UMass Boston- My Summer Calculus Melt Down | Quantum Prep

UMass Boston- My Summer Calculus Melt Down

Last Updated on September 13, 2017
Solomon Berman

“When I sought out Quantum Prep, I was two weeks into a six-week summer calculus course. I had just gotten an F on my first of only three exams and knew I needed to find help quickly.”


As part of our Student of the Month series, we spoke with a current UMass Boston calculus student about her recent academic experience.

About Our Student: A 2014 junior at University of Massachusetts Boston in Boston, Massachusetts.

Services: Subject Tutoring for Calculus I

About UMass Boston: Established in 1964, UMass Boston is a public research university serving nearly 17,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The university’s 11 colleges and schools offer more than 80 undergraduate programs and 110 graduate programs. With nearly 900 faculty and staff, it is the third largest campus in the five-campus University of Massachusetts system.

Get more information about UMass Boston


So why did you choose to attend UMass Boston?
The main attributes that attracted me to UMB were the diverse student body, solid academics, and proximity to my apartment. Being right on the harbor didn’t hurt either! Some of the general courses are pretty big, like chemistry and biology, but the elective classes are much smaller, allowing for a lot of discussion and collaboration, which I like.

What are your academic goals?
My goal is to graduate in the top 10% of my class. I want to go to medical school after I finish my undergraduate degree, so the better my grades are and the better grasp of my course materials I have, the better my chances are for getting into the schools I am applying to.

Is UMass Boston pretty competitive?
There is certainly a competitive atmosphere within some classes, such as the upper level courses for each major, but most students try to help each other out, which is really important to me.

What’s  your overall workload like?
I’m majoring in biology, with a cognitive science minor, on a pre-med track.

On top of my regular course load, I work as a research assistant at a non-profit, am involved with research on campus with my chemistry professor, volunteer six hours a week at XXXXXX and XXXXXXX, and mentor with the XXXXXXXXXXX organization. Over the summer, not only was I working and volunteering, but I also took three courses (6-weeks each, all at the same time). To say I have a lot on my plate often feels like an understatement.

Wow, sounds like you’re the one always helping others, what was it like asking for help?
I felt really self-conscious about having to hire a tutor, but that anxiety dissipated pretty quickly once we started working. It wasn’t uncomfortable, like I thought it might be, and my tutor really boosted my confidence in calculus.

So, why did you call Quantum Prep?
When I sought out Quantum Prep, I was two weeks into a six-week summer calculus course. I had just gotten an F on my first of only three exams and knew I needed to find help quickly.

That’s serious. What was the problem? As a junior you obviously knew what it took to succeed at the college level, right?
My teacher had the tendency to get off topic, so it was easy to get distracted. Plus, his teaching style was not very conducive to my learning style. Even though I felt like I sort of understood the material in class, in the end, I was completely unable to make up the difference in understanding by looking to the textbook and online resources for help.

I felt like I couldn’t retain any of the information I was studying and I was so stressed out when the exam finally came around that my mind went completely blank and I failed the test. It was extremely frustrating.

Well, don’t keep us in suspense, what happened?
Quantum Prep really pulled through. They set me up with a tutor that same week and he was able to dedicate time to me each weekend, which was especially helpful considering my crazy work/school/research/volunteering schedule. When I saw my final grade was a B, I was ecstatic with the tremendous progress I was able to make.

Tell me about your tutor?
My Quantum Prep tutor was really fantastic. He was really attentive and provided new (and much simpler) ways of looking at problems that my teacher didn’t go over. I feel like I gained so much insight and confidence after working with him on sections that were previously giving me a lot of trouble in class.

One of my favorite parts about my instructor was his patience- if I didn’t understand a section, we would dig deeper into the problems and he would help me identify which parts I was getting wrong and showed me different ways of thinking about the problems so I would get it right the next time.

So would you recommend Quantum Prep to classmates and friends?
After working with Quantum Prep, I felt so much more confident about the material and was able to boost my grade from an F to a B within four weeks. I am so impressed with the amount of help and support I got at Quantum Prep, of course I would recommend them.


About Student of the Month
The Student of the Month series was created as a venue for students to share their tutoring and test prep experiences in their own words. Students candidly discuss the fears, challenges and triumphs related to both their learning institutions and their educational aspirations.

We, of course, omit any personally identifying information in order to protect our student’s right to privacy.

If you are a former or current Quantum Prep student and would like to tell your story, request a Student Interview today.

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Solomon Berman is the Founder and Lead Teacher of Quantum Prep. Born in Boston, MA, he is a native and longtime resident of the Merrimack Valley area. Now, with over a decade of combined teaching experience at both Boston inner-city schools and Boston University, Solomon actively teaches chemistry, physics, and mathematics at the high school, college, and post baccalaureate levels. Solomon also focuses his attention on developing the most innovative and effective catalog of pedagogical techniques for STEM disciplines, helping students become powerful STEM learners. Solomon holds degrees from Bates College (Bachelor of Science, Chemistry and Music), Boston University (Masters of Arts Degree in Science Education, Masters of Arts Degree in Theoretical Chemistry), a Professional Development Certification from Harvard University, and has studied at Boston College as a visiting scholar.

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