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Tutor Demystifies Test-Taking for Students

DARIEN, Conn. – Vigee Droesch has a deep education – fine arts, journalism, even some MBA work – and that eclectic background has enabled her to teach in a way that might not be "by the book" but has proven to be extremely effective.

"I have 'cooked up' a recipe for my personal teaching philosophy," she said. "Learning, besides advancing knowledge, should be fun. I love to see the delight on my students' faces when the light bulb goes on, or they have made that metaphorical leap."

Droesch has been switching on mental light bulbs in many venues. She co-taught the AIM (Achievement, Interest, Motivation) program at Middlesex Middle School in Darien, which increased classroom success, grade promotion and the ability to function in a mainstream high school setting for failing and emotionally disturbed students.

For the past six years, she has been at Darien Sylvan Learning Center, working as an in-house specialist in college and prep school applications and essay writing, and providing guided test prep for the alphabet soup of standardized tests, including ACT, SAT, PSAT, ISEE, SSAT and HSPT.

"When I work with students, I try to 'de-mystify' the tests for them, since they are already usually whipped up into a frenzy about their performance," she said. "We go through sample tests, one question at a time, so I can teach them strategies about how to attack every type of question. It's a slow and thorough process, and it requires a strong work ethic on their part.

"Part of being successful on standardized tests is being familiar with the format and style," Droesch continued. "Of course, along the way I drill them on vocabulary, vocabulary, vocabulary, so by the time they have finished our course they get the extra added bonus of gaining a handsome vocabulary."

Droesch has many success stories through this method, including most recently a senior at a local high school who doubled his ACT scores, enabling him to get into his first choice college.

"Children really are thirsty for knowledge," Droesch said. "My students and I are on a mission together to help them be successful through knowledge and work ethic. I consider my students and I to be partners in the learning process – it's a symbiotic relationship."

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