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How to Avoid Summer Brain Drain

It is important to keep your academic curiosity and vocabulary sharp throughout the summer.

Andrea Deck, Varsity Tutors’ Contributor

July 07, 2014

How to Avoid Summer Brain Drain
Summer is finally here. But does that mean that it’s time to forget the content you learned this year? Of course not! Here are four strategies to help you avoid academic brain drain:

Read a Book that Interests You

It is important to keep your academic curiosity and vocabulary sharp throughout the summer.

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Summer reading fosters both, and it also enhances your critical reading skills. Whether you select a fiction novel by an unfamiliar author or a biography about a favorite historical figure, complete at least one book that you feel comfortable sharing with a teacher in the fall.


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Many high school students commit to internships and employment opportunities during the summer. However, ensure that you set aside time to decompress.
High school is a full-time job in and of itself—one that is exciting, stressful, and infrequently involves a break. Summer allows students to regroup and prepare for the upcoming academic term.

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Cultivate a New Interest

Summer is also a time for creativity and freedom from your usual routines. Engaging your brain in new pastimes is an excellent way to keep your brain fit. Creating something or working on a task helps your mind function efficiently. A dance class, a foray into poetry, or learning a new skill all have advantages.

Begin Required Assignments Immediately

The majority of schools assign packets and reading lists to students to assist them in retaining knowledge during the summer months. Do not delay completing them. If you wait until the week before school starts again, the processes and studying techniques you have honed to peak efficiency will have crumbled, and the packets and reading lists will take you much longer. Divide up the work during the first week of summer, and set short goals for the next several months. By the time August—and school—arrives, you will be done, and your brain will still be in prime shape! Fighting summer brain drain is all about intention. Whether you are doing crossword puzzles in the morning newspaper, or trying your hand at pottery or street hockey, if you are engaging your brain in new ways, you are encouraging retention. Remember—if you allow an ability to atrophy, it will only take you longer to do the same task in the future. Hold onto your hard-earned skills while still enjoying your summer—it is possible!

Andrea Deck is a professional GRE tutor and contributing writer for Varsity Tutors. She is a graduate student at Columbia University in the class of 2015.

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