Hi there, class of 2021! You may have seen the “Tips for Freshmen” article in the last East Side News issue and thought “hmm, what tips are there for sophomores?” Even if you weren’t thinking that, here are seven tips to help you during the upcoming year.
- Know what to prioritize: As sophomores, you may have started to take AP classes. These courses are designed to challenge your ability as students. With an increased workload and significantly more time needed to study, it may become hard to know what to prioritize. “If I study for tomorrow’s AP bio test for two more hours, that means that I have two less hours to practice for tomorrow’s seating audition.” You will later learn that such decisions show opportunity cost (shout out to my AP macroeconomics teacher). Knowing what to prioritize will be essential to your success as a student.
- Set attainable goals for yourself: Like every New Year’s resolution made, you may have a tendency to set unreasonable goals for yourself. “I will have a 110 GPA this marking period and be captain of the varsity ping pong team and get a harp solo for Winterfest” is just impossible to achieve. Instead, set goals that will push yourself just a bit every marking period. “I will raise my GPA by half a point each marking period” or “I will write at least three articles for Newspaper club each marking period” (wink wink) are goals that will push yourself to perform at the best of your ability. Steady progress is important to achieve, especially as a high school student.
- Start thinking about standardized tests: Some sophomores will be eligible to take the PSAT and the Pre ACT this year. This will give you a glimpse into which test format you may like better. Nuances between test formats could be important in determining the results of your test scores. For example, the ACT has grammar, math, reading comprehension, and science sections, while the SAT has writing, language, and two math sections. Even if you think that it is too early to start taking these practice tests, at least be fairly familiar with which test you prefer over the other.
- Take notes during class: Don’t daydream too much. What your teacher has to say during class is important. Topics discussed may be on a future test or quiz, and they may even show up on the final exam. Take some notes during class to help remind yourself of certain topics that were covered.
- Go to gym class, and be prepared: It genuinely baffles me to see kids sitting on the floor during gym, wasting a whole class period because they did not bring sneakers. Gym should be an easy grade. Show up, be prepared, shoot a basket or something, and class is over. Missed or unprepared gym classes can add up quickly. It may become an inconvenience to make up five missed gym classes before the unit is over.
- Get some sleep: As a sophomore, I got less sleep than when I was a freshman. At some point throughout the year, you may say to yourself “It’s already 1:15 am. It is worth it to study for the global test for another 30 minutes?” Studying for the global test for an extra 30 minutes to score a point or two higher will not have a significant impact on your GPA. Also, you don’t have class rank to worry about. Studies show that teenagers need around eight to nine hours of sleep a night. It is important to get enough sleep to have energy for the next day.
- Manage your stress: It may be stressful to be on a sports team, play an instrument, be involved in clubs, and take four AP’s. Have a way of dealing with your stress. Whether it be going out for a run or watching Chopped with your dog, have a way of taking an occasional break.
I hope you found some of these tips helpful. Good luck to the all of the sophomores here, and may the force be with you.