Meet Wes.

I help gifted and engaged students find their love of math, and use it to succeed.

 

My students are in: Middle school through post-college.

My specialties are: 

Meet Wes.

I help gifted and engaged students find their love of math, and use it to succeed.

What I do

I don’t aim to change the contents of my students’ minds. I aim to change their architecture. To my students, this means tackling fun problems and challenging puzzles that they’d never see in a classroom. To their parents, it’s about authentic engagement, permanent advancement, and self-management under pressure.

What I do

I don’t aim to change the contents of my students’ minds. I aim to change their architecture. To my students, this means tackling fun problems and challenging puzzles that they’d never see in a classroom. To their parents, it’s about authentic engagement, permanent advancement, and self-management under pressure.

My students are in: Middle school through post-college.

My specialties are: 

Why I do it

Because I love it. And because gifted students are too often under-served.

Gifted students have the potential to bring about positive change in the future. But they don’t get extra attention when they stop learning.

I challenge bright kids in order to turn complacency into determination, disinterest into engagement, and frustration into delight.

Teacher

I’ve spent over 15 years (starting in 2002) working full-time to help students excel at math and general problem solving.

MIT grad

I taught as a student instructor at MIT, and earned an SB.

Math Puzzle Master

In 2009, 2015, and again in 2017, my team won the MIT Mystery Hunt, arguably the most challenging amateur puzzle competition in the world. (This taught me more than I expected, about intellectual success under pressure.)

Math Competition Coach

From 2008 to 2013 I was Head Coach of the (San Francisco CA) Urban School Math Competition Team.

Musician

From 1995 to 2007 I was also a part-time professional musician.

Wes Carroll’s Blog & Puzzler Podcast

Below you'll find my most recent posts and episodes. Click the posts to access my blog and podcast.

What straight-A students get wrong

Adam Grant just wrote a lovely piece in the New York Times that points out that, as he puts it, "academic excellence is not a strong predictor of career excellence." He's right,...

Math under pressure

This outstanding TED Talk by Barnard's president is mainly about choking under pressure. But how interesting that the example Professor Beilock spends most time on is girls'...

Goodbye, Princeton. I loved you while it lasted.

I will no longer be recommending Princeton Review's Math 2 prep books, because their latest edition features a test that is a problem-by-problem parody of an official College...

Dealing with repeated challenges (part of “how to be a brighter student”)

If you want to handle repeated challenge in the best way, you have to start by realizing that the goal isn’t to change your challenges. The goal is to improve your ability to handle them.

Work like an expert (part of “how to be a brighter student”)

February is the final date of the AMC, but it is also time to start your prep for SAT Subject Tests and AP’s. Examine your test prep strategy.  How will your hard work pay off,...

22: Split the check

Last week, two of my friends and I went to a restaurant and had a lovely meal. We decided to evenly split the check, so we asked the waiter to just combine the totals. However, ...

Podcast – 21: The faulty odometer

A faulty car odometer proceeds from digit 3 to digit 5, always skipping the digit 4, regardless of position. For example, after traveling one mile the odometer changed from...

Podcast – 20: The middle digit

How many three-digit numbers satisfy the property that the middle digit is the average of the first and the last digits? // Spiciness: ** out of ****

Podcast – 19: The token tax

A game is played with tokens according to the following rule. In each round, the player with the most tokens gives one token to each of the other players and also places one...

Podcast – 18: The circular track

Brenda and Sally run in opposite directions on a circular track, starting at diametrically opposite points. They first meet after Brenda has run 100 meters. They next meet after...

Testimonials

I do incredible things for focused families like yours.

Simply put, there is no better private teacher of mathematics and SAT prep for students of exceptional ability in the entire San Francisco Bay Area than Wes Carroll.

Chris Borland

Academic Coach, Borland Educational

Wes Carroll was *phenomenal*. … It truly was a life-changing conversation. My self-awareness and general insightfulness have noticeably improved since. For me, Wes Carroll was the most helpful Mathcamp visitor ever, by a long shot.

Attendee

Canada/USA Mathcamp

Wes is a great tutor and a great friend. I’m also a fan of his podcast, The Puzzler!. When you’ve got Wes’ brainpower, a terrific puzzle podcast is just the sort of thing you can crank out for fun, in your spare time.

Nathan Fox

Tutor, founder, Fox LSAT

Wes Carroll has a laser-sharp focus, a quick wit, and connects directly with what a student needs. If you want to increase your understanding and scores while you decrease your stress, work with Wes.

Ben Bernstein, PhD

Tutor, author of Test Success! How to Be Calm, Confident and Focused on Any Test, Test Success

Wes was a math tutor for both of our sons for about 5 years. He worked with them when they had problems and he worked with them when they did not, using that time to push them ahead into new material. What can you say about a math tutor who increases your children’s aptitude, achievement and enjoyment of math? I guess, sensational. Wes is an extremely knowledgeable and gifted teacher who is able to pass on the love of his subject to his students. Our boys actually enjoyed and looked forward to their sessions with Wes, and he was extremely helpful in all aspects of their math life, from school work to testing to new areas of inquiry. We could not recommend Wes more highly…he is truly a gentleman and a scholar.

Allen D.

Parent

Went from a failing grade in calculus first semester to an A second semester. Very helpful! Thank you!

Stefan M.

Calculus Student

Wes helped my granddaughter Bella in Ohio by using [Zoom] with her over a mere 18 days to prep for the ACT. Bella increased her score from a 32 to a 34 which made the difference in how much college scholarship money she was offered. Wes knows all the techniques and is so encouraging; Bella loved working with him.

Mary R.

Grandparent

I’ve been a teacher for over thirty years and Wes does some things–many things–better than any other tutor I’ve witnessed. He doesn’t just explain, he really teaches, helping students to learn how to solve problems as puzzle rather as rote exercises. He’s patient and respectful but also appropriately demanding.

Michael S.

Teacher

I cannot say enough great things about Wes Carroll. Due to Wes, my son was accepted into his first choice college, despite falling short of the normal admission criteria. My son was this close to being able to qualify for admission, but needed a little nudge. Wes worked w/my son and thanks to Wes’ wonderful teaching skills, my son did exceedingly well on his tests and is an incoming freshman this fall.

Candice Y.

Parent

Wes has the ironclad content knowledge vital to being a professional tutor/teacher/instructor, but he also has the (rarer) ability to understand how you understand something. Sit with that for a second…make sure that makes sense, because it’s absolutely essential to high-value tutoring. Wes knows if you understand something or if you don’t. If you don’t, he will (instantaneously) devise another way of explaining it to you, via metaphor, via comparison, via personal experience…whatever method that will resonate with you. Guess what happens next? Yep: you understand it.

Ted Dorsey

Tutor, Tutor Ted

Wes’s impressive and efficient approach includes quickly and clearly assessing individual needs and building rapport during intake, filling gaps in skills and underlying understanding, teaching strategies tailored to student needs, and building the confidence necessary for success in students with test anxiety. The resulting scores are testament to his effective teaching.

Julia D.

Parent

He received an 800 on the Math 2 Subject Test and then applied your study methodology to study on his own for the Physics Subject Test and also earned an 800.

Teresa M.

Parent

That was probably the most efficient tutoring session I’ve ever witnessed.

Debbie S.

Director of Admissions, Epsilon Camp

A high-energy, no-nonsense force.

Denise Flagg

Parent

The Math 2 SAT Subject test help was great. But I especially appreciated the life advice. I know I can apply these new tools to boost my confidence and my success in any aspect of my academic life. Maybe even beyond.

C. Leung

Student

You explain things clearly, but if I don’t understand the explanation, you explain it in a different way. And a different way again—and again. You’ll explain something five different ways if that’s what it takes for me to understand.

R. Hooper

Student

Not only is Wes Carroll an insightful, brilliant math tutor par excellence, but he is hands down the best long-distance teacher I know. I don’t know how he does it, but his enthusiasm and stage presence are even more infectious on screen than in person.

Justin Sigars

Tutor and co-founder, Bodsat Prep

When it comes to virtual teaching, Wes Carroll is brilliant. In fact, he is so helpful that even other educators continue to benefit from his tutelage. As a teacher, Wes knows his audience and is always enthusiastic about the subject matter.

In addition, he not only offers well-organized online courses but also video-conference tutoring. As one who has witnessed one of Wes’s virtual sessions, I have seen how his expertise with technology can reach multiple students and help them remotely.

Enrico B.

Parent

With Wes, [my daughter] learned not only the SAT, she learned to have confidence to do her best. I have never used any other service with my two other children ( be it SAT or math tutoring) except his English counterpart Justin. He is worth every penny and he teaches kids responsibility and goal setting. Wes thank you for your passion and expertise!

Claire S.

Parent

Wes is an excellent tutor. If you use his courses or private sessions, you will only see results. Using Wes, I was able to raise my SAT II MATH 2 score from a 660 to an 800 and my SAT Physics from a 630 to a 750.

Christopher R.

SAT Subject Test Student

Wes works with your child’s direct needs– zero’s in on what the issues are, and corrects and helps them to succeed. As a parent, you sit in on the first session and pretty soon your kid and Wes are off into a math world all their own.

Liz F.

Parent

Working with Wes was an all-around great experience. He was flexible, prepared, extremely knowledgeable, and able to form a connection via a computer screen. His website is super easy to navigate which helps immensely. I would recommend Wes to anyone in need of tutoring for ACT or SAT. He takes a different approach than other tutors through strategies that help distress and prepare you mentally and physically before you even have to think about the questions on the test. Thank you Wes for all your help!!

Bella F.

SAT / ACT Student

Wes helped my son in prepare for the SAT Math Subject II test. My son didn’t have much experience preparing and studying for tests. Wes taught him important test taking strategies and helped him come up with a plan to prepare for the test that minimized the natural stress involved with taking these types of tests. Not only did my son score fantastic on the test, but he came away with the knowledge of how to better prepare for tests in the future.

Vickie R.

Parent

In my opinion, the foremost quality of [Wes’s] teaching is his attentiveness to details and to the needs of the student, which result in a tutoring performance catering perfectly to the latter’s ability. I had the chance to witness first-hand his much-lauded ability to teach at long-distance and was amazed by how he seamlessly engaged with me as if or even better than if he were sitting right next to me. Finally, his management of time is splendid; he will never waste a single minute. Overall this experience has really helped me get the scores I hoped for. I am most grateful for his time.

Tancrède F.

GRE Student

She is stunned that she did so well. You were simply awesome in working with her, and I can’t thank you enough!

David B.

Parent

(Yours) was the highest rating this summer among our visiting teachers.

M. Debowsky

Program Director, Canada/USA Mathcamp

Wes is absolutely fantastic! He figures out how your kid learns and teaches him or her the way they need to reach their goals…With Wes, she learned not only the SAT, she learned to have confidence to do her best.

Claire Serrato

Parent

…working with Wes, students rocket-launch their math scores and even increase their eagerness to excel at highest altitudes. Wes’s enthusiasm is infectious, his efficiency in teaching enormously productive, and his service as a role model for what an ambitious student can achieve priceless. I count on him to help make dreams come true for my brightest academic stars.

Scott Cowan

Tutor, founder, SF Learns

Wes Carroll tutoring provides support for high-level math classes that in our experience is difficult to find. Wes and James helped my daughter through the more challenging areas of calculus. They helped her feel prepared and confident going into the AP exam. I would highly recommend their services.

Claire B.

Parent

Wes has been an excellent guide in this regard in a number of ways. He’s been working with our daughter for about nine months, helping her with self-study for acceleration in her school curriculum as well as exposing her to more advanced concepts and problems.

Narciso J.

Parent

[Wes] did a great job in walking my daughter through a series of problems to understand exactly where she was having difficulty, and he figured out a way to point out the issue that sidestepped any resistance or defensiveness. His one session with my daughter solved the problem! She is documenting her work more thoroughly and is doing better on tests – partly because she makes fewer mistakes, and partly because when she does make a mistake she gets more partial credit due to having shown her work. She got an A in honors math last semester!

David B.

Parent

My son takes his exam next Saturday, but I wanted to write my review before then because I sincerely feel that the benefits of his time with Wes go beyond the score on any one test. (But I would also like to point out that my son’s first practice test was a 590 and now he is testing at a 790. So, nice job, Wes!)

Parent from Sebastopol

Parent

Wes has worked his magic with me and all of my siblings over the past 10+ years. Wes has helped my siblings and me prepare at various times for the SAT, GRE, and GMAT. Wes knows math and can help teach math – beyond that Wes is wonderful at helping his students change how they think through problems. Wes won’t just show you how to solve problems, he’ll let you delve into problems, let you get overwhelmed and help you when you run into roadblocks. He’ll make sure that you go into whatever you are studying for with a well thought out and practiced strategy that is tailored to the way your mind works – in other words, working with Wes helps you improve not only your knowledge but your self-confidence.

Alex M

GMAT / GRE Student

Wes is a profoundly gifted teacher. Aside from having the requisite brilliant understanding of math, Wes is able to explain complicated and often abstract concepts in a way that respects each student’s specific learning style. What makes Wes so talented is his ability to speak many languages when it comes to math. My daughter found her meetings with Wes so inspiring and exciting that she is contemplating majoring in math in college!

Jennifer M.

Parent

Wes might actually be a math genius, but if not, he is definitely a math wizard. His brain works somewhat like a computer (in the way that you can almost watch the actual zeros and ones continually moving kinda like the matrix opening screen) and he processes info at warp speed…the best part is that he is able to make the information accessible to your average lay-person, or 14 year old.

Lisa W.

Parent

My students are in: Middle school through college.

Pick a time from our calendar below to schedule a quick phone consultation with us.

Learn more about...

 

Wes Carroll

Math, Physics & AMC Tutor

510.578.8097 / [email protected]

Available worldwide via videoconference

Math Competition Coaching

Experience the joys of elegant solutions and personal expertise even before you learn to drive.

(Math competitions also provide students with unique avenues for entrance into some of the best schools in the country.)

Online Video Courses

Get in-depth preparation, everywhere and anytime (SAT Math 2 only, for the moment).

Academic Assistance

Get more out of of tough homework and exams, even in advanced courses like APs and IBs.

SAT 2 Subject Test Prep

Let us help your student get perfect scores on the Math 2 and Physics Subject Tests.

AP STEM Support

Work ahead of the rest of the class. Learn for life. Earn your “5”.