Studying is a hassle for many students, as many inevitably attempt to escape the rigorous curriculum and complex subjects. However, what about the individuals who must cramp during the summer break, sparing any extra free time they have?
Whether you are looking to explore novel fields during your summer or get a head start on the upcoming academic year, studying over the summer break is not easy, as it is often difficult to focus during that time. We have compiled this article to address the top five productive study methods to utilize during the summer period.
Should Students Study Over Summer Break?
The answer to whether you should be studying during the summer break is not a straightforward one. You might dread the inevitable summer learning loss, which entails losing the academic progress you have gained over the past academic year.
However, jumping into a rigid summer routine that is overwhelming might not necessarily be the solution to your dilemma. Sometimes, taking a long and relaxing break is essential to restore your energy and mental capabilities.
Yet, to decide whether studying over summer break is for you, diving into the pros and cons is essential.
Advantages of Studying Over Summer Break
There are multiple pros of studying over your summer vacation. Some of those include:
- Often known as the “summer slide,” many students struggle with losing knowledge and skills over the summer. You can maintain or even improve your knowledge base by engaging in intellectual activities.
- If you are about to be a college senior, you might be preoccupied with college prep activities, which often include preparation for SAT or ACT exams. It is also the optimal time to finalize some of your college essays.
- If you are afraid of losing momentum or motivation, then regular studying can provide you with a routine that you might find beneficial, especially if your summer lacks structure.
- If you are a bookworm or enjoy exploring novel areas, this might be your time to shine. Summer might be the best time to focus on your other interests, such as coding, art, or creative writing.
Disadvantages of Studying Over Summer Break
While learning how to study over summer break can be beneficial, there are downsides to turning your summer into an academic period. Some of the cons of focusing on learning during that period include:
- Continuously studying without substantial breaks can lead to burnout. Such burnout can make things less effective when you return to school, harming your mental health, physical well-being, and cognitive skills.
- Focusing solely on your academic life can lead you to miss out on other fundamental experiences in your life. That could include travel, summer camps, jobs, and internships.
- Many students might feel forced into studying over the summer break due to peer pressure or a push from their parents. Either way, this will inevitably lead to a lack of engagement and a negative attitude towards learning.
5 Productive Study Methods During Summer Break
Now, if you have decided to pursue your academic life during the relaxed environment provided by the summer break, then it is your opportunity to explore productive study methods. These tips might otherwise not be feasible during the packed school year. Below are five productivity summer study tips.
Active Recall and Spaced Repetition
Instead of passively rereading your notes or books, challenge yourself in novel ways. You can challenge yourself by attempting to recall the main ideas from memory without reading through the text first. Through this method, you can strengthen memory retention.
What about spaced repetition? You can use tools like Anki or Quizlet to space out your study sessions over increasing intervals. This technique allows you to improve long-term retention of information. In other words, this method is the opposite of “cramming,” where you review material regularly.
Summer is your opportunity to get out of the theoretical mundane repetition and dive into a more practical experience. Since you will have ample time during summer, utilize this opportunity to enhance your understanding and retention through projects.
For example, if you want to dive into coding, consider learning how to build your website. If your interest is biology, maybe consider setting up a home garden and documenting plant growth.
Study Groups or Peer Teaching
If you have a group of friends who are also interested in pursuing an academic field, consider forming study groups. Meeting regularly will allow you to unlock different perspectives and make things more engaging. Moreover, consider teaching each other different concepts to solidify your understanding and reveal areas you must revisit.
Mix Subjects and Interleaved Practice
Instead of dedicating large chunks of time to a single subject, you should try to mix and match different subjects during study sessions. This method, called interleaved practice, can enhance your ability to distinguish between topics and improve problem-solving skills.
Real-World Application and Field Trips
The world is your classroom. Hence, optimize your time, conduct different experiments, and take adventures you usually wouldn’t. If you are studying history, visit local museums and historical sites. If you’re more into science, consider visiting nature reserves and planetariums. Connecting your academic knowledge to real-world scenarios can provide you with context and better retention.
Regardless of your chosen method, these summer learning tips and techniques should be incorporated with a healthy balance between study and leisure. Also, including regular breaks during study sessions, such as the Pomodoro Technique, can help you maintain focus and reduce burnout.
Do’s and Don’ts of Studying Over Summer Break
While summer might be the optimal time to stay ahead, it is also a time for relaxation and rejuvenation. Hence, this section will dive into summer tips for students, specifically the do’s and don’ts of studying over summer break.
Below is a list of things to do while studying over your summer break:
- Make a flexible schedule. Don’t attempt to schedule every minute of the day! Instead, create a realistic plan incorporating your other activities and regular breaks to consider other obligations.
- Aim for productivity. There are many productive things to do in the summer break related to studying, including online courses, traveling to learn in a different country or reading. Your productive periods don’t have to be the same mundane methods you used in school.
- Mix the subjects. Avoid getting bored and monotony by changing the subjects and topics you are studying.
- Reward yourself. After all, it is summer break. After an extensive study session, consider going out for a treat such as ice cream or hanging out with people to relieve the load of studying.
But what about the things to avoid while cramming during summer? Here are things to steer away from:
- Isolate yourself. Avoid putting yourself in a bubble and refraining from having fun activities. Summer is the time to socialize and spend time with friends and family.
- Skip breaks. We’re not talking about the study breaks between sessions. Instead, it is essential to take prolonged breaks, especially right before the next academic semester begins.
- Procrastinate. Even though you might be studying for fun or to catch up, procrastination is never the solution. While leaving things for “tomorrow” during lazy summer days might be tempting, this can lead to last-minute cramming.
- Rely only on memory. You might believe you remember everything off the top of your head. However, you should constantly revisit and practice information for better retention.
Wrapping Things Up: How to Study Over Summer Break: Productive Study Methods
As we have covered, studying during the summer break offers pros and cons. For instance, while it helps counter academic regression, it can lead to burnout if not done properly. You also don’t want to miss out on your summer experiences.
Hence, this article becomes your ultimate guide to studying properly during the summer. You can achieve the ultimate balance you need by using the list of do’s and don’ts. Don’t forget to instill active recall and real-world applications to ensure academic progress and personal well-being.