Math and Physics Enrichment ...

My daughter is strong in both math and physics, but her highly competitive high school shook her confidence. Although she is an excellent student on her own, she finds the enrichment Bob provides to be absolutely invaluable. He teaches her brilliant methods of learning and reviews with her to brush up on insecurities. It doesn't matter what my daughter shows up with because he is prepared for anything and can do it all on-the-spot - an incredible teacher and really a lovely person. They have developed a connection far deeper than any other student-teacher relationship. In the words of my daughter: "He teaches me how to think." My daughter looks forward to every single meeting. We could not have asked for better grades, standardized test scores, or empathy and understanding. Bob is the best!

Karen Lerner, Upper Saddle River, NJ

Alexis, Bergen County Academies, AAST

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Physics ...

I want to thank you for helping my daughter Shannon get up to speed with her physics. You were absolutely correct - all she needed was just a few sessions with you for her to pick up the material. She literally has gone from getting low Cs and Ds to acing her tests and regularly scoring As on her homework. This validates what my wife and I thought all along - that her teacher was not connecting with her, whereas you did so clearly and so quickly and now all of her AP classes will reflect grades denoting how smart she really is. Thank you again Bob and I'll be sure to recommend your services if ever I come across someone needing a top notch physics tutor.

Carlos Lakomy, Paramus, NJ

Shannon, Paramus Catholic High School

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Math SAT and ACT ...

Our son is a very good math student, but given the hyper-competitive college process he needed someone who could help him reach his full potential when taking the SAT/ACT. We had heard many stories of kids who had been performing well in school, but had fallen short on standardized tests and we did not want our son to fall into that category. Our dilemma was that our son was capable of very strong standardized test results on his own, but he was hitting a ceiling that fell short of what we believed reflected his full capability.

We were originally attracted to Bob Sohval because of his outstanding academic credentials and we were operating under the assumption that the best way for our son to improve his math skills was to work with someone who possesses superior ability. It was clear after our son's first session with Bob that not only was Bob "the most brilliant math person my son had ever been exposed to", but more importantly he was a great teacher. Our son regularly commented that Bob could break down difficult problems and explain them very clearly in a way that was easy to understand. Our son ultimately achieved outstanding math results (mid-700s in math SAT and SAT 2 and a 35 on his math ACT subscore) and we are exceptionally thankful to Bob for his help in enabling our son to reach his full potential.

Lastly, I would enthusiastically recommend Bob for students at all levels. He is very patient and has a very unintimidating demeanor which should translate well to students of all abilities.

David Scher, Wycoff, NJ

Ben,University of Michigan, Class of 2017

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Math Enrichment...

Honestly, Jeff is so enjoying your sessions and finding them enormously helpful. He said you've been a "godsend" - truly. It's almost surprising at some level. You're really tapping into something in his math intellect that he is thoroughly enjoying, so thanks. I'm glad that you seem to be enjoying it as well. Couldn't ask for more.

Claudia Remley, Ridgewood, NJ

Jeff, Don Bosco Prep

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Test Preparation...

Just wanted you to know that Robert said the test went well. I don't think he would have been prepared without your help. He confirmed that you pretty much taught him the algebra he had missed in those few sessions. Also, he mentioned he was able to manage his time well while taking the test, something he attributed to your help entirely. We are very grateful to you, and appreciate everything you did for Robert.

Eve Safran, Ridgewood, NJ

Robert, Ridgewood High School

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Math SAT Level II...

My daughter was recently tutored by Bob Sohval for both the SAT math section and the SAT II Math Level Two Subject Test. The experience was so positive and so successful, that I wanted to recommend him, should any other high school student or family need a math tutor.

Bob is a highly supportive and nurturing tutor. He instantly put my daughter at ease with his encouraging and patient manner. He was also a highly diagnostic teacher, honing in on areas of need. In fact, when she was stuck on a certain type of problem, he generated similar problems for her to practice and master. Both her confidence and her math skills were strengthened by this master teacher and mathematician.

As I listened in on the tutoring sessions, it was clear to me that Bob was enabling my daughter to be a problem solver. Instead of just lecturing to her and telling her what to do, she learned a variety of strategies to approach very challenging problems. I was grateful that she received such individualized and thoughtful attention.

As a parent and as a public school educator, I would wholeheartedly recommend Bob Sohval to anyone in need of a math tutor. Bob is a highly skilled teacher, committed to helping students progress and helping them to achieve the desired results of deeper understanding and higher test scores.

Jay Friedman, Ridgewood, NJ

Emily, Tufts University, Class of 2014

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Pre-calculus, physics, statistics ...

My "F" to "A" Story

If "the numbers really spoke for themselves," then I must have been near deaf my whole life. By the first semester of my junior year in High School my comically terrible grades made me painfully aware of how out of tune I was with what numbers were trying to tell me. Every test I took in Algebra, Pre-Calculus, Physics, or Chemistry, despite hours of diligent independent schoolwork, was like trying to solve a deep personal problem for a foreigner who spoke no English and only had an urgent 45 minutes in between school bells to make me understand what he needed done. My teachers, or course, humored my subsequent request for a translator by replacing the "50" on the top of every test paper with an "F" in embarrassingly large, red ink.

I think then for the sake of extending my already belabored metaphor, I would now call Bob Sohval my interpreter. No tutor that I had worked with before seemed to understand my curious relationship with numbers. I was always a diligent student, so the tutor who tried to cure my imaginary laziness by sitting me down to do problems for a few hours saw no results. So many others still were convinced of their "proven methods" I am proud in a very bitter way to be that exception that has proven so many math-tutor-methods. Bob as a math tutor was the right fit for so many reasons, but most importantly, because he listened to what I had to say, digested it in an instant, and managed to teach me in 2 hours every Thursday night that which I had been banging my head against the entire week at school. No, he didn't create mathematical tricks to match my thinking or mental tricks to match the math. I just couldn't hear the numbers, so Bob taught me to read lips.

It's his own rare, studious character of genuine personal compassion and excitable intellectual curiosity that translates into Bob's pedagogical patience with his students and adaptability to every student's way of thinking. Each lesson begins with me at a loss in my Pre-Calculus or Physics class. When I describe the topic we're learning, Bob seems to know where I'm headed. In his astounding alternate life he happens to use all the math I am studying now (and much more), so it's no surprise that he's already beginning to think up a route of explanation he wants to take based on how well he knows me on a personal and academic level. He remembers these things, quite simply, because he actually cares enough to do so.

After a year of studying with Bob, I have come to care too. I broke loose of my vicious cycle - convincing myself I wasn't good at any subject I didn't like and hating math because I did poorly - into a mindset that makes me excited to study from 8 to 10 every Thursday night, no matter how tired I am. The reason no other math tutor could get me a better grade is because no other math tutor made me excited about learning new math. It turns out the key to helping that poor foreign fellow I mentioned before with his algebraic anxieties in 45 minutes, is to learn his language. Honestly, that's how Bob helped me.

Naphtali Rivkin, Teaneck, NJ

Washington and Lee, Class of 2015

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Overcoming gaps in high school math ...

Bob Sohval is a brilliant mathematician, and also an equally brilliant communicator and teacher. He helped my daughter tremendously, as no teacher or former tutor she engaged with could or did. To give you some context, she is a recent graduate from Ridgewood High School, a strong student overall and graduated "with Honors". I mention this only because her experience with learning math and how she was taught it as a subject was different than her experience with other subjects. She was generally an adequate math student until she ran into some unusual challenges with curriculum design and teachers that began in her last year of middle school and surfaced again in her Junior year of high school. Unfortunately, she literally had gaps in subject matter that she was not taught.

From a learning perspective, these are critical years where subject matter is cumulative, year-over-year. She was working extremely hard, and her time devoted to math studies became completely disproportionate to time required to excel in other subjects. While she had a positive experience overall in most subjects, her experience with math was less than adequate. She actually was never taught critical elements of Algebra I due to a collapsing of curriculum levels, which literally left material gaps in her core understanding of the subject. This was not brought to our attention proactively, and she was therefore advanced to the next level of math with those gaps existing (as were other students who had been similarly impacted). At the same time, she was cycled through 3 different math teachers during her Junior year, none of whom was available "period 9", and one who was a "part time" teacher, at the high school only a couple of hours each day, with no individual time for students with questions. (FYI, with the subsequent hiring of a talented new department head, this overall curriculum gap was addressed. He also took great interest in helping my daughter and others who needed it, and her senior year math teacher was terrific and dedicated.)

Kim Albano-Caramanna, Ridgewood, NJ

Noelle, Ramampo College, Class of 2014

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