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Tutor profile: Michael B.

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Michael B.
PhD Candidate in history available for tutoring
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Questions

Subject: Writing

TutorMe
Question:

What is passive voice and why should you avoid it in formal writing?

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Michael B.
Answer:

Passive voice is a way to distance the action from the subject of the sentence or to obscure the actor. A classic example is "Mistakes were made." This begs the question - who made the mistakes? This is often a weak form of writing. An active voice sentence instead emphasizes who is performing the action. For example, "The student made several mistakes." Now your reader knows exactly who or what acted and the result. This makes your writing more dynamic.

Subject: Study Skills

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Question:

What is an effective method for reading a textbook?

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Michael B.
Answer:

One effective way to read a textbook is to employ the SQ4R method. This stands for S – Survey, Q – Question, R – Read, R – Record, R – Recall, and R - Review. The first step is to survey the text. Look through the reading and pay attention to introductions, titles and sub-titles, charts, graphs, illustrations, and review questions. Next, you should make up questions for each heading or sub-heading, using who, what, where, when, why, and how. Then you'll read to answer these questions. Now we get to the 4 Rs: Read, Record, Recall and Review. The next step (Read) is to read one paragraph at a time, looking for main ideas and paying special attention to italicized or bold-faced words. In the Record step, you'll use a notetaking style you like and write down important ideas, paying attention to items in lists, definitions, and answers to review questions you made up. Lookup any words you don’t know the definition to. During the Recall step, take a minute to see how much you remember, read your notes out loud and check to make sure you understand. The final step is Review. Before you start a new section or chapter, review notes from the previous chapter. You should review your notes as often as possible.

Subject: World History

TutorMe
Question:

To what extent did Napoleon Bonaparte defend the ideals of the French Revolution of 1789?

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Michael B.
Answer:

Napoleon came to power precisely because of the chaos caused by the French Revolution, first as a military commander, then a member of the post-revolutionary government the Consulate, followed by the position of Consul for life and eventually emperor. Bonaparte worked to cement many of the ideals of the Revolution, in particular, the ideal of equality. He achieved this through the implementation of the Napoleonic Code, which made French (male) citizens equal before the law and codified the end of aristocratic privilege. Furthermore, he implemented a system of meritocratic reward in the French military, that is soldiers rose in rank not because of their familial ties or noble title but rather through success on the battlefield. By implementing these systems, Napoleon demonstrated his commitment to some of the revolutionary ideals of 1789. Of course, as he rose to the position of emperor, he rejected other ideals.

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