Oh, it’s that time of the year again. You have to come back to studying from a long break. Getting back on track is complicated for a lot of students, if not all of them; In fact, this phenomenon is called “summer learning loss,” (even though it’s winter) and researchers have been studying it since the 1990s.
For example, a 1996 study examined the effects of summer vacation and standardized achievement tests and found that summer learning loss equaled at least one month of instruction (the effects were the strongest in math and spelling skills). More recent findings described in this infographic by Oxford Learning suggested similar results:
- One month of learning is lost after summer vacation
- 6 weeks in the fall are spent re-learning new material to make up for summer learning loss
- Up to 2 months of reading skills can be lost over the summer break.
The situation can get even worse because students can be unmotivated to learn and too distracted when they return to school after the break. If you feel like you need some tips on how to make sure a break doesn’t upset your focus and get ready for a new semester, check out the suggestions below.
1. Revise Your Old Academic Work
You know what they say, taking a fresh look on your work may help you to discover a lot of mistakes you missed. “So, why not take an essay or a research paper you wrote last semester and read it again?” says Russell Thomas, an academic writing expert from College Paper. “Who knows, maybe you’ll see some writing mistakes you’ve made but didn’t notice earlier.”
Besides, reading will help you to refresh your memory about the topics you were learning.
2. Use Learning Opportunities During the Break
According to the aforementioned infographic by Oxford Learning, studying for 2-3 hours per week can help to prevent the negative effects of learning loss and keep your focus sharp. So, seek some educational opportunities during your break.
For example, you can enroll in an online course and learn a topic of your interest, thus maintaining your focus and learning skills. Some of the most popular online platforms are Udemy and Coursera, and they offer courses on a wide range of topics, so it’s safe to claim that you’ll find something to your liking.
3. Get into a Learning Routine Before You Begin to Study
The purpose here is to get you into the rhythm of the student life even before you start attending classes.
“For example, you can dedicate a couple of hours of your time doing school-related activities such as reading your upcoming course syllabus and assignments that you’ll have to complete each week,” recommends Lauren Quinn, a student advisor at Bestessaytips.com.
4. Connect with Your Learning Community
Your professors and fellow students can help you to prepare yourself for a new start. For example, you can connect with them on social media and get involved in the conversation about the upcoming semester.
Let’s take Stanford as an example. It has an official Facebook page where the learning community converses; also, specific classes have their own, closed social media groups. Don’t forget about forums at your college or university’s website. There, you can meet new friends, find out about upcoming events, and ask for help with something.
Taking a long break from learning can result in learning loss and a lack of motivation, but you can minimize their impact on you with the tips described above. Now, it’s over to you, but remember one last thing: avoid procrastination at all cost because it’s the most common reason why students fail to prepare themselves for a new semester; and refer to GradGuard for assistance in adulting, college life, and all your Tuesday tips!