How Improved Pattern Recognition Can Save Your Math Career!

There is a reason that whenever my dog hears the word vet, he starts yapping like a wild hyena (see below!). Mark Mattson of the Frontiers in Neuroscience wrote that it is the humans ability to recognize patterns that places them at the top of the intellectual food chain. My dog understands that when he hears the word vet, it is associated with certain procedures that he probably would not like to be reminded of(still sorry about that Cooper). Similarly , the human brain is programmed to look for universal patterns in our surroundings. One way we quantify those patterns: Math.

As much as it doesn’t feel like it when we’re sitting in pre calculus, our brains are programmed to understand math on a fundamental level. That doesn’t mean that we are going to grasp these seemingly obtuse concepts instantly, but rather that we all have the capability if we know what to look for.  Let’s take trigonometry as an example: when I am given a number in radians such as cos(560𝝅) all I have to do is think of the unit circle. I know that every 2𝝅 results in one full spin around the unit circle and puts me back at cos = 1. Therefore, I can apply that pattern just 280 times and voila, cos(560𝝅) = 1. Or how about when I am looking at a triangle with sides 3 and 4. Well, I can know without any help from pythagoras that the last side is 5.

It may seem here like I am cherry picking, but the very nature of math is patterns. In fact the very nature of nature is patterns. When an object is in orbit around another, the cube of the period divided by the radius squared is ALWAYS proportional. For how mundane that may seem, that is incredible.

My point is that next time you are sitting in geometry wondering how you are ever going to remember the difference between a 30 60 90 triangle and a 45 45 90, know that whoever you are, your brain is built for this. And if you aren’t understanding something, that’s not your fault, and maybe all you need is a little reminder of your own natural abilities. My dog may always be stressed when he hears the word vet, but you don’t have to be the next time you see the unit circle.

Link for Mattson’s Work:

My adorable dog:

Image may contain: dog



SAT MATH WORKBOOK in the classroom and beyond!

I’m so happy to see this workbook being used to provide math skills practice for programs that need it! Currently, programs and schools using the book as a resource include:

  • The Commodore John Rodgers School (Baltimore, MD)
  • Educational Alliance (NYC)
  • Harvard Ed Portal’s Homework Coaching program (Cambridge, MA)
  • Marine Leadership Academy (Chicago, IL)
  • Puede Network (Dallas, TX)
  • Codman Academy (Dorchester, MA)
  • BELA Academy (Brooklyn, NY)
  • 100% College and Career Ready (Equity Team, INC)
  • NYC P-TECH Schools Grades 9-14 (NYC)

If you’re a teacher and would like to use the book at you’re school, please send me a message. I will gladly send you a free electronic copy to print and share with your students.


I am available for online tutoring in the following subjects:

  • Elementary math
  • Middle-school Math
  • Pre-Algebra
  • Algebra 1
  • Algebra 2
  • Geometry
  • Pre-calculus
  • SAT Math
  • Reading comprehension (middle school)
  • Reading and writing about literature (middle school)
  • High school biology
  • High school physics

Meetings are generally weekly for about 1 hour per meeting. Longer meetings are available for summer intensives. We use a shared online whiteboard and video conferencing through Google Hangouts. You are welcome to check out my resume; feel free to contact me through the contact form for details about tutoring availability and rates.


You asked for ’em? You got ’em!

Thank you so much to everyone who has been giving feedback on the workbook. The success of this project would never be possible without the endless feedback from all you math-loving people.

One of the biggest requests I have been receiving however is that people would like more review on solving quadratic equations. I thought that this was a great idea, as solving quadratics is essential to SAT success

The first 25 problems are those than can be solved by factoring alone. The answer key is posted as well but remember, DON’T CHEAT YOURSELF! Continue reading “You asked for ’em? You got ’em!”

Talking Math

Ryan vs. Math: coming to the airwaves near you soon

I am so thankful for all of the support on the workbook as of yet. However, our journey is far from over. The next step of our master plan is to find ways to get it into the hands of those who need it. Yes it is being sold on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, but not everyone can afford to be purchasing test prep materials. For every book sold, 3 books can be printed and given to organizations and non profits that benefit underprivileged students apply and get into college.
Continue reading “Talking Math”