Right around the time April showers turn into May flowers, much of the country starts itching to run around outside, sun ourselves, and throw off the gloom of winter. But for the students I tutor, the message is often: “Not so fast!” At the very same moment they want to skip carefreely into long spring afternoons, they need to be preparing for finals, Regents, APs, and SATs. Here are my top tips for not just surviving, but SOARING through the last weeks of the school year.
WORK BACKWARDS ON YOUR MONTHLY CALENDAR. After writing in the dates of ALL of your exams, figure out how long it will take to prepare for each one. If you’ve aced algebra but bombed biology all year long, you’ll need to study much longer for the latter than the former. Don’t just start studying for the exam on June 13th after you’ve taken the one on the 11th. Factor in how much time YOU will need based on your past performance, and then start studying in small bits NOW. Scheduling even a half-hour per day in April will pay big dividends in June.
STAY FRESH with BREAKS. Studying for four hours straight would crush even the most diligent of students. After a certain point, we need to rest our brains and move our bodies to pump necessary oxygen into it. I recommend taking a one-minute break for every five that you study. Sixth through ninth graders deserve around a five-minute break after studying for twenty-five, while tenth through twelfth graders will hopefully be able to hold focus for fifty minutes after enjoying a ten-minute rest.
SCHEDULE REWARDS. Reward yourself with a quick social media check during your break -- or plan a bigger treat, like a mani-pedi with friends, once you accomplish a larger goal. Check out this video on time management for some more tips on making the clock and calendar work for you, and this free e-book on setting your OWN goals. Tie your reward to the process – for example, studying a certain number of hours – rather than to product – like earning a certain grade.
With a little planning, you can avoid the usual craziness of early June. When you start studying regularly and in small amounts of time now, it’s possible to BOTH skip into the sunshine AND succeed on end-of-year exams.
For more year-end survival tips, sign up for my blog, “Desk to Nest,” by clicking here or at the bottom of the blog page on my website, www.crimsoncoaching.com.
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Wishing you a STRONG and SUNNY spring,
MEET DR. P
Dr. P.(Dominique Padurano, Ph.D.) is the Founder and Head Coach of Crimson Coaching LLC, a boutique tutoring, test prep, and college consulting firm based in New York City. A high honors graduate of Harvard and a former teacher at Horace Mann and Scarsdale High Schools, Dr. P. has helped hundreds of students reach their personal best. To learn more about her, visit https://www.crimsoncoaching.com/about.
To schedule a complimentary telephone consultation for your child or family’s needs, email firstname.lastname@example.org.