So the academic year has ended and the summer has finally rolled around. Many students use this time to relax, others spend time with their families, some work or do work experience and the lucky few get to travel. But one thing that should be a priority throughout these gap months is continuing to learn and recapping the subjects taught in the previous school year.
Have you ever noticed that when you learn something because you want to and not because you need to it sticks with you, whereas half of the facts you crammed into your head for an exam have long since been forgotten?
We’ve talked before on this site about how learning in a more relaxed environment and through using different resources improves your brain’s capability to recall that information. The summer is the perfect chance to study in this way. There are no deadlines, no exams and most importantly no stress.
The summer provides the perfect opportunity to improve in a lot of ways:
- Recap study – This sort of study is ideal if there are certain subjects that you struggled with throughout the year. The summer gives you the perfect chance to strengthen the weaker points in your knowledge. You could look back on past exams to see where you can improve on, even using the exam questions as a guide for your study sessions.
- Preparation study – I like to spend some time every summer simply preparing for the year ahead. I wouldn’t say that it is necesary to do anything too intense, but taking some time to check out the topics that will be covered and the reccommended reading list can be very beneficial. I find that it helps me to read over the first few chapters in preparation for the September classes, as this is when I least want to study. The first month back at university is always hard, when you’re trying to get back into a routine, so why not make it a bit easier.
- “For the hell of it” study – At some point during the summer you will get bored, it’s inevitable. With all the extra free time, there’s only a certain amount of napping, spending time with friends and watching TV that you can do. So why not use these moments to learn something new? It doesn’t even have to be related to your course, any sort of learning is beneficial to keep that brain ticking. I personally like to watch documentaries; I learn something new and I don’t have to sit in the library for hours to do it!
- Prevent summer learning loss – Many a study has shown that going several months without any sort of learning decreases your memory and weakens your knowledge base. It’s important to prevent this. It has taken you all year to learn a certain number of things and in a matter of a couple of months you can forget up to half of these.
There are lots of reasons for studying during the summer. Taking time to recover from the school year is important, but it is also necesary to not let yourself slip into any major lazy habits. Doing so will just make the new school year even harder! So pick up a book, watch a documentary or offer free labour in return for experience gain.