Your big exam is only a few days away, and the thing you need to do is not continue drowning your brain with information, but try to boost your memory before exam. With such a cramped brain, not only will your hard-earned information pour out faster, you will also have troubles recalling the ones you think you’ve remembered.
Read on for 5 tips to study well and fast!
Tips to boost your memory
Walking and memory don’t seem to have any connection: if our brain is like a muscle, then won’t brain exercises help? What does the moving of the feet having to do with volumetric changes in the brain?
The answer is blood flow: cardiovascular exercise increases the blood flow to our brain, providing more oxygen and nutrients on the way. In our brain, there is an important brain structure called the hippocampus, which is responsible for memory in the span of one year. A recent study pointed out that by walking 40 minutes a day, twice a week, a person can have up to 2% increase in the volume of the hippocampus1.
For a lot of us, walking is easy to do: you don’t need any equipment, special skills or guidance. Even more than that, walking also helps with your social circles: walking around with friends is a good way to strengthen your relationship. If you’re interested in any other cardiovascular exercise like biking, running, that helps with memorizing fast for exams too.
2. Speak out Loud
As you read information, you are using the visual pathways to form memory links. However, a lot of us tend to have gaps with visual pathways – and that’s where speaking out loud comes to help. When we speak the information out loud, we are forming auditory links with the memory pathways. These auditory links will fill in the gaps that the visual pathways left behind.
With that said, only reading out loud your entire textbook will not help you to memorize faster and longer for exams. You still have to organize the materials in your mind by categorizing, asking questions, making connections and anchoring. By doing these things, you can understand the textbook, as opposed to cramming the information in.
Reading out loud will take you longer, and might bother the people around you, but it’s worth the risk.
3. Reward Yourself
As a college student, I doubt you can say that learning is fun. However, when you were in kindergarten, every day going to school was exciting, why is that? Positive reinforcement is the key in this situation. When we were small, our teachers reward us when we do well with little things like sticking a rose on our homework. As we grow older, no such rewards exist anymore. We are even punished as we fail. Studying is no longer enjoyable, and our brain is not that eager to store and present information.
By setting up rewards when you learn, you are providing your body and brain with a good purpose, a pleasure that keeps you going. Celebrate every small victory and make sure your learning is not so dull. Some simple methods of rewarding yourself to memorize fast and easily for exams are:
– Place a gummy bear at the end of each paragraph, and eat it when you reach the end.
– Have a 30-minute nap after 90 minutes spent on studying
– Have a shopping splurge when you’ve done well with a test
– Watch an episode of your favorite series when your head is filled with the lecture.
4. Teach What You Have Learned
Did you know that you would lose 90% of the information after you’ve known it? By teaching someone else, however, you will reduce the loss rate to 10% only. As you teach or implement an information to someone, you instantly make mistake. When your brain runs into difficulty, it will learn how to correct the mistakes, thus concentrating more. Of course, when you read or listen to a lecture, your brain is still concentrating, but it only concentrates on the abstract concept – not the real information itself. By teaching what you have learned, your brain knows all the steps, and actually walk on it.
5. Eat Some Memory-Boosting Foods
Your brain actually burns a lot of calories and nutrients, especially when you need to memorize notes in one night. That’s why providing it with food that boost memory will help a lot. Foods that are high in vitamin E should be made into the priority as the nutrient helps protect neurons and nerve cells. These foods include healthy vegetable oil-based salad dressing, nuts, seeds, peanut butter and whole grain.
Dark green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, collard greens, and broccoli are also the recommended sources for vitamin E and folate. Just half a cup of cooked spinach can make up for 25% of your daily need of vitamin E.
Another nutrient that benefits the brain is DHA – an important compound for the functions of neurons. You can get this in salmon, mackerel, tuna and other fish that has healthy omega 3s fatty acids.
When your exams are coming up, you are filled with stress, anxiety and an overwhelming amount of information. By knowing how to study well for exams without forgetting, you have a better chance of succeeding in your study. We encourage you to practise simple methods like walking, teaching others, eating good food, speaking out loud and rewarding yourself.
What is your favorite food for boosting memory? Let us know in the comment!