Mrs. Wilson, Upper School Learning Specialist shares a few pointers on how to work through the "Third Quarter Slump," a phenomenon that occurs in schools nationwide about this time of year.
The energy and excitement of the new school year has worn off, the holiday break is over, weather is colder, and summer still seems far away. Schoolwork is starting to pile up, curriculum content might be reaching a point where most information is new, and the level of difficulty may have increased. This may result in students sometimes losing focus, neglecting their schoolwork, becoming frustrated and/or discouraged, and slipping into a temporary academic slump. Johnny Bench once said, "Slumps are easy to get into and hard to get out of." However, Hank Aaron's advice to get out of a slump was to "just keep swinging." Fortunately, there are strategies students can use to overcome the "third quarter slump" and "keep on swinging."
The key to avoiding and conquering the third quarter slump is to apply techniques that invigorate one's energy, motivation, interest, and attitude:
- Get out in the sun: wake up your brain, elevate your winter mood, and energize your body.
-Make a change: find a new place to study or try a different study routine.
-Analyze your grades: what strategies and work habits are you using in your strongest classes that you could apply to your more challenging classes?
-Identify, modify, and fix any previously used strategies that are no longer as effective as they once were.
-Develop a more positive attitude: re-frame past stumbling blocks into stepping stones and challenges to be overcome with determination.
-Find a support group: a study group, study buddy, teacher, or mentor.
-Study in short, frequent blocks, reviewing material over time: you will learn and remember more and avoid boredom and overload.
-Use active study strategies for retrieval practice: write, sketch, demonstrate, and/or explain everything you know about a concept as thoroughly as possible, then check materials for accuracy. Active study strategies are more engaging and motivating, and you will retain information with greater ease and more success.
-"Interleave": switch between ideas while studying. Devoting enough time to each topic to thoroughly understand the concept fosters flexibility of thinking, exercises retrieval practice, and produces more effective learning.
-Reward yourself: plan something to look forward to after studying and improve your mood while you are working.