Use Your Break Wisely!

December 13th, 2015

Oh the weather outside is frightful

Use Your Winter Break Wisely!

Ok the weather is pretty nice…blue skies for days…Ahhhh. Winter Break! A time to relax, eat, hang out with family, and celebrate. You should definitely do all of those things… (here comes a but)…(drumroll please)…


You should ALSO use your break wisely! Open that backpack and do some studying over Winter Break. It’s been a long, hard semester, and you do not want to spoil all that you have put into it by slacking right before finals. With the biggest test of the semester right around the corner, many of you already have a study guide or an idea of what your final will look like. Use that!


You can start making flashcards for vocab. That’s something you can do with Mariah Carey belting out “All I Want for Christmas…is an A!” and it’s been proven that listening to music while studying can improve your performance on the test!


You should make a detailed outline with flow charts, timelines and pretty colors. This will refresh your memory of the topics and provide a beautiful study guide you can use once finals week arrives.


Grab your old tests or practice tests, and retake them, checking your answers as you go. This will help you decide where you need to allocate the most time for studying, and where you can skim a bit because you already have a good handle on the material.


DO NOT simply run your eyes over every single chapter in the book, or every single page of notes you’ve written. This is a waste of your time. Rereading is a passive activity, plus it is much too general. With so much material to cover, you are better off zeroing in on what’s important (hint: what’s on the study guide or what was on old tests).
Have fun over break, but spending the entire two weeks binge-watching Parks and Rec for the 3rd time will come back to haunt you when finals week arrives! Put in a few hours over break and I promise you’ll thank yourself later!


The Big SAT Benefits of Simply Reading

March 2nd, 2011

It amazes me how many students I talk to these days who admit to not reading regularly or skimming their assigned reading. It’s a lot!! The shame is that these same kids complain how many vocabulary words they need to know for the SAT’s, and how many flashcards they need to make. Making flashcards is a very effective way to increase your vocab, but it’s not the best. Simple regular reading is by far the most effective way for anyone to build their vocabulary.
Reading exposes us to many words we don’t commonly use in everyday life, many of which end up being used in the SAT’s. Sometimes we look up the definition of these new words, other times we are able to grasp the meaning on our own; either way we increase our vocabulary. Not only are we just exposed to new words while reading, we see get to see them in context. Personally, it’s much easier to remember what a word means by seeing used in a sentence, compared to memorizing dictionary definitions.
I tell every student I see to try and read at least 20 minutes a day. Whether it is the newest Harry Potter, sports magazine, newspaper, or internet article, the simple act of reading goes a long way in preparing for the SAT’s.