To help my students rated about 1300 to reach 1600 quickly, I created the following study plan. Hope that this will help anyone who wants to improve.
1. Tactics and Calculation
By now, everyone is pretty good at finding basic tactics. Now, we need to work on finding deeper combinations involving more steps. The book that I recommend is "The Manual of Chess Combinations 2". I expect that everyone studies 4 pages (24 positions) each week. Set up the position on a board and work through the puzzles. If you can not figure out the solution in 15 minutes, you should check the answer and figure out what you missed and why you missed it. If you still don't understand the answer after checking it, ask help from your coach.
You can choose any solid opening system and stick with it for right now. Personally I like the following GMs' openings because they all are based on 1.e4 and create open positions that are easy for you to play.
http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessplayer?pid=95916 (Hou Yifan)
http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessplayer?pid=130615 (Wei Yi)
http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessplayer?pid=12088 (Viswanathan Anand)
Your coach should go over your openings when analyzing your games, but the coach should not spend too much time on the openings until you get to 1600. Also you can learn openings on your own by reading books or watching videos.
3. Middlegame (Strategy)
Middlegame and chess strategy is the most advanced topic. This can be learned by analyzing your games. The book "The Reassess Your Chess Workbook" is what I use for my students. I use some examples from this book in the lesson and also assign some problems to study at home.
The endgame is very important, but most chess players neglect to study endgames. I think that endgame is where you need a coach the most. You can learn from the book such as Silman's Complete Endgame Course: From Beginner To Master. But with a coach, you can master the theory quickly. When I was rated 1200, I was studying endgames with my coach weekly for a year.
5. Play more games
Play as many as USCF rated OTB tournaments as possible. Do not be afraid to lose. That's the only way to get better. You may want to consider joining ICC http://www.chessclub.com/ . They have daily tournaments at 2:15 PM (on weekdays, so you can play when there is no school or over a break) and USCF quick rated 12+3 games at 5 PM Saturday . For online practice, ICC is the best server. It is important to analyze your games, especially the ones you lose.
1. New Year tournament and Party
12 players attended the New Year tournament this year. My high school chess teammate Glen and I won all four games (Here are the results). Comparing my students' ratings from this year and last year, all of them gained over 100 points. One of my students even gained 360 points, which is really great! We will focus on preparing for the state championship in March.
2. Thanks to my students for their holiday cards!
3. Rank #7 in the nation in age 16 group
Due to my busy school work, I haven't played many tournaments recently. I was a bit surprised that I was in fact ranked 7th in the nation. I will play more frequently after March.