Making Good Use of Your Winter Vacation


You made it!  Back in September it seems like an ETERNITY to the winter vacation, but as Macbeth says in, um, Macbeth, “Come what come may,/ Time and the hour runs through the roughest day.”  So no more school till 2009.  Party!

“But wait a second!,” says a wee small voice in the back of your head. “I’ve got two weeks with virtually (or literally) no homework and not a heck of a lot to do besides.  What if I carved out a little bit of time each day to study and practice for my ACTs and SATs coming up this spring?”

GREAT IDEA!  Listen to that voice.  It’s the side of you that knows YOU, and YOU ALONE, are ultimately responsible for the decisions and outcomes of how you spend your time.  While most juniors (and everyone else for that matter) will while away the hours and days of the vacation, getting nothing productive done, you can get way ahead of the curve with a modest investment of time and energy.

“What should I do to maximize this time?” inquires the quivering voice.  Great question, glad you asked.  Remember that standardized test prep is always a two-fold proposition: 1) you take practice tests under strict test conditions (pencil, timed, bubble sheets, etc); 2) you study the three bodies of material covered on the exams: vocab (SAT only), math (both), and grammar (both).  If you’re working with a CollegePrepExpressinstructor out of the Official SAT Study Guide, then use the Notes on the Practice Tests, which you know are downloadable from the password-protected section of our site.

We’ve been strongly promoting the use of computer flash cards (aka, virtual flash cards) the past few years. Know why?  Because THEY WORK!  Repetition and time on task are the critical criteria for success.  Those who type, or cut and paste, vocab, math facts, and grammar rules/examples into flash cards tend to LEARN THAT MATERIAL.  Be one of the winners.  If you have a Mac ;-), I recommend using iFlash, which you can get here: http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/home_learning/iflash.html If you use Windows, try one of these:  http://www.educational-software-directory.net/teacher/flash-card.

Regardless of the specifics of your study regimen–everyone has a unique learning style–CARVE OUT A LITTLE time every day.  Two weeks worth of review will add up to a LOT, and it will greatly reduce your stress when you get back to school in 2009.  Plan your work and then work your plan.  Routines and habits are quintessential, not only for standardized test prep but also for success in college and, guess what?, in life in general!

Enjoy the vacation, recharge those batteries, and inch your standardized test prep forward a little bit each day.  We’re here to help.  Schedule a few video sessions to help you stay focused and on track during the break!  Small sacrifices now make for much happier juniors (and families) for the rest of the year. 🙂


About CollegePrepExpress

The primary purpose of CollegePrepExpress, LLC is to help students get into their top secondary schools, colleges, and graduate schools and to reduce stress surrounding the entire admissions process.

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