SWARTWOOD Testing, Admissions, and Review 




Teaching Staff

Senior Instructors

John Swartwood 

Best Credential: What students say.  

"I chose Swartwood over the other people that teach it for several reasons. One, he really cares about us.  John cares that we will do well.  He just wants us to get most out of his teaching, the most out of the experience...It’s always really high energy in here, fun. Studying isn’t always fun but John somehow makes it fun…I think John is just different.  That’s just a good word for him…he’s the smartest person, smartest human being, I think I’ve ever met in my life, and he knows how to teach.  That’s important.  He’s not just a textbook.  He really teaches the material. So, I always walk away learning something new."

Lauren Appell- Former SWARTWOOD MCAT Student and UCLA undergrad (Alabama Medical School Student)


Mini CV: 

  • Head Instructor for SWARTWOOD.  SWARTWOOD students are now at Harvard, UCLA (David Geffen), Case Western Reserve, Johns Hopkins, UCSF, Stanford, USC (Keck), Miami, Cincinnati, Duke, Loma Linda, Albany, Alabama, UC Irvine, UC Davis, and Commonwealth among other schools.
  • MCAT/Basic Sciences Instructor for a Medical School Masters Program.
  • Book proposal evaluator for Barron's.
  • Was the Biology Instructor for the Pre-medical/Pre-dental Enrichment Program (PREP) and  the Re-Application Program (RAP) at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. 
  • Was the MCAT Strategies Presenter for PREP/RAP (see above).
  • Was one of the top three instructors in the nation for one of the biggest testprep companies in existence (when he entered the scene at age 21).   His classes had the highest average score improvement, and every single rating he received was a perfect 5 (1,000+).  They actually created their first ever salaried position to retain him as he was considered by most their TOP instructor before he left.
  • Awarded the first-year mathematics teaching award at UCLA (reinstated specifically for John since first-year teaching assistants are normally not awarded teaching honors).
  • Chosen as the pilot instructor (Math 3C) for the VIGRE UCLA Program in order to help win an National Science Foundation VIGRE Grant (UCLA) for the Mathematics Department.
  • Taught for three departments at UCLA- Mathematics, Psychology, and Communications.
  • Perfect 9 evaluations (200+ lecture, UCLA).
  • Chosen as PEERS facilitator for Math 31A, 31B, 32A, and 3A (UCLA).
  • Only person to have instructed a Math 199 (The Unimodality Conjecture for the Alexander Polynomial of an Alternating Link Type) with enrollment over 10 (15) (under Professor Brown's supervision- UCLA).

Teaching: MCAT (ALL Sections), Verbal Intensive, Physics Intensive, DAT, OAT, GRE (Verbal, Math, Writing), (LSAT, GMAT- no longer actively teaching) 

Education:  B.A. Psychology
M.S. Mathematics (UCLA) 
PhD (ABD) Mathematics (UCLA)
PhD Mathematics (in progress) (UCLA)
Academic Interests:  MCAT, DAT, OAT, GRE, Spaces of Orderings, Knot Theory, Classical Mechanics, Cosmology


Val K. (Senior Instructor)

Many a student has heard Val's brash voice echo down the teaching halls, but with it comes the assurance that what follows is both challenging and thought provoking.  With interests as varied as flamenco guitar and general relativity, Val's lectures are assured to delight.    

Teaching: MCAT O-chem, DAT O-chem, DAT Quant, GRE Math, GRE Verbal, Physics Subject GRE 
Education: BS Mathematics- UCLA
Academic Interests:  M-theory, Relativity, Theory of the Mind, Math Education, Teaching Theory of First Order Logic




Negeen Shah. (Senior Biology Instructor- retired, now a med student at David Geffen, UCLA)

A SWARTWOOD success, Negeen took the simplest path to a 35 and then returned to teach for us.  

Teaching: MCAT Biology
Education: BA Political Science - UCLA
Academic Interests:  MD and eating  


Matthew S. (Senior Instructor- Biology, Quant)

Matthew's care in his teaching shows.  Students know that he always has their best interests in mind and will take the time to make each and every concept clear.  

Teaching: MCAT Bio, DAT Bio, DAT Quant 
EducationUndergraduate Degree- UCLA
Academic Interests:  MD

Leah W. (Senior Instructor- G-chem, Quant, O-chem, Bio)

Leah returned to teach for us before starting dental school at UCSF.  She was a part of the "Golden SW DAT Summer" - 4 out of 10 students from her SW study group ended up going to UCSF!

Sharon Noh (Senior GRE Quantitative Instructor, retired, now in a PhD program)

Jennifer B. (Senior Biology and O-chem Instructor, retired- now at Keck)


General Instructors

Sina T. (Biochem, G-chem)

Sina went through the SW Intensive and scored a 526! on his MCAT. Since then he has come back to SWARTWOOD to teach while applying for med school.

Miriam (G-chem, Physics, Psy, Soc)

Students find Miriam clear, easy to listen to, and thoughtful.  She's teaching for us before she starts medical school in the fall.

Andy (G-chem, Bio, Biochem)

As a teacher Andy is down-to-earth and remembers "what is was like sitting in those seats."  Students find his words inspiring.  After having taken the MCAT 7 times before coming to us, Andy improved to a 515 and got accepted!  He starts med school in the fall.

Patrick K. (Physics, O-chem, Bio, Quant) - retired, now at Vanderbilt

Nic B. (Quant)

R. D. (O-chem) - retired, now at Yale pursuing a PhD.

Jeremy (Bio, Phy) - retired

Hyder (O-chem, Biochem) - retired, about to start medical school this fall at UC Irvine.


Management and Marketing (Teaching Offices)

Mai Swartwood (Manager)

Stephanie Mizuhara (Coordinator)

Jennifer Redgraves (Assistant Coordinator- also in the corporate office)

Leah W. (Marketing Coordinator)

Jennifer H. (Marketing Coordinator)

Denys S. (Marketing Coordinator)

I. W. (Marketing Coodrinator)

Yalda Safai (Marketing Coordinator)

Ruth M. (Marketing Coordinator, Researcher)


Instructors and Developers Emeritus

Tiffany H. (now at Johns Hopkins Med School)

Sherif R. (now at UCLA Med School)

Ziyad K. (now a resident in California, graduated UCLA Med School)

Lori R. (now a Resident Physician at Cedars Sinai Hospital, went to Albany Med School)

Hannah S. (graduated UCLA Med School)

Michelle L. (now in Med School)

Christa S. (graduated UCLA Med School)

Ariel M. (graduated UCLA Med School)

Gebina S. (now in Med School)

Ruth M. (USC Med School)

Brandon C. 

Ramee Y. (now a Resident Physician at Olive-View UCLA Medical Center)

Alicia F. (now at UC Davis- PhD in Mathematics)

David C. (now in Med School)

Shaila P. (Tufts)

Natalie A. (now in Med School)

Jason L. (now in Pharm School) 

Masha (now in Medical School)

Vasily R. (now in Medical School) 

Zubana A. (Public Health)

Neha C. 

Benjamin B. (now in Medical School)

Joseph B. (now at UCLA Dental)

Lili S. (now at Boston Medical School) 

Olivia M. 

Mike P. (now at KECK Medical School)

Nathaniel H. (now at Loma Linda Dental)

Ashley T. (now in Medical School)

Catherine Y. (now in Medical School)