The Secret to Success at School: Holiday Study
At A Team Tuition we’ve noticed the portion of our clientele who tend to succeed academically are the students who don’t stop working just because schools out. I know, I can hear the groans and see the eyerolls already, nobody wants to work during their holidays, but the kicker is: a little work makes a LOT of difference.
We also noticed that there were quite a few misconceptions about what these students do during the holidays and what benefits you can achieve.
A lot of students miss out on this hidden opportunity and opt to spend their holidays playing video games, sleeping until 2pm and becoming engrossed in their digital devices almost 24/7.
While holidays were undoubtedly created to have a break from the hustle and bustle of the typical schooling week, with countless hours to fill in between Netflix binging and games of Fortnite, opting to give your thumbs a break from scrolling on Instagram and doing two hours of study on most days has more benefits than not.
Yes, that’s all, you don’t have to study eight hours a day every day, but research does show that students who have extended periods of relaxation show a dip in their academic abilities.
Frequently, we hear students say “I’ll just wait until school goes back to catch-up” in their response to holiday sessions. This mentality is comparable to brainstorming New Year’s Resolutions…only 8% of people follow through. It also places a significant amount of stress on a student.
They are already at school for eight hours a day learning new content, so if they are missing key knowledge required to understand this new information, they now must do double the work. I don’t know many people who thrive off working 16 hours a day!
Or they just don't do it and we all know what happens there.
Below we have outlined how and why we develop our superstars throughout the holidays!
Teacher’s plan the academic year in advance and most students will be aware of the topics that they will be covering throughout the year. At the end of the term, while one topic may be finished, another one will have just started.
Holiday sessions are the perfect opportunity for students to dive into these new topics and have a developed understanding prior to the commencement of the next term.
If you know you are starting trigonometry the following term, start learning how to use sine, cos and tan in the break!
Is Shakespeare your next English unit? Start wrapping your head around the Elizabethan Era and the old English language prior to the first week of term.
Being one step ahead of your peers allows you to have a head start on your assessments and have the advantage of a deeper understanding of content. This means that class time becomes revision and students can focus on widening their understanding. It is often this understanding that gets students an ‘A’ grade as they can now apply this information accurately in a broad range of contexts.
Catch-Up on Missed Content
If you have had a rocky start to the year, have missed a few days of school, or simply couldn’t wrap your head around something, holiday sessions provide the opportunity to catch up on content that you may have missed without the overarching stress of assessment.
For senior students, in particular, catching up on missed content is imperative in order to understand different units. Maths units, for example, are all interlinked and build upon one another. Thus, students need to understand basic algebra and calculus in order to understand integration and derivatives.
Even if you may not have missed any content but are simply struggling to grasp the fundamentals of say, poetry analysis, utilising holiday sessions to solidify your understanding can only be considered beneficial in the long term.
Using topics of interest to our students, allows them to stay engaged during the holidays, whilst learning these valuable skills. It also allows for better recall as it is of direct interest to the student, rather than something they have ‘had’ to learn for school.
Introduce New Skills That Couldn’t be Integrated into In-Term Sessions
Most of the time, tutoring sessions during the term consist of keeping students up to speed with their current school work with minimal time dedicated to the introduction of new topics or new skills.
Current school work is obviously the priority and guiding students through class content is paramount.
This then yields the question when is the best time to introduce new skills to students? It’s difficult to teach students the importance of time management in Week 8 when they’re struggling to salvage an assignment due in the next 24 hours just as it’s difficult to teach a student goal setting the day before their final exam.
Our specialised program, the Creating A Students (CAS) program, provides students with a step by step guide through the features that form ‘A’ standard students from assignment strategy to managing burnout and stress.
Holiday sessions allow for the development of these skills by focusing entirely on the skills that a student needs to develop in order to succeed academically for the rest of the year.
Develop Language and Literary Skills
Language is a central component of any subject that you may take at school. Without appropriate language, we are unable to communicate with one another or comprehend a particular subject matter. Developing language skills over the holiday period can assist students with their writing, reading, and spoken abilities.
These are particularly important for students studying English, which in Queensland, is every senior student wishing to get an OP/ATAR!
Language skills cover things like vocabulary, grammar, and reading comprehension are required for every single assessment piece but are rarely touched on once they have been introduced.
This also goes for literary devices such as similes, metaphors, and personification as the ability to recognise and understand these features will form the large majority of English assessments.
For students wishing to challenge themselves, holidays are the ideal time to pick up or practice a new language. Whether you want to learn French for your next holiday or Mandarin to boost your job prospects, the best time to learn is in the absence of prior commitments because learning a new language can be a tough gig!
Career Advice and Direction
For senior school students, squeezing career development time into peak assessment periods can be quite difficult and figuring out what you want to do with your life when you have an EEI looming might cloud your vision.
We often spend time during the holiday break assisting senior students with resume writing, job applications, interviews, and real-life projects.
Most of our Academic Personal Trainers are currently studying or have completed tertiary education and Students can use their APT as a resource to assist them in deciding the direction they’d like to steer their life in.
For those wishing to study at university, many scholarships, bursaries, and applications close a lot earlier than students think. Having someone experienced to help students stay on track of their applications means that opportunities that would have been missed have now been taken advantage of!
Ensuring that students are studying the required prerequisites for their degree of choice means students can help secure their entry and hit the ground running at university.
Time to Re-Evaluate
Sometimes, students might not perform to the best of their ability during the term and that’s okay. What we emphasise as a tutoring company is that failure is a necessary component of inner development and identifying your mistakes teaches you what not to do.
However, knowing what not to do requires reflection and the best time to reflect on your mistakes is when you have a clear head. Holiday sessions provide the perfect ‘Zen’ environment where you are able to effectively evaluate and contemplate what you did well last term, and what you didn’t.
Allocating a debrief session at the end of the term to reflect on previous assessment, teacher’s comments, homework, and participation in class and tutoring will allow you to identify factors that reduced your work efficiency and inhibited you from achieving the desired goal.
Reflecting on the previous term will allow for the re-evaluate of new goals that are more achievable and individualised to what works for you.
Establishing a proactive perspective is an incredibly powerful skill to develop, not only as a student but for all areas of life. Being able to take control of a situation by choosing to assess what happened and the lessons to be learned, allows you to prevent or improve the situation dramatically!
Most importantly being proactive means that you aren't simply just reacting to events happening around you, which creates anxiety and feeling that you have little control over the outcomes in your life.
So there it is, spending a couple of hours a week during school holidays on targeted activities has an exponentially positive effect on our students. Contrary to popular belief, these students are more relaxed than those who slept for 90% of their holidays and start each term refreshed and determined. After all, it is always the little things that have the biggest impact!