Everybody knows that one person who arrives to an exam with a seemingly endless bank of quotes, references and dates. Most of us think that we aren’t capable of doing that, we think that they are just lucky to be born with the ability to absorb everything they read, seemingly at will. What if we told you that anybody is capable of this? What if we told you that there are ways of improving your memory, so you can go from barely remembering the author of a study to being able to recall tiny details about a wide variety of studies, experiments and books? Read on to find the best five life hacks that will make you remember more on your exam day.
#5) Eat memory boosting foods
The literature is full of studies that have confirmed the benefits that healthy eating can have on memory. Just as a car needs fuel to operate, our brain needs fuel to perform at its best. Studies seem to suggest that complex carbohydrates provide the best, longest lasting boost to mental energy. While simple carbs can provide a temporary boost, they are often followed by a crash; not something that you want to happen halfway through an exam!
Other foods to consider eating during the revision and pre-exam periods include:
- Omega-3s – Evidence suggests that Omega-3s are excellent for improving and maintaining memory. Sources of Omega-3 include fish, walnuts, broccoli and some beans.
- Fruit and Veg – Full of antioxidants, a key ingredient to maintain and improve your memory, getting your 5 a day is a sure-fire way to improve your memory and make sure you retain the information you are revising.
While it may not seem like eating right will help you remember the date of a key study, the correct diet provides the foundations on which you can build your revision. Build your foundations correctly and you will begin to find it much easier to concentrate and revise for longer periods. You wouldn’t take a pen running out of ink to an exam, so why would you take a brain running out of fuel? Eat right and give yourself the best chance to succeed.
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Exercise is another activity which seems to be completely unrelated to memory. Despite this, the scientists at the Pain Management and Injury Relief Medical Centre have stated that exercise is a key contributor to a healthy brain and consequently, a healthy memory.
Exercise stimulates the hippocampus, also known as the memory centre in the brain. Exercise has benefits before, during or after revision, as it stimulates the development of blood vessels, gets oxygen to all parts of the brain and, as stated above, increases hippocampal volume.
Exercise can also have the benefit of calming you down, de-stressing you and allowing the information you have been revising to make its way into your long term memory. While exercise may not directly help you remember things, it’s another example of a small life change.
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#3) Apply Memory Improvement Techniques
Memory improvement techniques have been used for thousands of years, with ancient civilisations perfecting the art long ago. In Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, Joshua Foer spent a year with memory coaches applying these techniques and went on to the US Memory Championships. While you may not have a year to spend on learning these techniques, experimenting with these may help you find the one that works for you and help you to remember more.
Image source: https://www.mosaicsite.org/main/2019/12/12/moonwalking-with-einstein
#2) Apply what you have learnt
It’s been suggested that you’re 50% more likely to remember something if say it out loud than if you read it over and over. Remembering aloud can be an excellent way of consolidating your knowledge, as can teaching (even teaching a non-existent audience), writing a summary, or using the read, write and compare technique. Learning by doing is a great way in which the monotony of revision can be broken up and at the same time your memory can be improved.
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#1) Brain Training Games and Programmes
The final life hack which can improve your memory is the use of Brain Training Games and Programmes. Programs such as BrainHq have been designed and tested by a team of neuroscientists and aim to change the way you think and remember information. By keeping your brain active in a fun and rewarding way, you will find that your memory capacity will increase without even feeling like you’re working. Best used as a compliment to the more traditional techniques, rewarding yourself with a few minutes on the brain training game or program can be a very useful and fun break. Clinical studies seem to suggest that these methods improve memory capacity; meaning you can have fun while you still learn!
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