Summer is here again! While you should take time this break to travel, work on your hobbies, or just relax before the next school year, you shouldn’t forsake your learning habits. The “summer slide” is a real, concerning issue—if you go three months without any reading or math practice, you could forget a lot of what you’ve learned this last school year. Keep your skills sharp by creating a summer study plan. You can review and master the material you learned this past year, get acquainted with what you’ll be learning in a few months, or (what we recommend)—both!
Piqosity offers English-Language Arts and Math online courses for grades 5-11 in addition to test prep courses, which you can use to stay on track and start your next school year on the right foot. This article covers how you can use Piqosity for both reviewing previously learned material and getting a head start on new material!
Summer Study Plan Timeline
If you’re wondering, “How do I create a study plan?”— you’re in the right place. In order to ensure that your summer practice is effective, develop a timeline for studying. Make sure to evaluate how much time you can devote to practice so that you can commit to a certain amount of practice each week. Consistency is important to be prepared for the new school year.
Some important things to consider when developing a summer study plan are:
- The subject you want to study.
- Whether you want to master previously learned subjects, get ahead on next semester’s subject, or both.
- Whether you want to prepare for standardized tests (ACT/SAT/ISEE).
- Travel/vacation plans.
- In-person summer camps and academic programs.
- Weekly obligations (work, summer school, etc.).
In order to demonstrate how to plan out your Piqosity summer practice, we’ll use the example of a rising 8th grader who just completed Pre-Algebra and wants to prepare for their upcoming Algebra I course over a 12-week break.
Take a Mini-Diagnostic Test
The very first thing to do when beginning your summer study plan is to understand your current capabilities. This can be done in Piqosity with a mini-diagnostic test (which is completely free when you sign up for an account). Of course, if you ace the diagnostic exam, you can skip the next few review steps and go straight into your upcoming course!
By taking the mini-diagnostic test, you can see what you need to master from the course you just completed before moving on to getting ahead for the next course. Every type of Piqosity test, whether it be a mini-diagnostic or a unit test, will show a comprehensive score report when you submit your answers. The score report will tell you:
- Your overall accuracy.
- Your accuracy by topic.
- Your correct and incorrect answers.
- Answer explanations for each question.
- The time you spent overall (your pace).
- The time you spent on each question.
- How many you got correct by question difficulty.
The score report presents a thorough analysis of your performance, which you can use to review the material and improve your understanding. So, after taking the mini-diagnostic test, Piqosity will show you all you need to know about your current capabilities and what you should be focusing on as you begin to review and practice the material.
Our example student who’s getting ready for Algebra I should take the Pre-Algebra Mini Diagnostic to evaluate what their strengths and weaknesses are before diving into Algebra I prep.
Weeks 1–4: Review What You’ve Already Learned
Take the first few weeks of summer to study what you still need to master from your previous course, based on the results of your mini-diagnostic exam. The diagnostic results show you where your strengths and weaknesses lie—pay particular attention to the concepts or units you struggled with while reviewing.
Again, if you aced your mini-diagnostic, feel free to skip this step and jump into prep for your next course. If you struggle with some basic concepts in the advanced course, we recommend that you take a step back and review similar lessons from your previous course to make sure you get a comprehensive understanding before moving to the next concept.
Piqosity’s courses are composed of four units, each of which comes with:
- Thorough lessons for every concept.
- Practice questions to check your understanding.
- A unit test to complete once you’ve finished reading through all the unit’s lessons.
Our software will dynamically recommend lessons based on your demonstrated weaknesses in the mini-diagnostic and in the practice quizzes you take along the way, so you’ll always be aware of which areas you need to spend more time on.
We recommend that you develop a weekly schedule for your practice study based on the time you have available and the results of your mini-diagnostic. Preparing to spend four weeks on your review course is a good starting point so that you can spend a week per unit if you see that you performed about the same across all topics. You may need more or less time to review, but you should work towards understanding all material in each unit before moving onto the next course.
Let’s use our example incoming Algebra I student to see what a sample summer study plan might look like. After taking the mini-diagnostic test, this student saw that they had no trouble with Units 1 and 2 of Piqosity’s Pre-Algebra course, had a few rough spots in Unit 3, and struggled a lot in Unit 4. Here’s how they can plan out their four weeks for review:
- Week 1:
- Take the mini diagnostic.
- Review Unit 1 followed by taking the Unit 1 exam.
- Review Unit 2 followed by taking the Unit 2 exam.
- Week 2:
- Review Unit 3, making sure to take lesson exams along the way and personalized practice quizzes as needed.
- Take the Unit 3 test.
- Review Unit 3 again if needed based on missed concepts (which will be clearly defined in the test results).
- Retake the Unit 3 exam if needed.
- Week 3:
- If they underperformed on the second Unit 3 retake, this student should take the first part of the week to review remaining missed concepts and retake the exam.
- Then, they should start on Unit 4 review and practice quizzes.
- Week 4:
- Work through Unit 4 lessons and practice quizzes.
- Take the Unit 4 test once they feel comfortable with all concepts.
- Review missed concepts and retake if necessary until they feel comfortable with all topics in the unit.
Weeks 5–12: Get Ahead for Next School Year
Once you are comfortable with all areas of your previous course, you can move onto the next course! Since this is all new material, make sure that you pace yourself and remember that it’s not the end of the world if you don’t master some concepts—you have an entire school year ahead to work on them. If you focus on getting a solid, baseline understanding of much of the course, taking it in school will be a breeze!
As with last year’s course that you reviewed, start with a mini-diagnostic exam and use its results to inform your practice as you work through the course. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t do as well as you’d like to on this diagnostic—it’d be unrealistic to expect a great score without ever having seen the material before. We recommend going through the course in order, prioritizing the topics you struggled the most with along the way. If you spend four weeks reviewing your past course, you’ll have about eight weeks left in the break at this point—considering the mini-diagnostic and that each course has four units, you’ll have just under two weeks per unit.
Our example student has completed reviewing all Pre-Algebra material, finishing the unit tests with a great score. Now they want to get ahead in high school before it starts. Here’s how they can plan out their Algebra I course for the remainder of their summer:
- Weeks 5-6:
- Take the mini-diagnostic test.
- Begin Unit 1 on Adding and Subtracting Decimals and Fractions, completing lesson exams as they go.
- Take the Unit 1 exam and aim for a passing score.
- Review and retake the unit exam until they reach their desired score.
- Weeks 7-8:
- Work through Unit 2 lessons (on Functions, Lines, and Systems of Equations).
- Take the Unit 2 exam.
- Review as needed.
- Weeks 9-10:
- Work through Unit 3 lessons (on Exponents, Radicals, Sequences, and Polynomials).
- Take the Unit 3 exam.
- Review as needed.
- Weeks 11-12:
- Work through Unit 4 lessons (on Quadratics and Other Advanced Topics).
- Take the Unit 4 exam.
- Review as needed.
Once you start school again and begin your upcoming course, use the Piqosity course to practice concurrently with your schoolwork! When you come across the topics that you struggle with in class, use Piqosity lessons and personalized practice quizzes to help you get a better understanding of the material.
Every student will have different needs when it comes to getting ahead on their upcoming classes, and Piqosity can suit them all!
Piqosity Virtual Tutor
If you don’t want to create your own study plan, good news—Piqosity can do it for you! You’ll be in good hands with Piqosity Virtual Tutor (PVT), a virtual tutor that personalizes the course outline of any Piqosity course and automatically guides students through lessons, practice, and review. To set up PVT, you simply click “start” for the course you’re interested in and enter three things:
- Your goal score (in terms of percentiles—e.g., Top 5%, Top 20%).
- Your “test date”—for summer prep, you can select a date at the end of summer.
- The amount of study sessions you aim to do per week.
When selecting your goal score, you’re choosing how well you want to perform. PVT uses this score to ensure that you’re reaching the levels you need to in every subtopic (or, lesson topic). For example, if you select Top 10% but you’re scoring below that, PVT will indicate that.
When you set up PVT to review the course you took last school year, we recommend setting the goal score to Top 5% or Top 10% to make sure you’re truly mastering the course. When you set it up for your upcoming course, however, we recommend setting the goal score to be more attainable for only a few months of studying, such as Top 70% or even Top 80%. That being said, PVT’s aim is to lead you on a personalized learning experience, so set your score to a percentile that aligns with your personal goals.
PVT uses your test date and the study sessions per week that you input in order to calculate how much time you roughly need to spend per study session in order to reach your goal score by the time summer ends. This will give you an idea of how much time you’re committing to study sessions as you work through the courses.
Once you have selected your goals and time, PVT will guide you through the lessons you should study, give you practice questions on the lesson topic, provide practice questions on topics you’ve previously studied but need more work on, and detail your current performance in a progress report.
Note: PVT 2.0 is coming out this fall! It will automatically remediate students across grade levels and tell students when to take a full-length test to check their progress—more information on this huge update to PVT is coming soon, so keep an eye out!
Stay on Track and Get Ahead with Piqosity
This summer study plan is just a starting point for you to have an understanding of what effective practice over break looks like. Your plan for Piqosity courses can be adjusted for each course or grade level, depending on your needs; alternately, simply use PVT to be guided through the practice you need!
In addition to using Piqosity courses to master previously learned material or get a head start on the fall semester for one subject, you can combine ELA and Math course prep if you want to stay sharp in both fields, or even combine an ELA or Math course with a test prep course to study for both. Whatever your summer study goals are, Piqosity is here to help you get there.
We offer full-length, online ELA and Math courses for grades 5-11 as well as full ISEE, ACT, and SAT test prep courses, each of which includes 10 practice exams, dozens of concept lessons, personalized practice software, and more.