Keep Your Mind Sharp Over Summer

Summer is here which, if you are in between studies or in the middle of a course, means time to relax! Hanging out with friends or family, watching rubbish day-time TV, and generally doing as little as possible may be part of your plan, or you might have arranged a more eventful schedule for the next few weeks. Chances are, unless you have been set some study to do over the summer, the last thing you are probably thinking about right now is your school or college work. However, you might want to try to maintain some mental sharpness over the summer so that when you return to your study in a few weeks you can get straight back into it without taking a few days to warm up to your work again!

Research from Duke University in the U.S.A. previously found that young people lose an average of one month’s learning in subjects like maths and English over the course of the summer. However, you don’t have to lose this learning, and you can return to your studies feeling refreshed yet also ready to work.

Here are a few tips that you might want to try (and why not see if you can encourage your little brother or sister to do the same?):

  • Organise Your Notes

Before you get too far into summer, you might want to organise your notes and papers from last year. Clear out any useless scribbles or unwanted loose sheets from your college or school folders so that you can start fresh after the summer. Doing this now, while your last year of work is still fresh in your mind means that it will be easier to make sure you keep what you want and need. You might even want to go one step further and re-write or consolidate some of your notes from the last year. This will not only make them easier to read and understand later, but will serve as some early revision, making sure you remember what you were taught over the last year. This may not be as useful for those going forward from GCSE to A Levels – but if that’s the case - you might want to check out some advice for new A Level students.

  • Do Some Reading

You may be particularly conscientious or keen and want to read books relating to your studies over the summer months. This might depend on what you are studying and if you have been given a reading list by your teacher or tutors. However, even if you feel like you need a break from your course, you shouldn’t forget about reading altogether. Even if you just read some trashy novels on the beach, you will still be using your brain and keeping your mind ticking over – which is surely better than watching endless talk shows on TV?

  • Use The Media

Talking of watching TV, you can always use the media to keep you engaged with your studies too. Seek out programmes that are informative and close to your study topics, or maybe search out a podcast or two to listen to over the summer. This may help to keep you in the loop with your subjects without being as taxing as getting into a heavy textbook.

  • Take A Day Trip

Instead of just sitting on the sofa playing on the Xbox (there are other gaming consoles available), why not use some of your time to get out and see something new? For example, why not go to a museum (many of them are free) and see what there is there. Finding different ways to stimulate your mind is good as they help anchor the information in your brain.

  • Plan Your Next Move

You could use some time this summer to start thinking about what you want to do next, whether that is going to university or taking an apprenticeship, for example. Look around for some inspiration (we even have some ideas to inspire your career choice right here on NotGoingtoUni), or research the possibilities that are available to you.

  • Get A Job

Finding a job over the summer won’t just help your bank balance, but it could also help keep your mind ticking over. Meeting new people, learning new skills, and staying focused on your job will all help you stop you vegetating over the summer. There are plenty of good reasons to get a summer job – from money to socialising and learning skills.

  • Get Some Exercise

It is not just about exercising your grey matter that matters over the summer. You should also make sure to stay active and get some exercise. Go for a walk, ride your bike, play a sport, or walk your neighbour’s dog for them. Whatever it is you do, staying physically active has been shown to have a positive effect on your academic achievement and concentration. Not only that, but it is good for your health too – why not enjoy the good weather (fingers crossed), and get outside too?

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