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Ayla A

Princeton, NJ

Princeton University

Academic Support
Standardized Test Prep

Ayla's Bio

Born in Nebraska and raised in Los Angeles, Ayla graduated from Princeton University in 2018 with a BA in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and minors in Dance and Environmental Studies. While at Princeton, Ayla spent much of her time in a dance studio or in the nearby woods. She studied in Panama for a semester and returned to the tropics for thesis research on primate populations in Peru.

Ayla traded the forest for the stage to pursue dance professionally in New York City. She is passionate about education and started tutoring in high school. Ayla has been tutoring the ACT and SAT since graduating from college. She particularly enjoys when math and science become fun and exciting for students.

What Ayla Teaches

Entrance Exams: SAT, ACT

AP Exams: AP Biology

ScienceBiology, Earth Sciences

MathGeometry, Algebra, Trigonometry, Pre-Calculus

Get to Know Ayla

What do you enjoy most about tutoring?

The thing I enjoy most about tutoring is seeing uncertainty evolve into confidence in students. There is something so special about being a part of the process of students not only understanding a topic or subject but feeling complete mastery of the material.

Talk about a specific time when you helped a student overcome a challenge.

One of my past students really struggled with the ACT Reading section, particularly because of the anxiety the time pressure created for her in this section. Part of our process was having her remind herself every time that she WOULD finish the section. Whether she has a confident answer for every question or she guesses on a few, she has the power to complete the section. In terms of strategy, approaching each passage in chunks was extremely useful for her. Rather than making a mental map of the passage, which most students find to be the most helpful, she found that drawing lines on the page to create three to four chunks in the passage before she even started reading helped her manage the material. We tried so many methods of making it through the passages before landing on this strategy that was very personal to the student. It was exciting for both of us because not only did it help her section, but it also gave her insight into how she processes information in a timed setting.

What is your tutoring style? How do you engage with your students?

I like to relate to students as much as possible. I share aspects of my life like my dance career and little anecdotes about my day so they see me as a real person. I also like to hear updates from them. I try to take note of the important things happening in their life so I can follow up on the events and build a true rapport. While I do have a warm, supportive approach with my students, each relationship is different. I know when to apply the pressure to students who aren't completing homework or who have checked out for some reason. But I also know when to take a step back since many students are placing an enormous amount of pressure on themselves. Some students like to hear their stats and discuss progress in numbers, while others like to work qualitatively. I would say I adapt my style to the student.

Talk about your favorite teacher. What made him or her so special?

My favorite teacher was Mrs. Hicks in high school. I took Honors Algebra II, Calculus AB and Calculus BC with her. She was the perfect role model as a woman in STEM. Mrs. Hicks had so many tricks up her sleeve in terms of ways to explain various topics. She really nurtured individuality when solving problems, whereas some teachers insist on students completing a problem only their way. She also promoted learning in the most approachable way. She was a self-proclaimed nerd and encouraged each of us to embrace our love of learning in a similar fashion. Mrs. Hicks created a safe space for the intellectuals of our school amid the various social pressures of high school. Even the students who "hated math" liked Mrs. Hicks just because she was so unapologetically her.

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