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Last Updated On: February 16th, 2024

With spring break around the corner, many students may be wondering how best to use their time most productively. While students will of course want to relax and enjoy their well-earned rest, but spring break also provides ample time for students to catch up on missing work, prepare for tests or college admissions, or just brush up on academic skills in general. While what in particular you choose to focus on during spring break will depend on your age, grade level, and academic situation, we have a few tips and resources that can help you maximize your time.

Catching up on Schoolwork

The first and most pressing thing to work on over break is any missing work you might have. In our experience, allowing late work to pile up only exacerbates the problem, so catching up as soon as possible is important. If you are struggling in a class or don’t have as high a grade as you might like, spring break is also a time when you might ask your teacher if there are any assignments you could redo or any extra work you could complete for extra credit. As long as you’re polite about it, many teachers are open to letting students improve their grades by doing extra work. Your teacher is also a great resource if you’re looking for ways to improve your skills or understanding in a class you find difficult. Spring break could be a great time to practice your math skills, do some extra reading, or practice your French verb forms. You can, of course, practice on your own, but you should also feel free to ask for help from an older sibling, parent, or tutor.

More Resources for Developing your Skills

Your teacher is a great resource for pinpointing specific skills you can brush up on, but we also have some other great resources to point you towards in a variety of subjects. In math, a couple learning resources we recommend are Khan Academy, which has problem sets, video lessons, and drills for all sorts of math concepts, and Desmos, which is both an advanced graphing calculator and a geometry modeling platform to help you visualize and better understand concepts. If you are taking an AP class, spring break is a great time to familiarize yourself with the format of the test and potentially take some practice sections. Your official test date is only a few months away, and by March you should have covered enough of the material to be able to handle most test questions.

Using Spring Break to Get A Jump Start on Test Prep

Spring break can also be a fantastic time to prepare for standardized tests. Students have more time and can dedicate themselves more fully to their test preparations. For ACT and SAT students, spring break is also right before some important test dates. We generally recommend that ACT and SAT students take official tests in the spring of their junior year in order to give them a chance to retake the test in June or in the fall of their senior year if necessary. Taking full, timed practice tests is also an important step for any test prep program, but it can be hard for students to find the time during the school year, especially if students are taking demanding classes or are busy with extracurriculars.

Using Spring Break for the College Admissions Process

For juniors, spring break is a great time to start forming your list of colleges to apply to. That might mean scheduling some college visits, completing any work or essays recommended by your college counselor, or even speaking to an admissions consultant. While spring of your junior year might feel like an early time to begin the process, we’ve found that it is helpful to get as much of the college admissions process done as possible before the fall of your senior year, which tends to be the busiest time for most students, between final standardized tests, demanding classes (where grades count significantly for college admissions), and application deadlines. Even if you don’t feel ready to make final decisions about colleges or are unsure about what sort of school is right for you, taking the time to look at some schools and think about the process can be extremely helpful even if it only serves to help you rule out schools you didn’t like or figure out what types of schools are appealing to you.

Using the Time for your Own Interests

We know these recommendations we’ve given may not seem like much fun, or might even look like we’re suggesting more school during a break from school, or more homework on top of your existing homework, but we firmly believe that using your spring break productively, even if it’s just a small amount of time spent, will help you be more relaxed, effective, and productive during the rest of the school year. That doesn’t mean, however, that this productive time has to be structured around specific responsibilities or onerous work. If you don’t have missing work, upcoming standardized tests, or looming deadlines, spring break can be a great time to pursue the academic avenues that interest you. Maybe that means reading that book you’ve been dying to get to, or going to a museum to check out a new exhibit. Maybe you’d like to pick up a musical instrument or do some creative writing. Learning is meant to be fun, and developing your own interests, talents, and fields of knowledge outside of classwork can be crucial to developing your skills, identifying potential fields of study or careers, and making you a more well-rounded student. These hobbies and extracurricular learning opportunities may not have as immediate tangible benefits as preparing for a standardized test or catching up on a missing assignment, but they can be just as beneficial.

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