When a student is happy with their score, knowing they tried their best
  53. When students implement a timing strategy and I have to be careful to not swear when I see the score increase
  54. When students come from humble backgrounds
  55. When potential students haggle with me over rates
  56. When a student I’ve been courting for weeks decides to pick me over other tutors or test companies
  57. When a Skype student and I get on a roll and end up doing a 2.5 hour session when we only originally planned for 1.5
  58. When my students surpass me…
  59. And when they laugh when I offer them my job
  60. When a student successfully explains a problem on the board, and the class applauds
  61. When a student texts me that my suggestion to take one test over the other is probably the reason for getting into school
  62. When students make the decision to prioritize their futures, and this is reflected in the changes in their daily schedules
  63. When students are authentic, having a realistic idea of their skills and where they stack up
  64. When students are confident on math, having an idea which and how many problems they can do correctly, even if that number seems low.
  65. When students show me their “hacks” to particular problems, and I consider their general applicability
  66. When those “hacks” turn out to be solutions in the generic sense…brilliant!
  67. When students understand how to find the median in a histogram or in a frequency table
  68. When I do something in class that’s snapchat-worthy, such as the voice-drop after a colon in English.
  69. “Horizontal time.”
  70. When I can guess trap answers before doing a problem, such as r-squareds in equation of a circle problems
  71. When both plugging in and algebra will work to solve a problem
  72. The surprise at getting a confusing problem right
  73. Chasing down mistakes like in a high speed car race, or something else that requires similar determination
  74. When my friends become my clients
  75. When clients become my friends
  76. The entire day before an exam, when I’m nervous and excited at the same time.
  77. When clients do even better than me, it means I’m doing my job!
  78. Data sufficiency problems on the GMAT. They baffled me at first, and now I like them, because I no longer feel as slow or stupid.
  79. Realizing that I make the same mistakes as my students…
  80. When a UCSD student asks me if he can solve a basic GRE question using differential equations.
  81. When I have people in their 40s, 50s, or yes—even 60s or 70s–in a GRE class. It just goes to show that at least in America, it’s never too late for your dream.
  82. When I realize, to my chagrin, that wearing a faux-fur vest into the GMAT could result in cancelling my scores (the instructions say “Light jacket only” and “no outerwear”), but I’m savvy enough to get a different jacket from my car…just in case.
  83. Teaching people how to think.
  84. Showing people how I write on-demand essays, in real-time.
  85. Writing Game of Thrones text completion exercises
  86. Being able to play tennis on weekday mornings, since I mostly work in the evenings
  87. Learning about different grad programs or colleges
  88. Decompressing with students after their exam

More to come!

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