What the future high-achieving students of 2023 have been doing in their summer holidays to ensure success

So you want to be in Australia's top 5% of students? Well, you need to be doing something outside the ordinary - here are some habits you should start over the school holidays to get ahead.

a year ago   •   5 min read

By KIS Academics
Photo by javier trueba / Unsplash

Holidays need to be treated like holidays. If you study hard all year, why should you do any work during the school holidays?  This may be the mindset many of us employ. However, by implementing some changes to your summer holidays you can ensure success for the new school year. Keep reading to find out more 😊

Break away from the ‘holiday mode’.

Have you found yourself struggling to focus and be productive after a long break of having no schoolwork? Do you find yourself feeling overwhelmed and anxious at the start of the school year? This probably means that your brain is still in holiday mode and breaking out of it often takes some time.

Moreover, with all the new and more challenging content, you may find yourself struggling to learn as effectively. However, these issues can be prevented by keeping your brain regularly active. During the school holidays, your brain may not be as engaged and active. This does not mean that you need to study all the time to keep your brain active.

An article published by Harvard Health stated that to prevent cognitive skills from waning during long periods of inactivity, embracing a new activity that forces you to think and learn can ensure good brain health.

This could be something like learning a new instrument or playing games like chess. Your brain is a muscle that needs consistent activity to function optimally. Keeping it active will make it easier for you to adapt to challenging content once school starts. If you're interested in getting some Year 12 support, browse Australia's top tutors here.

Reflect on the previous year's hurdles/problems

Reflection is perhaps the most essential tool for growth and improvement. After performing poorly in my year 11 physics exam, I felt destroyed and knew that I needed to change something to prevent this from happening in year 12. This was when I started to practice the habit of reflection.

It involves asking yourself the necessary questions like, ‘why did this happen?’ and ‘what do I need to do to prevent this from happening again’. Reflection is always important but we’re usually busy during the year and may not prioritize it.

Hence, the summer holidays are a great time to reflect on your past performances.  By being honest with yourself, you’ll have time during the break to develop a new game plan to ensure success for the next year.

Review past assessments (again)

Like reflection, reviewing every assessment from the previous year (whether it be a good or bad grade) is an effective way to ensure that you don’t leave any gaps in your knowledge and skills.

Go over that one test where you only lost ‘silly’ marks. Understand why you made that silly mistake. Was it because you didn’t read the question properly? Was it because you typed in the wrong values into your calculator?

Make a note of these things so that you’re aware during future assessments. Once again, you would typically do this right after you receive your assessment back but to ensure these corrections stay in your memory, checking it again during the summer holidays is a great way to cement it in your brain.  If you're interested in getting some Year 12 support, browse Australia's top tutors here.

If you still find some past content difficult to understand, then making that little list of skills to practice again to ensure all gaps are filled will prevent you from getting bogged down by the new, demanding content.

Read your English Texts

English seems to be the subject that drags a lot of people down. However, I strongly believe that everyone can do well in English. Poorer grades in English may be due to a lack of understanding of how to study the subject and a lack of time dedicated to it.

In saying this, students who score high marks in English can advocate for this. I understand that reading the texts during the summer can be boring when you could be enjoying your break instead, but trust me, you will thank me later when school starts! By reading your texts, you will give yourself a massive advantage over the other students.

Not only will you be lightening your workload during school, but you will also be more engaged and clearer on the ideas and themes discussed in class as you have already read the text.

In the long run, you will find your assessment much easier as you have a better grasp of the content. If you're interested in getting some Year 12 support, browse Australia's top tutors here.

FAQ Section

Is it a good idea to learn new content by yourself before school starts?

This entirely depends on your learning style. If you are someone who enjoys self-study, then doing this would probably benefit you a lot because you would be strengthening your understanding of the content. However, this isn’t necessary to do well. You can still perform just as well without going ahead of the class if you stay disciplined in your learning.

Do I need to study every day during the holiday?

Not! A holiday is called a holiday for a reason. You need to take the time to recharge and relax. Spend lots of time with your family. At the end of the day your mental health is your top priority and studying every day may lead to burnout. You don’t want to be burnt out before school starts! A few hours a week is enough.

How do I properly do reflection?

Reflection takes some practice but as mentioned, it can be a useful tool for growth and improvement. If you need an example of how to reflect, check out the University of Edinburgh’s ‘Reflection Toolkit’ page 😊

Written by KIS Academics Tutor for QCE English and Physics, Niranjana Manu Soori Pillai. Niranjana is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Clinical Science at Macquarie University in Sydney and loves to help students achieve their best potential. You can view Niranjana’s profile here and request her as a tutor.

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