Summer is here—and the first thing on many students' minds is a well-earned break from finals and projects. If you need that break, take it! Before you dive back into your studies, it's important to recharge your batteries by taking time to relax, watch your favorite shows, and hang out with friends.
The second thing you'll want to consider is how to use the rest of your time this summer to build your academic skills and set yourself up for success in the fall.
This is an equally important summertime goal because of what's known as the summer slide. Over summer break, students' academic gains—particularly in math—can decline by up to two months. In fact, for over 100 years, educators have observed and raised concerns about summer learning loss. Students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of the summer than they do on the same tests at the start of the summer, and 90% of teachers start the school year by spending at least three weeks reteaching content from the previous year.
The good news is that summer learning loss is preventable. With fewer distractions and commitments on your plate, you can use this time as an opportunity to catch up and get ahead.
How can I make sure to start the school year on track or ahead of the curve?
Take advantage of the summer months as a time to continue building your academic skills. Consistently engaging in math and reading can go a long way toward strengthening your academic gains over the summer. In fact, students’ participation in out-of-school summer learning experiences even in their elementary years can affect their levels of academic achievement in high school and beyond.
Simple daily steps like reading, keeping a journal, or listening to an audiobook can help you enhance your grammar, vocabulary, and critical thinking skills. If you’re looking for an extra challenge, or you’re planning to take the ACT, SAT, or PSAT in the fall, start with something from our Recommended Reading List.
Summer is also an ideal time to work with a tutor to bring you up to speed or help you get a head start on content you'll learn in the fall. Your tutor can adapt your program to your current level, ensuring you've mastered the foundational skills needed to understand more advanced concepts.
Summer camps, virtual trips, and online resources like Khan Academy are other great ways you can explore your interests and keep your brain active over the summer.
How should I study if I need to catch up?
If you ended the school year having fallen behind in any of your core subjects, start by taking stock of which units or concepts you feel confident about and which ones will require further review.
For every month of content you want to review, we recommend one week of studying, ideally involving 2 personalized review sessions with a tutor and 2-3 hours of individual review per week.
Plan ahead by looking at how many weeks there are until the start of the school year, thinking about the times of day when you study most effectively, and figuring out what your summer schedule will look like on a weekly basis. Don't forget to set aside enough time for sleeping, eating, socializing, and relaxing—and aim to take at least one day off from studying each week so that you can recharge.
How should I study if I want to get ahead?
Getting ahead now can help lessen your stress at the start of the school year. If you'll be taking more advanced courses in the fall or you're anticipating a busy schedule in the early weeks of the year, it makes a huge difference to be able to walk into class already knowing the basics.
To give yourself a head start on the content you’ll cover in the fall, we recommend one week of studying for every week you want to get ahead. For most students, this means 2 one-on-one review sessions with a tutor plus 2-3 hours of individual review per week.
Again, balance is key. Come up with a study plan that's realistic and comfortable, and pace yourself so that you can start the school year feeling energized and ready for success.
Need more individualized advice?
The recommendations above are general suggestions. If you have specific questions, reach out to our experts here. We’re happy to help in any way we can.
ArborBridge is the global leader in innovative, digital, one-on-one tutoring. With nearly a decade of experience teaching students online, ArborBridge supports students of all kinds: home schoolers, AP students, test preppers, and more. Our tutors specialize in creating personalized plans and in providing compassionate support for students and families.