Jul 26

Grade 9&10 Fundamentals: Why Getting a Head Start Matters

by Trent Baumbach

Everything You Need to Know About Academic Advising

Grade 9&10 Fundamentals: Why Getting a Head Start Matters


After the excitement of middle school graduation comes a significant educational transition – entering high school. Yet according to the U.S. National Education Association, a mere 25% of students feel prepared for high school, highlighting the challenges many students face at this pivotal time.

This transition can be particularly poignant for international school students, who study in intensely competitive academic environments with diverse student bodies of ambitious individuals often aiming to study at top schools abroad. Upon entering high school, heightened academic demands come alongside an expanding sphere of personal responsibilities.

How can students ease this transition into their freshman year of high school? Consider getting a head start during the summer.

Do you want to improve your chances of getting into a top-tier university? Schedule your consultation with Tokyo Academics today!

What are the advantages of using summer for academic preparation?

RAND Education and Labor research shows students who engage in summer learning can outperform their peers by up to 20% in mathematics and 25% in reading by the start of the next school year. See below for 5 advantages of using the summer to prepare for high school.

  1. Reducing Academic Shock: A Harvard Graduate School of Education study showed that 60% of students experience a drop in grades during their first year of high school. Utilizing the summer to familiarize themselves with the new academic landscape and increased homework load can mitigate this academic shock and keep students on the right track.
  2. Building Foundation Knowledge: A study by the Education Endowment Foundation found that students with a solid foundation in core academic subjects were 30% more likely to perform well in high school. Summer offers an excellent opportunity to solidify this foundation.
  3. Developing Study Habits: High school demands more advanced study skills. The Journal of Educational Psychology found that students who exhibit effective study habits are 50% more likely to score higher than those who do not. Summer provides an opportune time to hone these habits. 
  4. Exploring Interests: According to the American Psychological Association, students with well-developed interests were 2.5 times more likely to pursue related academic and career paths. The summer period allows students to delve deeper into areas of curiosity and passion, which can serve as motivation for their studies.
  5. Increasing Free Time During School Year: A Journal of Youth and Adolescence study found that students who balanced academic work with leisure activities experienced 20% lower stress levels. By preparing academically during the summer, students can create more free time during the school year for extracurricular activities, socializing, or pursuing personal interests.

What are the best ways to academically prepare for high school during summer?

Even if middle school graduates know they should use the summer to prepare for the challenges and opportunities of high school, it can be hard to know what methods are worth the time investment. The activities below cater to varied learning styles and interests while fostering both academic growth and personal development needed to transition into high school.

  1. Subject-specific Study: A study by the Education Endowment Foundation showed that students who invested time in subject-specific study outside of school were 15% more likely to perform better in these subjects. Through working with a private tutor, participating in group classes, or using free online resources, students can get ahead in core subjects like math, science, languages, or humanities.
  2. Reading Lists: Research from the National Endowment for the Arts found that students who read more extensively were up to 20% more likely to perform well in language and literature classes. Students can independently read novels commonly part of grade 9 curriculum, or participate in group classes that analyze these novels in depth.
  3. Online Courses: Websites like Khan Academy and Coursera offer a wide range of subjects to explore. A Massachusetts Institute of Technology study found that students who completed online courses saw a 23% improvement in their academic knowledge. Online courses or online tutoring offer students the flexibility to learn on their schedule.
  4. Preparing for Standardized Tests: Students often take standardized tests like the new Digital SAT® to demonstrate their academic preparedness for university applications. While these exams are most relevant for juniors and seniors, a College Board study reported that students who started early preparation were 55% more likely to achieve high scores.
  5. Explore Interests: A study in the Journal of Vocational Behavior found that early exploration of interests could lead to a 50% higher likelihood of satisfaction in future career paths. Summer provides the opportunity to take courses aligned with your interests and delve deeper into subjects you’re passionate about.

What should I do next to prepare my child for high school?

By utilizing the summer to prepare for the academic demands of high school, students can provide themselves with a head start that will serve them well throughout their high school journey. This approach reduces stress, enhances academic understanding, fosters growth, and cultivates confidence. As educators, parents, and students navigate the high school transition, summer preparation stands out as a valuable and effective tool for success.

Tokyo Academics offers one-on-one tutoring and group classes ideal for international school students to prepare for the upcoming school year and get homework help. Please click the link below to meet our experienced tutors who can help your child reach their academic goals!

SAT® is a trademark owned by the College Board, which is not affiliated with, and does not endorse Tokyo Academics.

Join the best summer school program in Japan! Our 2024 Summer Classes are specially designed to help students excel in the fall. Explore over 200 classes tailored for grades 3-12 and make your summer count.

Enroll today and transform your academic journey!