7 Ways to Get Smarter during Summer Break ...

School might be over for another year but have you given any thought to ways to get smarter during your summer break? Yes summer is time to relax, rejuvenate and re-energize, but it’s also the perfect time to boost your brainpower. Whatever your good intentions, you just know you are going to spend hours browsing the Internet, slouching in front of the TV and plugged into your MP3 player, so just change the focus of what you’re tuning into. You can still enjoy the summer and have plenty of fun with these ways to get smarter.

1. TED Talks

The best thing about most ways to get smarter is that they’re free. That leaves your meagre student budget free for spending on fun activities in the sunshine! If you haven’t discovered TED yet, why not? Even though TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is billed as a set of global conferences, don’t let that put you off. Whatever you are interested in or curious about, there’s bound to be a TED talk on it that is informative and entertaining.

2. A Google a Day

Being able to research effectively is a must for the high-achieving student. If you want to improve and challenge your online searching skills, A Google A Day is a fun way to do so. Trust me, this is more challenging than you imagine and it drives an intense need to achieve the answer to what are some obscure but interesting questions. It’s way more fun than trying to memorize the answers on every Trivial Pursuit card and better for your brain than Candy Crush. Just go to agoogleaday.com to get started.

3. Documentaries

One of the ways to get smarter over the summer is to resist the urge to rewatch all episodes of Breaking Bad or the Harry Potter movies back to back (for the 4th time!) Switch to one of the documentary channels instead and learn something you didn’t know when you woke up this morning. Whether you choose a history channel, a natural world/animal channel or even a travel channel, you’ll find a world of fascination awaits you. You can also look on Reddit.com for suggestions and actual documentaries.

4. Ignite

If you’re still balking at the idea of educational activities when school’s out, Ignite can fuel a passion for keeping your brain in trim. Ignite is similar to TED in many ways except it is in bite-size pieces. Each presentation is a maximum of 5 minutes and consists of 20 x 15 second slides. It offers a burst of easily-assimilated knowledge or motivation that you can benefit from just by giving up 5 minutes of your precious time.

5. You Tube

Instead of looking up cute cat videos or acoustic versions of your favorite songs, go on You Tube to access its vast repository of knowledge. Search on something to you want to learn and find a video tutorial or listen to an interesting presentation. Then spend 15 minutes looking for cute cat videos.

6. Codeacademy

If you’re looking for more geeky ways to get smarter during the summer holidays, go no further than CodeAcademy.com. And actually, you don’t need to be a geek to take advantage of the great learning opportunity on this site. CodeAcademy teaches you to write computer code from the beginning. As technology advances and becomes more prevalent in everyday applications, you never know when writing code will come in useful in your future career or when you start your own business and want to build a website.

7. Livemocha

Many of us harbor a desire to learn a new language and few of us embark on the process. You might think you’ll have enough studying to do when you get back to school and you really can’t afford time to learn a new language as well. Livemocha.com makes it easy by allowing you to learn at your own pace. And if you only want to learn a few phrases for your upcoming vacation – that’s fine too. The great bonus is that Livemocha is free and there’s 35 languages to choose from.

Why not make a resolution to end the summer smarter than you started it? Knowledge is never a bad thing and it will be great to look back and know your summer wasn’t all just about getting a tan and enjoying the company of friends. Ready for a summer of fun and brain boosting?

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