Summer academic coach

Get Back into the Flow of School Days

For many students the first weeks of school can be a big adjustment after the less structured days of summer, whether they were spent at home or on vacation. Think of this time of the year as an opportunity to establish new, positive patterns that will carry you into your future success during the school year. Here are some tips for getting back into the routine before school begins and beyond:

  • Set those alarms! Figure out when you’ll need to leave for school and work backward from there. Get up, take your shower and get dressed as if it were a school day. Then when the day comes, you will be awake and ready on time.

  • Read, Read, Read! Get the brain working while improving your vocabulary. Studies have shown that the best way to keep your brain functioning at its peak is by reading books.

  • Go to Bed Early! Once school starts you’ll need to be able to fall asleep in time to get at least the recommended seven and a half hours sleep, so train your body to fall asleep early starting NOW. Cut off screen time at least thirty minutes before you go to bed.

  • Clean Out Old School Supplies and Closets! Free up mind space by cleaning out your closets, your drawers, your backpack, and your desk. You’ll find the peace of mind it gives you is phenomenal. And you’ll have room to organize the new!

  • Eat Breakfast as Soon as You Wake Up! Whether it’s a granola bar, cereal, a piece of fruit, or eggs and toast, breakfast is still the most important meal of the day. So do your best to get something into your system right away. When you go to school you need brain power, energy, and a good attention span—all of which are fueled by your meals!

  • Get Curious! Smile, and look forward to all the new things you are going to learn at school!

Implementing these simple steps can ease the transition from lounging to learning, and help you make sure you’re ready to hop back into the school routine. Once you do, you’ll be amazed at how good you feel with what you accomplish each day, and how easy it is to embrace the challenges of your new schedule!

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CONTACT US FOR A FREE PRACTICE TEST PACKET AND DIAGNOSTIC REPORT (VIEW SAMPLE STUDENT REPORTS: ACT, SAT, SSAT, ISEE, AND HSPT)

Vint Hill Educational Services offers mock tests for the ACT and SAT. These are taken in a group setting to simulate the testing environment. For the ACT and SAT, we will review the scores to see which test the student is scoring higher on. Since all colleges and universities accept both tests, it's beneficial to know if your child is scoring higher on the ACT or SAT. Check out our ACT versus SAT comparison chart for test differences. Sometimes the difference is like night and day, and for others, it may be a hairline higher on one versus the other. The student won't know which test is better, unless the individual takes one of each. We'll use our score concordance chart in order to make a test recommendation.

2019-2020 MOCK ACT/SAT TEST DATES  

VIENNA, VA AREA:

Click here to register for a mock ACT/SAT or click on a specific test date below

ACT - 7/27/2019, 10/12/2019, 1/18/2020, 3/7/2020, 5/16/2020

SAT - 8/3/2019, 9/28/2019, 11/30/2019, 2/15/2020, 5/23/2020 

WARRENTON, VA AREA:

Click here to register for a mock ACT/SAT or click on a specific test date below.  

ACT - 7/20/2019, 9/28/2019, 11/9/2019, 1/11/2020, 3/21/2020, 5/9/2020

SAT - 7/27/2019, 9/21/2019, 11/16/2019, 1/25/2020, 3/7/2020, 5/16/2020

RICHMOND, VA AREA

Click here to register for a mock ACT/SAT or click on a specific test date below.

ACT - 7/27/2019, 10/12/2019, 1/18/2020, 3/7/2020, 5/16/2020

SAT - 8/3/2019, 9/28/2019, 11/30/2019, 2/15/2020, 5/23/2020 

CHARLOTTE, NC AREA:

Click here to register for a mock ACT/SAT or click on a specific test date below.

ACT - 7/20/2019, 9/28/2019, 11/9/2019, 1/11/2020, 3/21/2020, 5/9/2020

SAT - 7/27/2019, 9/21/2019, 11/16/2019, 1/25/2020, 3/7/2020, 5/16/2020

 

We also offer one-to-one mock testing at our offices. This consists of a full-length practice test for your child. Tests include: ACT, SAT, PSAT, SSAT, ISEEHSPT, and SAT Subject Tests. We provide the test booklet, essay booklet, answer sheet, testing timer, calculator, and pencils. 

We can send parents a practice test as well, to administer to their student in-home. We will send out a free practice test packet along with proctoring instructions. Parents must send the answer sheet back to us via email or mail. 

High School Students: 6 Ways to Get Motivated

Whether you're studying for exams, preparing for the ACT/SAT, or trying to get a few college applications done, getting motivated can be incredibly difficult. With summer vacation starting, every time you sit down to start your work, you end up daydreaming about swimming, camping, skating, and just hanging out in the sun.

So, how do you keep up with your work? How do you finish strong? Here are six things you can do to stay academically motivated:

1. Make a to-do list

The first thing you should do is make a to-do list. Just write down everything you need to get done and everything you need to do to make sure those things get done. For example, if you are trying to work up the motivation to study for an exam, your to-do list might look something like this:

Complete review packet

Re-read chapters as needed

Review past tests and quizzes

Make notecards of important material

Putting all these things under the larger umbrella of "studying" may lead you to feel overwhelmed with all the work you have to do. Making a list of smaller to-dos will help you digest your task more easily.

2. Set goals

Once you have made your to-do list, it is important to set goals. Goals remind you of what you are working toward and why. Try to set a goal for each of the following areas:

Preparation

Result

Deeper Desire

In the case of studying for an exam, your goals might look like this:

Preparation goal: Complete all items on my to-do list. Study for 1 hour every day during the two weeks leading up to the exam.

Result goal: Receive a 92% or higher on the exam. Achieve an A in the class.

Deeper desire goal: Be accepted into my desired college.

Your preparation goal should be directly related to the task you need to get motivated for. In the instance of studying for an exam, this would be the actual studying itself. So, your goal is to complete all the to-do list items and to study for 1 hour every day leading up to the exam.

Your result goal should be related to the consequences of your efforts. In this case, you are getting motivated and studying for the exam because you want to get a 92% or higher on the exam and receive an A in the class.

Lastly, the deeper desire goal should be your number one reason for being motivated. In this case, why do you want to study, and why do you want an A? The answer could be that you want to make sure you get into your top college.

If you set goals on all three of these levels, you should constantly be reminded of what you need to do and why you need to do it. With your "deeper desire" at the forefront of your mind, you should have no problem pushing through periods of discouragement.

3. Set rewards

A great way to boost your motivation is to set rewards for yourself. Tell yourself that if you study for an hour, you can watch 30 minutes of your favorite Netflix series (just don't end up binge watching it). Or if you finish three college applications during the week, you can treat yourself to something nice on the weekend.

If you need a little help with this, see if your parents will make a deal with you. That way, they are in charge of the reward and will hold you accountable for your actions.

4. Plot your progress

Sometimes it isn't the motivation to start that is the issue, but the motivation to keep going. How many times have you been midway through an assignment only to end up playing video games and having to finish it the next day?

If you want to make sure you stay motivated throughout your work, plot your progress. Being aware of how much you have done will give you a sense of accomplishment that may just be enough to push you through your work.

5. Make it fun

One of the easiest ways to get motivated is to find a way to make your work fun. It seems impossible to make filling out applications or studying for a test fun, but there are ways. For example, filling out college applications with friends makes the work go by a lot faster. Instead of dreading the work, you look forward to talking to your friends and getting their opinions. As for studying, instead of quizzing yourself, why not grab a few classmates and play trivia!

If you can find a way to enjoy your work, you won't need motivation – or, rather, your motivation will be the enjoyment you get from doing it.

One last tip...

Take a break! Remember that sometimes you don't need more motivation; you just need a little break! If you've been working for an hour or so, take twenty minutes to relax and recharge! Watch a YouTube video, get up and run around, take a weird Buzzfeed quiz, do whatever you feel like. You'll come back to your work with a new attitude and a refreshed mind.

Preparing for the New School Year

With the new school year just around the corner, it’s time to start back-to-school prep. Shopping for new school supplies and clothes helps kids to start thinking about the return to the classroom, but that’s just the beginning. There are many more ways to prep kids for school year success so they can start the new school year with a fresh and ready mind.

The habits and routines that are implemented at home right now go a long way to helping students prepare not only for back-to-school success, but for success that lasts the whole school year—much longer than new pencils or running shoes will! Wondering how to help your child get a jump start on a great school year? Here are some ideas to prep the entire household for success in the 2018-2019 school year:

HOW TO START THE SCHOOL YEAR OFF RIGHT:

REINTRODUCE BEDTIMES AND WAKE-UP TIMES
Poor sleeping habits can have an impact on student performance, so the sooner you get your child on a regular sleep schedule, the better. Starting the school year will be easier for you and your child, and will help avoid morning—and evening—rushes.

MAKE SURE CHILDREN ARE READING AND WRITING A LITTLE EVERY DAY
Reading and writing helps get children’s minds working and helps keep their brains sharp. Getting back into the habit of reading and writing a bit each day will help maintain school skills like penmanship and vocabulary so your child can start the school year strong.

LIMIT SCREEN TIME DURING AFTER-SCHOOL HOURS
During the school year, after-school hours should be reserved for homework and extra-curricular activities. Start getting into this routine in the weeks leading up to school. The sooner kids turn off the TV and turn on their minds during this timeframe, the less of a hassle homework will be during the school year.

PLAY BOARD GAMES TO CHALLENGE THE MIND
Use TV-free time to play board games with kids during what will become the homework hour. This will help kids get into the habit of doing engaging their mind during this time, so when homework starts coming home again, they already have a routine in place.

GET AN ALARM CLOCK
An alarm clock can help children develop time management and organization skills they’ll need during the school year. This will help kids take ownership of their activities and help avoid rushed mornings.

BUY A FAMILY WALL CALENDAR TO HANG IN A VISIBLE LOCATION
A wall calendar makes a great organization tool. Have kids write down their commitments like soccer, dance class, birthday parties, etc. When school starts, use the calendar to note the due dates of big projects, standardized testing dates, and vacation days.

START HAVING KIDS SELECT THEIR CLOTHES THE NIGHT BEFORE
Picking out clothes is a great way for children to develop organizational habits. Having everything picked out and ready the day before also helps cut down on school-day morning rushes and last-minute scrambles.

BEGIN TALKING ABOUT RETURNING TO SCHOOL
Start counting down the days together. Preparation can help make the transition back to class much less stressful and difficult for students. Talking about the upcoming school year can help kids manage expectations, set goals, and prepare.

TAKE A TOUR OF YOUR CHILD’S NEW SCHOOL
If your child is starting at a new school, it can be intimidating. Getting to know the way around helps lessen school-related anxiety and boost confidence. Take a tour of the new school, find out teachers’ names, the location of classrooms, and where the bathrooms are located.

REVIEW LAST YEAR’S REPORT CARD(S)
Unless problems were addressed over the summer, it’s likely they may return again this year. Remind yourself of weak areas so you can make a plan to address problem areas early on.

BUY NEW SCHOOL SUPPLIES
Being prepared with the right supplies is an important part of performing well in school. New supplies also hold a certain magic for getting kids excited about hearing the school bell ring again.

A BETTER SCHOOL YEAR BEGINS RIGHT NOW!
Learning how to have a successful school year starts with the right preparation and a positive attitude. It’s never too early to start thinking about getting back into the school-year routine—getting started now will help make the back-to-school transition easier on both you and your child.

Contact us for an end of summer tutor and get ahead before school starts!