Quarantine: An Advantage for Some

sunset field of grain 5980 scaled Summit PrepTo benefit and gain an advantage at a time of crisis might seem heartless, but there is no sense in not making the best of a difficult situation. You, your family, and the world will be better off.

It goes without saying that our hearts go out to those who are struggling from this unprecedented pandemic. But, this crisis will be temporary; don’t let it derail your long-term future. This post is about that long-lasting future, and how you can position yourself for it right now.

In 1665, London was in utter panic. The Black Plague was ravaging the city: within 18 months, almost 25% of its population (100,000 people) died. Amidst the epidemic, Trinity College in Cambridge sent students home. Isaac Newton, at the time in his early 20’s and a student there, retreated to the safety of his parents’ home. The next year, in quarantine, is now referred to as his “Year of Wonders”; during this time, he theorized the laws of motion and gravity and invented Calculus, which we use in medicine, engineering, statistics, physics, economics, etc. In so doing, he changed the course of human history.

The take-aways are obvious but still worth pointing out: Make the most of any situation. Continue to improve. Look beyond the current tragedy. Prepare for the rest of your life.

But here’s why doing so is not only beneficial but provides an enormous advantage. Your margin of advantage is greatest when you learn and work while others do not. Here are two charts that illustrate the relative advantage at different times.

Advantage gained when all working Summit Prep
Hard workers gain an advantage



gained when others are not working Summit Prep
Hard workers gain a MASSIVE advantage


But this is not just theoretical. It is backed up by data. As Malcolm Gladwell points out in Outliers, “Virtually all of the advantage that wealthy students have over poor students is the result of differences in the way privileged kids learn while they are not in school” (p.257-258).


amount learned during school year Summit Prep
The average kids of the rich and poor learn the same amount during the academic school year.


Amount learned during summer Summit Prep
The average kids of the rich gain a massive advantage from learning over the summer while their peers from poorer families do not improve at all.


cumulative amount learned 1 Summit Prep
The kids of the rich started out with 9% more knowledge. School helped both groups learn, but the kids of the rich gained no advantage. Yet, after four summers, the kids of the rich had 36% more knowledge than the kids of the poor — quadruple the initial advantage and all from learning and improving while others were not.


clear light bulb photo 2374621 scaled Summit PrepMost of the wealth-education gap is an outcome of gaining a relative advantage while others are not improving. Which makes sense: it’s hard to gain an advantage when everyone is trying.

So what is the lesson for today? Given that most students have little to no school, the same rules of gaining an advantage during summer apply to today: if you want to set yourself up for success, use this time wisely. Working, learning, and improving will help you and increase your ability to help the world.

With respect to the SAT and ACT, most of our families are using this time to do more preparation (just as they do in summer). Because the March and May SATs were canceled (and there’s no confirmation yet, as of 3/22/20, that they will be rescheduled), students went from three SATs at the end of junior year to just one in June. That June test is now three times as important if students aim to hit their score goal by then so that they do not need to prep over the whole summer for the August and October tests.

Similarly, because the April ACT was canceled, the June ACT has become twice as important if students are hoping to finish with their testing by the end of junior year and thereby not have to woman in gray long sleeve shirt reading book 3768172 scaled Summit Prepprep over summer and re-take the exam in September. As we know, performance on a given test day can vary (this post details the three factors that dictate variability in test scores on test day).  So students need to be extra prepared so that they will still do well, even if they have a bad day, a test with a bad curve, and/or a test with content that did not fit them as well as other tests. That takes extra preparation, which not everyone will do. To get extra practice in, students can take tests at home, work through books on their own, or meet with their tutor to target individual weaknesses (click here to see what a Summit Prep Skype session looks like — we get the same great results in-person and online).

Quarantine is an advantage for some — but only those who can and do choose to make it an opportunity.

architecture cobblestone country house daylight 575226 scaled Summit Prep


Margie B.
Read More
I can’t thank david for all his hard work and getting my son the score he was aiming for!! Summit prep is an unbelievable place to get your kids ready for their college prep Act and SAT courses!!! Thanks again for making this year end with a bang!!
Thomas S.
Read More
The entire experience from start to finish was excellent. The process was clearly outlined and understood. Scheduling was a breeze and our teacher come not have been more flexible.
Georgia B.
Read More
Eva was wonderful. With her help I was able to get into my top school and receive and scholarship. I loved her help and spending time studying.
Jeanine L.
Read More
We were lucky enough to be referred to David at Summit Prep! My son enjoyed working with David as he felt that he really helped him prepare for the ACT. He explained concepts covered on the test as well as the test itself. My son felt confident taking the test and did so well that he only had to take it once!
Ben H.
Read More
David helped me improve my SAT from a 1480 to a 1570 over the course of about 2 months. Each session made me feel more and more confident.
Jill B.
Read More
Eva took on an almost impossible task and seriously worked a miracle! We found out we were moving, and our son had to take the ISEE exam asap. From his practice test to the exam, his scores went up exponentially. We give her 5 enthusiastic stars!
Rachel F.
Read More
My twins have had a wonderful experience with Summit Prep preparing for the ACT. David is extremely knowledgeable and connects individually in a very relatable and helpful manner for each student. I highly recommend Summit Prep!
Janice B.
Read More
All three of my children have used Summit Prep for their test prep and, I believe, reached their full potential as a result of the outstanding guidance of David and Ryan. His ongoing support went above and beyond. Many thanks!
Kwesi A.
Read More
My son just got accepted into MIddlebury!! He could not have gotten a better tutor than Eva!!! She is the best!
Arlene S.
Read More
Summit Prep are professional, enthusiastic, encouraging and most importantly successful in helping our son achieve his goals. We would strongly recommend using David and his team and want to convey our thanks for all of their help!

Contact us for a free strategy consultation