Steven Zierk

Academic Tutor

Los Gatos born and raised, but I traveled to Boston for five years to earn my undergraduate degree in mathematics and computer science from MIT. I have loved playing chess since I was six years old, and I am a professional chess player: I am a grandmaster and one of the top fifty players in the United States. My experiences as a student, educator, and chess player have all taught me the power of truly understanding what I study, so I work to make sure my students also understand what they study.

My tutoring career began over a decade ago when I was asked to give private chess lessons. Since then, I have added all forms of math, physics, and writing to my teaching experience, though at AJ I specialize in teaching upper-level math. I enjoy working to a new level of understanding in all subjects, and I find it truly rewarding to pass this understanding on to my students.

It is easy to recite a list of steps for a student to follow to solve a specific problem, and many students attempt to learn math this way. However, if a student doesn’t understand the meaning behind the steps, they will have forgotten those steps or confuse the order of them by the next week. Students who have simply memorized steps also struggle when a problem on the next test presents the concept in a different form, one that the student hasn’t come across before. Rote memorization can be a recipe for disaster.

Therefore, my tutoring is based around understanding not only the steps needed to solve one problem, but also why those are the steps and how they work. This approach makes concepts much more memorable without extensive effort, and true understanding of one problem will help a student solve a hundred others.

My other interests include reading, weightlifting, and studying Russian.

Subjects Tutored:

Academic Multivariable Calculus
Academic Pre-Calculus
Academic Calculus
AP Calculus AB
AP Calculus BC


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