Nina has an undergraduate degree in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania. She has been tutoring students for the last 7 years both in Mumbai, where she now resides, and online across the world.
She focuses on preparing students for a number of standardized tests as follows:
· Undergraduate programs (US):
o SAT, PSAT/NMSQT, PSAT 10, PSAT 8/9
o ACT, PreACT, PreACT 8/9
· Programs for the gifted and talented (US):
· Private/independent schools (US, UK)
o SSAT, ISEE
o UKiset, CAT4, 11+, 13+, 16+
o School-specific entrance exams (US, UK, India)
· IGCSE Math
Nina recognizes that every student has different strengths and weaknesses based on which the challenges posed by each test varies. She, therefore, ensures that students are equipped to do their best by providing them with simple tools, the right materials and techniques, and additional support to cater to their individual needs. Nina’s techniques are as simple as being able to recognize patterns and learning a few easier methods to solve math problems, or reading the blurb at the beginning of each passage of the Reading section more closely.
Nina was born and raised in Long Island, NY, and was a high achiever in school. She won medals at numerous interscholastic mathematics competitions, such as Mathletes and Math Olympiads. At the age of 13, she was identified as a talented youth by Johns Hopkins University. For this distinction, she had to take the SAT, which is an integral standardized test for college admissions in the United States, at the age of 12 instead of 16 (the usual age at which the test is taken).
As our decision to relocate back to the US came together, we started working with Nina Merchant to help prepare our two girls – Ashna Reddy, applying for 9th grade, and Ariya Reddy, applying for 6th grade, for their SSAT/ISEE exams.
Over 5 months, from the initial test to identify their starting point, to coaching classes twice a week to cover various subjects, Nina worked hard to make learning fun and she’s truly invested in the children.
The girls moved from being in the 25th to 75th percentile in initial tests to the high 80th and 90th percentiles. Nina partners closely with parents, truly cares for the children and strives to constantly go beyond the call of duty.
Ashna and Ariya have both been accepted into their top choice of school, were fortunate to have choices of incredible schools to choose from — we are very grateful to Nina for her contribution to this important stepping stone for our children. My girls and I continue to keep in touch with her.
Our children ages 13 and 9 worked with Nina in private tuition sessions for approximately 1 year prior to taking their PSAT tests for private school admissions in the United States. The sessions were focused on Math and English which are the primary areas covered in that particular test. Our objective was for the children to learn the material, understand it and apply it comfortably, with confidence and in a timely manner consistent with the time constraints imposed by test.
For our children to succeed, it was important that the tutor could appreciate their level of understanding, their mindset, and their motivations. Nina was able to connect with our children and win their commitment and attention. Nina’s demeanor was warm and friendly such that the children felt comfortable spending time with her and yet serious and focused enough that she could teach them the material in the appropriate time frame. When it was time to take the test, our children were calm, confident, and positive about their preparedness and actual taking and completing the test. The children achieved the scores that they were targeting, and more importantly, learned the material such that it helps them in their day to day academic experience.
The most impressive and surprising part of the experience was the ability of Nina and the children to achieve their objective while working in sessions that seemed comfortable, relaxed and seemingly enjoyable. Nina knew how to push the children to stay on task and when to back off and let them slow down the pace or take a break in an effort to make the learning process stress free and painless. One might have thought that more seriousness and intensity was required to achieve the objective, but clearly, that was not the case. While disciplined, consistent sessions were critical to success, so to was the relaxed mindset. Nina’s western/US background is an added asset to her ability to teach students to tackle US-centric tests.
We were looking for a tutor for my then 4th grader, and because I have a child in the international system, it was really hard for me to find someone that is very well-versed with the American system and the international system. A friend of mine recommended Nina and said that Nina had helped her children get into a private school in Miami. That was 7 years ago, and Nina has been with us since then. My 4th grader is now 16 and 2nd grader is now 14, and now she has also been with my 10-year-old for the last one year.
The two things that I really like about Nina is that my kids adore her, and she genuinely adores them; they look forward to her coming every week. The second thing that I love about her is that she actually makes sure the concept is taught before she leaves, and she doesn’t really clock her time. I found her to be most useful as a math tutor—a person that either takes a child ahead of the game, and challenges them so that they can really get ahead in math class, or to clarify problems for any of my children that have been struggling in an area in math. She’s also helped with MAP tests for all three of my children and has helped with Language Arts at times. My two older kids had to take the SCAT test, and Nina helped with that as well; they both did really well and were accepted into gifted programs.
If you want a dedicated and encouraging SAT tutor, Nina Merchant is the person to go to. Her approach to the whole program is completely different from any tutor we have met. We interviewed a few people for our daughter, Ruby’s, SAT preparation but none of them had a firm plan of action in place. Nina knew how she would work with Ruby with a very focused timeline. This is what made us go with Nina. The study materials she provided were excellent aids. Ruby’s confidence & concentration levels reached a new high. She was completely at ease when she went for her test.
Nina’s polite manner, punctuality and sense of responsibility to the task at hand were commendable. She was never late for a session. Anyone looking for a focused, dedicated and sincere SAT tutor would do well to request Nina for help.
My daughter was just two weeks away from her ACT exam. A friend of mine suggested I speak with Nina Merchant. After I discussed a few details with Nina, she promptly sent me a schedule of classes for the next two weeks. We decided it was best to have someone help my daughter through the preparation process, and it was a very good decision indeed.
Nina was focused and very organized. My daughter became comfortable with her from day one, diligently attended classes, and completed the assigned homework. That wouldn’t have been possible if she didn’t see Nina investing so much energy in the preparation process. Nina would analyze her mistakes, give her specialized practice in those topics, and encourage her all the time. My daughter, in fact, used to look forward to Nina’s classes because they became so much fun; Nina had a lot of anecdotes to narrate and encouraged open and free-flowing discussions.
We have a lot to thank Nina for. My daughter managed to secure wonderfully in the ACT exam—much beyond our expectation, but in line with what Nina had predicted. She has a very good way of gauging a student’s capabilities. I wish Nina all the very best.