Get Your Brain in Shape for Back to School

Quick—what’s four times nine, plus two, minus seven?  Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?  Which molecule is required for photosynthesis?

You’ve got five seconds.  Four, three, two, one.  OK, time’s up.

If you said “31,” “Thomas Jefferson,” and “chlorophyll,” congratulations.  Despite the long summer break, your brain appears to be in tip-top shape.  But if you couldn’t answer quickly enough, drew a blank, or ran screaming from the room, your grey matter may need a workout before you (or your kids) head back to school.

Here are a few tips to get your brain back into shape by the end of the summer:

Refresh your math memory. Any math class builds on what you’ve learned before, so most teachers use the first week or two to make sure you understand important concepts from last year.  Whatever math subject you took last, try a few practice problems from our free Homework Resources Library to see where you need more help.

Set aside reading time. It doesn’t have to be a textbook.  It doesn’t even have to be great literature.  For now, just get back into the habit of reading something—anything—at least once a day.  If you’re not sure where to start, try our reading recommendations.

Structure your day. Staying up late, sleeping in, and lounging around the house are what make summer vacation great.  Unfortunately, these habits don’t work as well during the school year—and stopping them overnight can be hard.  This summer, take your alarm clock out of storage a few weeks early and get used to going to sleep at a reasonable hour.  Whether you like it or not, you’ll be waking up when it’s still dark outside in just a few weeks.

Get organized. No matter how you keep track of your schoolwork, get your system up and running now.  If your teacher releases a syllabus or reading list before your first class, find yourself a copy and look it over.  This can give you a head start on the year’s assignments, but even if you don’t do your readings early, you’ll save yourself time and aggravation later by finding the materials you’ll need in class now.

How do you prepare yourself for a new school year?

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2 Responses to Get Your Brain in Shape for Back to School

  1. Laura August 30, 2010 at 3:04 PM #

    Getting back into the zone with school is always difficult for students. Great tips, Jake!

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