With Memorial Day less than two weeks away, and warm weather finally in the air, students, parents, (and tutors!) are counting down the days to summer, and its promise of vacation, relaxation, and sunshine. After getting through final exams and projects, everyone will certainly need time off to recharge. However, after getting in one’s share of R&R, the summer also presents us with an ideal opportunity to get a head start on the school year to come. For students entering 8th grade, that might mean preparing to take the SHSAT or ISEE high school entrance exams in the fall, or, for high school students, preparing for the PSAT, SAT, or SAT II Subject Tests.
What going to the gym and test prep have in common
This past January, I saw an interesting sign at the gym that said, “Summer bodies are built in the winter.” In many ways it’s an obvious statement. When it comes to physical fitness, we all understand intuitively that it’s impossible to get fitter and stronger without regular exercise, and that fitness training takes time. Strangely, however, this concept becomes less obvious to us when we think about building and maintaining mental and intellectual skills, such as those used in math, reading, and writing. And yet these skills, just like our physical ones, can be built and strengthened only with focused and consistent practice. And just like our physical fitness, our mental acuity can become “out of shape” when not exercised regularly.
A head start
As my students and families know from working with me, effective test preparation involves breaking the exam up into specific, digestible topics, and then practicing, practicing, and practicing some more. Even one session per week can help to maintain and strengthen skills that are learned during the school year. Even better, a consistent program can give students a head start by having them tackle real test questions and passages—months in advance of test day. Ultimately, this long-run approach is the most effective strategy to getting great results. Summer bodies may be built in the winter, but school-year test takers are built in the summer.
If you, your son or daughter, or any of your friends or family members might benefit from test preparation this summer, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re more than happy to discuss your needs for tutoring, and consultations are always free.
Thank you for reading—and enjoy that summer sun!