We're professors, tutors, and teachers, and our mission is to provide you with the best test prep materials out there so you can own the test.
There are a million test-prep resources. But when we took a look at them, we found a lot of flash without much substance. You need more than test-taking hacks (although we have a few of those) and random practice questions to earn your best score on these tests. You need to know the content on the test really, really well.
The Olive Book's courses help you do just that. Good courses come from good teachers, and we've researched what you need to know and built our course around the best way to teach it to you. There are three ways we try and help you own the content:
1) We teach you the hard stuff first so that you can tackle anything on the test.
2) We focus on building understanding, not memorizing facts, because you need a true understanding of the content to take on any question the test throws your way.
3) We believe everyone is a visual learner, so we provide professionally-animated, graphic explanation to many of our practice questions.
The bottom line: we're all teachers at heart and are here to help you learn.
For more information about us, or for any questions or concerns,
send us an email here.
Michael Ermann is the founder of The Olive Book and develops math content for the course (he also voices many of the videos!).
He is a tenured full professor at Virginia Tech’s School of Architecture + Design, where he has taught since 2001 and served as architecture program chairman from 2007 to 2011.
Professor Ermann has a math degree from Tulane University and a master’s in architecture from the University of Florida. His lifelong love of math has never waned, having tutored students in the subject for more than 30 years. He enjoys devising a way to teach math in the graphic language of architecture through The Olive Book.
If you are thinking about attending Virginia Tech, feel free to reach out to Professor Ermann for a tour of campus.
Kristi Flack creates Science and Math content for The Olive Book.
Before joining The Olive Book, Kristi taught math in public schools in Florida and in Virginia for over 10 years. She also tutored high school students in math and in SAT prep. Kristi worked with the VISTA (Virginia Initiative for Science Teaching and Achievement) grant, both as a coach for teachers and as a coordinator of science lessons taught at camps for teachers and students.
In her free time she likes to exercise, garden, hike, and generally be outside (weather permitting). When the weather is not permitting, she likes to read, listen to, and watch crime mysteries. Oh, and she likes good music. Kristi has undergraduate degrees in both economics and psychology as well as a master’s degree in teaching, all from the University of Virginia.
Cristina Moyer is our resident SAT/ACT guru and creates Math and English content for The Olive Book course (she’s also the voice behind many of the Grammar and Reading videos!).
A former high school and middle school math teacher, Cristina has worked with students in and out of the classroom for over 20 years. She always knew that she wanted to be a teacher and loves teaching math because she understands the struggle some students face.Since leaving the classroom, she has focused her private tutoring practice on students with learning differences and anxiety issues. Cristina also prepares students for college entrance exams.
Cristina has a bachelor's degree in math and a master's degree in teaching from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.
Ben Orlin develops math content for The Olive Book. A math teacher and author, he tells a lot of jokes (a few of which are actually decent) in the hope of helping those who feel alienated from mathematics.
His books Math with Bad Drawings (2018) and Change is the Only Constant (2019) explore mathematics through cartoons and storytelling. His blog Math with Bad Drawings has attracted millions of visitors since 2013, with approving mentions from Vox founder Ezra Klein, poker champion Annie Duke, and mathematician and former NFL player John Urschel, among many others.
His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Slate, The Los Angeles Times, and elsewhere. He has taught middle and high school math in the U.S. and the U.K. He now considers writing his day job and teaching his passion project.
Megan Johnson manages The Olive Book’s marketing strategy and online presence, from writing and curating the Olive Book’s blog and managing the social media accounts to creating strategies to reach new students. Megan also communicates with students and parents to help them get the most out of the course.
Megan received her degree in Communication and English from Texas A&M University - College Station. If you want to know more about this 5-star school in the great state of Texas, ask her about her experience there.
In her free time, Megan enjoys cooking new recipes with her husband, bike rides, and the occasional flat white coffee.
Amy Cowan graduated from Virginia Tech with a degree in Art/Graphic Design and began her career as a web designer, working for several years in Baden, Switzerland.
She joined Michael Ermann’s Amber Team in 2017, animating architecture videos for The Amber Book, and has helped create the Olive Book as an animator and Project Manager. Amy enjoys mountain trail running, painting watercolor portraits, and time with her daughters.
Zack Lamoureux is an animator from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. He was brought on to animate Olive Book as a Freelance Animator in 2018. He holds a BSc in Economics, and has worked as an animator, VFX artist and editor on commercials, music videos, TV and film, in Canada and internationally. He has a passion for 2D animation, but also loves hockey, science fiction, true crime, his girlfriend, Kate, and his half-nosed cat, Dolly.
Calum MacConnell is an animator from Vancouver Island, Canada, and has worked for Olive Book as a Freelance Animator since 2019. He holds a BA in English Literature (University of British Columbia) and has spent the last 15 years completing illustration, animation and VFX contracts within the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors in Canada and the United States.
Guided by a passion for design that focuses on the support and celebration of humanity, Calum has been fortunate enough to work with a diverse range of clients that includes Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Olympic gold medalists, and Canadian Governor Generals’ Award recipients.
He enjoys soup of all kinds, origami, and walking.
Annika Griggs has been working with Michael Ermann since 2018, animating content for The Amber Book and videos for the Olive Book, specifically Reading Comprehension and Grammar. She has enjoyed working, specifically with Olive Book since the content is relevant to her as a high school student who is currently preparing for the SAT/ACT, and the opportunity to use her creativity while learning.
Annika is a student at Blacksburg High School and will graduate in 2021. Aside from animation, Annika enjoys running with the cross country team, cooking, and spending time with her family.
For his work with The Olive Book, Ralph is the resident jack-of-all-trades. Content editing, proofreading, graphics design, and operational strategy are all occasionally known to visit his wheelhouse. Around the office, he's probably best known for his turning of phrases, love of recipe tuning, and capacity to turn around solutions to complex, multifaceted challenges.
These duties mesh well with his engagement in playing his eclectic interests off one another; when asked to list a sample of them, he said, "Things". We know he folds origami, paints, fixes anything and everything that crosses his path in need of repair, and produced a book that was an amalgam from his pursuits in photography, literature, geometry, communication, printmaking, botany, graphics, assembly, music, food, and wonder. The book is also a passable slinky.
Ralph has his B.Arch from Virginia Tech and is walking the meandering path toward architectural licensure.
Amy Vogelaar graduated Virginia Tech with a BA in Professional Writing. She was hired on as a writer and editor for an updated version of The Amber Book workbook. When the idea came up for an Amber Book e-course and an additional Olive Book course, she revealed her website experience. She now manages the course site(s).
She is the person in the office most likely to end up drawing attention with her not-so-silent dance of triumph after solving a particularly complex problem. Her favorite pastimes are traveling and exploring other cultures, theater and dancing, and spending time lazing about her house with a good book and her two rambunctious kittens, Roxie and Toulouse.