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Summertime—it’s the lengthiest academic break in a traditional American education. And debate about its effect on students’ academic progress remains contentious. And for college students even semester-to-semester knowledge retention is a concern. A number of painless and possibly enjoyable exercises exist that can help you stay on your mental game from May through September, semester-to-semester.
Leverage activities you enjoy to put previously learned knowledge to use. For example, if you’re a literature major why not create a reading list for the summer, or choose an author you particularly enjoyed studying or read a selection of books from a particular genre or time period. Lighten it up and join a popular book club on your campus or in your hometown.
Business majors, why not volunteer a few hours a week assisting small business owners with start-ups and business issues. Many communities offer free services like these.
Believe it or not almost any little way you engage your mind on topics related to your major field of interest will help ensure previously learned knowledge doesn’t go to waste.
Afraid you’ll forget some critical facts, theories or concepts key to your education? Semester-to-semester or over the summer, try this quick and painless strategy:
Many study gurus swear that facts and concepts reviewed just before you go to sleep at night are quickly retained in memory. Don’t spend hours, but take a key concept or theory, review it just before you turn the lights out, and let your mind do the work while you sleep.
Another way to keep that knowledge you’ve acquired during school uppermost in your mind and quickly recalled is to remain physically active, as well. Exercise does a surprising job when it comes to lubricating your brain and mental skills. When you keep your body in good physical shape, you help to improve your memory and overall brain function. So, when it comes time to recall those facts from last year, they will come back much more easily than they would have before.
Besides physical activity in the summer, you can also get up and about in other ways. Pursue what you are interested in. If you enjoy painting, take an art class over the summer. If you want to improve your foreign language skills, take a class at the local community college during the summer months. Anything that you can do to stimulate your mind will help you retain information over the long run.
The brain is like a muscle—if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.