In today’s overly competitive world with numerous subjects and entrance exams, it is common to get intimidated by the information overload. Haven’t there been instances when you had to manage back-to-back exams and felt that your brain could not take it any longer? So, what do you do when you feel your memory is giving way?
The good news is that there are study techniques and other ways that play a vital role in improving your memory. Here are 9 hacks that can help boost your memory –
Focus on Understanding
Your approach to studying should be about understanding concepts well rather than mugging them up. Many people resort to memorizing concepts and fail to fully understand what they are studying. Such an approach only meets the short-term goal of passing the exam but what about gaining knowledge? Isn’t that the real reason behind studying?
Don’t take studying as a chore – when you try to understand the subject matter, you will realize that there is no need to memorize or be worried about ‘forgetting’ what you have learnt. It will come very naturally to you because once you have understood the concept, it does not matter if you remember it word by word as long as you can explain it in your own words.
Read it Aloud
As per a study published in Memory, hearing yourself read out aloud registers better in your memory. Speaking aloud creates a ‘production effect’ which processes information in your memory and improves recall value. So, next time you sit down to prepare for an exam, remember to read out aloud and notice how you well you remember it.
An interesting way to boost memory is with the help of visual aids. Visual aids refer to the visual representation of information. They include photographs, posters, diagrams, flow charts and slideshows to name a few.
The scientific reason behind this is that the brain processes and retains visuals better than words which is why any information in the form of a visual tends to be better remembered.
Yes, you can incorporate this while studying too. Convert complex concepts into flow charts or diagrams and you are sure to see an improvement in memory recall.
Write it Down
If visual aids are too much work, make notes while studying – concepts will certainly register better. While you’re tempted to take your laptop out and type instead, we recommend you make notes the old-fashioned way because when you write, you internalize the information which helps boost your memory.
Train your Brain
Just like your body needs exercise to remain fit, even your brain needs exercise to remain active and sharp. Training your brain is not a one-off activity, it is something that needs to be cultivated in your lifestyle to help sharpen your memory.
Indulge in brain training games such as Sudoku, crossword puzzles, memory games or even jigsaw puzzles. These activities challenge your brain and help improve memory, concentration and attention span.
The best, foolproof brain training exercise is meditation. Regular mindful meditation does wonders to mental health and helps the brain focus better. Due to increased focus and concentration, you tend to have accurate memories.
An interesting way to ensure you are well prepared for an exam is to quiz yourself or play quiz with your friends. Quizzes are like mock exams, they compel you to remember facts and figures the way you would have to while giving the actual exam.
Doing this exercise a day prior to your exam sharpens your memory. However, don’t get perturbed by the mistakes you make because you will learn from them and eventually remember those answers better while giving the exam. So, make it a practice to quiz yourself or get quizzed by friends before exams – it’s a great way to revise.
Another effective way to revise is to teach others what you have learnt. By doing so, you are revisiting your learnings and that is getting further cemented in your memory. This engaging method kills two birds with one stone!
Having a healthy, balanced diet is very essential for improving your memory. Consume food such as salmon, tuna and other fatty fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, green leafy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and kale rich in Vitamin B and nuts such as almonds and walnuts for a healthy brain development and improved memory.
It is recommended to avoid artificial sweeteners, white sugar, junk food and aerated drinks as much as possible as they have an adverse effect on your health.
Get Sufficient Sleep
You might think pulling an all-nighter will help you ace the exam, but you are wrong. Your body needs rest and at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep to wake up refreshed the next day. While you are asleep, your brain processes all that you have learnt so do give it that sufficient time.
We aren’t just talking about the exam season. Your body requires sufficient sleep otherwise as well. A sleep-deprived person’s concentration and attention span tends to be very poor which is why for proper memory function, you need to ensure you get healthy sleep.
We understand, it can get overwhelming to absorb so much information and it is common to enter the examination hall thinking you will forget whatever you have learnt. However, at times like this, you need to avoid taking stress and be calm.
For your next exam, ensure you follow these simple hacks and you are sure to see an improvement in memory and recall.