As the school year winds down, students are understandably looking ahead eagerly to the summer break. Regardless of where you are in your high school career, keeping your mind sharp over the summer is essential.
For freshmen, your sophomore year will offer a more challenging course load, sometimes featuring your first AP classes. It is crucial to build on the success you established your first year or turn the page and start anew if you struggled.
For sophomores, junior year will be seen as the doorway to college acceptance since you will likely be taking ACTs and SATs for the first time, along with juggling your busiest course load of high school.
Juniors who have finished with the SAT or ACT still have the rigors of college applications and a challenging fall semester to look forward to, while those who have not finished with the tests will have to gear up again for the fall exams.
And even for the seniors who are already accepted into college, I would remind you that the level of comprehension necessary for college courses far surpasses that of high school classes.
With all this in mind, I recommend that students do their best to avoid the trap of summer complacency, which can make starting the new school year all that much more painful. You should all pursue intriguing, unique experiences over the summer, but there are simple steps you can take to keep your mind functioning at a high level.
For most students, the most important step is to read consistently at a high level. Some of you are ambitious enough readers to tackle full novels, in which case you should check out our summer reading list here. For those of you who feel overwhelmed by the commitment of a novel, challenge yourself to read one article each day in a publication such as The Atlantic, Popular Science, Scientific American, The New York Times, or The Wall Street Journal. These publications are written at a level similar to or above that which you will usually find on the SAT or ACT.
For those of you trying to get ahead on your SAT or ACT prep or make a strong final push for the fall exams, I would strongly recommend a consistent review of the English rules and math equations, as well as steady practice with your past mistakes. Even 10 to 15 minutes of work each day can make a significant impact on your readiness at the start of the next school year.
So challenge yourself to stay sharp and keep yourself ahead of the curve this summer!