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How to Prepare for Junior Year

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     Junior year can be overwhelming with AP classes, programs, taking the SAT and ACT, and preparing for college applications the following year. Due to the packed schedule of junior year, there are some things you may need to know in order to prepare for it.

     Sign up for your SAT/ACT earlier rather than later: Juniors who plan to go to college should take the SAT/ACT at least twice, however do not wait to take it at the end of the year. Even if you plan to go to community college, it is still recommended that you take the SAT at least once. It is better to take it earlier so that you have more time to improve and so that you do not have to take it during your senior year. Juniors are also eligible to sign up for the PSAT at school, so take advantage of that opportunity. Also be sure to get your fee waiver from the counselors or CollegeBoard to cover two SATs and two ACTs. If you can, buy a prep book, or use online prep-websites whenever you have freetime to bring up your score.

     Buy your prep books early: By buying your AP prep books earlier in the school year, they sometimes cost less, and give you more time to study for your AP exam. You can try to buy a used prep book from people who took the class the year before, if you cannot spend a lot of money on your prep books. You can also sell your prep book the following year, especially if you only use pencil and highlighter.

     Pick up time management habits early: Use a calendar to plan out your week or month and keep yourself on schedule with your assignments and extracurriculars. Teachers will often give the list of assignments for a unit with the due dates for each in advanced, so try to plan accordingly and try to get ahead on your assignments when you have the chance to. If you plan in advance, you will be able to get more time to study for any tests, especially any AP exams you may have. Also, be sure to make time for your friends and family so that you have some break time.

     “Create the schedule that you want that doesn’t neglect your own personal needs, while also not disregarding your school duties,” said junior Diego Estrada, who is currently taking six AP classes.

     Do not overwhelm yourself with AP or Honors classes: When picking classes, students will sometimes take so many AP classes that they end up getting very little sleep and struggle to keep their grade up. While taking weighted classes is important for college, it is far more important to take less and get A’s or B’s in those classes. Also keep in mind that you may be signing up for programs during the year, or taking the SAT/ACT, therefore you will not have a lot of time. You can get away with taking multiple or majority of AP and honors classes, however you will need to be able to manage your time properly.

     Find a stress-relieving method: No matter what classes you take, junior year is going to cause you some stress, so it is important to find a relief method. Having a stress-relieving method will keep you from having a breakdown and will allow you to have a break from all of the work you. Just be sure that the method that you choose does not take up an excessive amount of time and that it actually works for you. For different stress-relief methods: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/16-ways-relieve-stress-anxiety#section17

     Get involved in extracurriculars: Try to at least join a club, a sport, or a program. Not only are extracurriculars important for college applications, but they also will give you something to do other than your school work. Keep in mind that if you do choose to do an extracurricular, make sure it fits into your schedule so that you are able to finish all of your work on time. Also, if you do a summer program it will keep you active during the summer and you will be able to add them to your college applications. Even if you do not actually learn things from any program you join, you will still be able to gain a new experience that may be beneficial to you. For information about different summer programs offered in San Diego:

https://blink.ucsd.edu/HR/services/support/family/child/youth.html

     “It broadened my views on different issues in the world that everyone hears about but nobody takes the time to pay attention to,” said junior Makhfira Abdullahi, who participated in the IRC summer program.

     Use your resources: The best resource that you have is your teacher. If you are seriously struggling, try to go in during lunch or after school for help or to clarify things. You can also go to seniors or anyone who took the class that you are struggling with. Past students will be able to give you tips on how to handle the class, whether it’s about the tests or the work. Also, you can go to any other friends you may have in the class, and work together on things. Try to do study groups if a test is coming up, or just go to the library after school to get your assignments done. Just be sure that you do not use study groups as an excuse to not do work or as a way to cheat. Lastly, use online resources to get a better understanding of some topics. Khan Academy can be a good resource to use, because they have videos that walk you through problems, and they even have free SAT prep. For Khan Academy: https://www.khanacademy.org/

About the Writer
Samantha Ortega, Staff Writer

“I don’t know what I’m gonna do with my life.”

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