Using the Summer Effectively

As the end of summer approaches, students get more and more nervous for the start of school. However, few think about the knowledge they have lost over the past weeks of sunbathing, pool parties, and trips to the mall. According to the National Summer Learning Association, “most students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months.” In addition, students are also prone to doing worse on standardized tests when they come back from summer break. Here are several ways to combat the knowledge backslide associated with summer vacation and start the school year with a bang!

  1. Make a list of important topics from the previous semester, which may include difficult math concepts, literary terms, or fundamental science equations. Review them one by one, focusing on topics that will be useful during the upcoming semester.
  2. Gather tests and quizzes from previous semester. Make copies of all the wrong problems and work through them again. If you are still getting the wrong answer, ask a friend for help.
  3. Contact your teachers for next semester. Ask them what topics to study in order to prevent backslide and what the pacing of the course will be like. This will not only help you learn which topics should be reviewed but will also make a good impression on the teacher.
  4. Preview the courses for next semester. Find out which textbook will be used and teach yourself the first few chapters. If studying alone seems daunting, find a friend who is taking the same subject and study together.
  5. Here are some common terms, topics, and techniques that a student needs to know:
  • Science – significant figures, scientific notation, periodic table, scientific method, dimensional analysis, and common units of measurement (especially metric)
  • Math – solving equations for one or two variables, order of operations, operations with fractions and decimals, FOIL, factoring, solving problems without a calculator
  • Foreign Language – vocab from previous years, verb conjugations, and grammar rules
  • English – literary terms for prose and poetry

Do not let the summer strip you of all your hard-earned knowledge. Instead, work to retain the information! With these tips, you should be set for a smooth, successful semester. And don’t forget, if you are ever bored, pick up a book and read.

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