Exam Prep Testimonials

M.A. and Ph.D. Proficiency Exams

I called Melissa in a well justified panic: My French was good enough — barely — to ask a waiter where to find the bathroom in Paris, but that was it. And I had to take a doctoral-level reading comprehension test in French in less than six weeks. She got me from zero to 60 — that is, from barely a word of French to a passing grade — with good cheer, expert advice and, just as important, constant encouragement that actually made the process fun. Part tutor, part therapist, part cheerleader — Melissa Kerley does it all, and I couldn’t possibly recommend her more enthusiastically. ~ Greg (Georgetown University)

Working with Melissa was one of the best decisions I’ve made as a graduate student. As Ph.D. in political science, I had no experience in French heading into my language exam. Not only were the lessons with Melissa really interesting (she tailors how you learn French to stuff you actually want to read), but our time together totally took the pressure off — turning something that I was really dreading & really not looking forward to into a fun journey with a lot of fond memories. Plus she has a ton of old exams so there are no surprises heading into the test. Plus it gave me a great foundation to bolster my research capabilities. Melissa has continued to be a helpful resource for major papers and for some parts of my dissertation. ~ Ross (Georgetown University)

After not regularly studying French for nearly eight years I needed to pass a graduate proficiency test as part of my master’s program. I spoke with several other French tutors whose experience and qualifications I did not quite trust before finding Melissa. Though our schedules did not work out for several months (she was booked, then I was traveling, etc.), Melissa was well worth the wait. I began our sessions hoping to achieve just the minimum necessary to pass and while Melissa was happy to help me achieve my basic goals, somewhere along the way she also reminded me of the value of French beyond my transcript. Though I was often tired during our early morning sessions, I enjoyed them immensely. Of course, I am also happy to report, I passed my proficiency exam. It is possible I would have been able to do so with another tutor, but I am so glad I did not have to. ~ Emily (SAIS: Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies)

Dr. Kerley is an incredible French teacher.  Her mastery of French language combined with her innate knowledge of exam structure allowed me to build a solid foundation in French, excel at lightning speed and pass proficiency exams necessary for my graduate degree. Mme Kerley is an asset to any student ready to excel in French language, both professionally and personally.   Mme Kerley has an unparalleled depth of expertise that she combines with both excellence and passion. Within three months of working with Mme Kerley I successfully passed advanced proficiency exams in French in reading, writing, speaking and listening at Johns Hopkins University SAIS.  I have continued to use French professionally, and often recount my wonderful lessons with Mme Kerley.  She is a gem within the world of linguistics and rigors of academia and is an absolute gift to her students all over the world.    ~ Katherine (SAIS: Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies)

As a grad student at American University I was required to pass a foreign language exam before I graduated. Only problem was I didn’t know a foreign language. I emailed Melissa and she was very accommodating.  In just a few sessions, I think less than 10, I was able to take and pass the Tool of Research exam on my first attempt. If you are interested in learning French in a way that will actually work, I definitely recommend Melissa. ~ Mike (American University)

I am a Ph.D. student at The Catholic University of America. Prior to meeting with Melissa, I had no knowledge of French. But after three months of private tutoring with Melissa, in person and via Skype, I passed my rigorous departmental language exam with high marks.  Thanks to Dr. Kerley’s enseignement magnifique (magnificent teaching) method coupled with her patience I am now able to read and translate French fluently. In addition, she is an incredibly kind person and you just might end up with a friend after you achieve your goals! ~ Ryan (Catholic University)

FSI Exam

I am a US Government employee and was lucky enough to find Melissa while I was enrolled in French classes at the Foreign Service Institute. At the outset, Melissa outlined a study schedule for me that allowed me to structure my days proficiently and effectively. Thereafter, I had one hour classes with Melissa that allowed me to strengthen my base and practice my presentations that I had prepared for the French exam at FSI.  Melissa is not only an outstanding French teacher, she also provides invaluable advice on French grammar and the tricks to learning French. Her expertise helped me build confidence in my speaking and allowed me to become a much better speaker. I will also add that the support that Melissa provides is similar to that of a life coach and I could not have completed my exam without her. I recommend Melissa highly.  ~ Sharon (USAID)

I worked with Melissa over 6 months to increase my professional speaking level.  I found Melissa to be well versed in French and able to modify lessons based on my need. I recommend Melissa whole-heartedly. There is no one in DC area with as much expertise and knowledge about government testing as Melissa.  ~ Amy (Foreign Service Officer) 

Other Exams

I recommend working with Melissa;  she tailored a program that met my individual needs helping me prepare for a French proficiency test (The Bright Language Test) that required skills in reading, writing, speaking, and comprehending French.  She took extraordinary measures to learn about the standards I needed to meet and enthusiastically carried out special requests to help me prepare.  I found this experience to be very positive especially for the student looking for an individualized, one-on-one learning environment with a flexible professor. ~ Anne

When we started working together, I had previously taken several classes and worked with another teacher, and I was looking for someone who would take a focused approach and prepare me to take the TEF. Melissa was very supportive of this goal. She obviously loves teaching French, and her extraordinary energy and enthusiasm make the lessons fun. She has an extensive library of texts and other teaching materials that she gladly lends to her students. She draws on her comprehensive understanding of French grammar to creatively speed the learning process. ~ Gary