You can recall the book in which the protagonist goes abroad. The book has won an award too. But you cannot name it…. It has simply slipped out of your mind! Being a student, if you are considering this memory lapse as normal, you might be making a big mistake. You need to do something to counter these lapses as they can become much bigger with time. Your cognitive skills definitely need a boost.
Remember, one of the interesting things about human mind is that no one has the perfect insight on how to get the best out of it. But you can elevate it to some higher level by using certain hacks. So here are the 15 best brain-sharpening techniques to help you improve your memory under specific situations.
1. Anxiety before exams
Here comes the most frightening moment of your life. Blurry memory, feeling blank and a chill down the spine. You can remove this anxiety by following these simple steps.
It is proven fact that exercise can boost memory and brain power. A 20-minute exercise before exam hours can elevate your performance, says Dr Chuck Hillman of University of Illinois. You don’t have to engage in heavy exercise. You can take a brisk walk of 20 minutes before entering the exam hall.
No, it is not a crazy idea. You will be surprised to see the outcome if you follow this little trick. But do not try it in a crowded library or exam hall.
The best way to test your learned concepts is teach someone else what you have understood in your class. It walks you through your flaws and strengths. When you are confident about the learned ideas, you will not feel jittery about appearing in the exams. If you don’t get someone to listen to you, stuffed toys can also work for you.
2. Getting distracted from study
You forgot why you opened the freezer door. You are probably distracted or the item you wanted to remember wasn’t important enough to be registered in your brain. Study distractions are very common too, but you can remove those from your life.
There are few apps that help you to avoid distractions by blocking websites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for certain amount of time. Search on Google, you will find many of them. Install them and make your life easier.
You wonder how is it related to your memory. When your brain is working for long, it eventually starts suffering from concentration problem. Consequently, you get easily distracted from your study. So you need to take regular study breaks to help your brain absorb more information and also keep you motivated and focused on your study. Take a short break of 15- 20 minutes after 1 hour and 30 minutes of studying.
It is not a secret that meditation helps you stay focused when studying; it also helps reduce your pre-exam stress as it boosts your mental and physical health. Some effective ways to meditate is repeating a single word and mantra, staring at a candle flame, listening to a repetitive gong or counting beads on a rosary.
3. Trouble remembering words
Sometimes you feel that the word is right front of you, but you cannot remember it. When you are writing something you need to use the most appropriate words. But the tragic part is you are having trouble remembering, so try these simple hacks.
Use technology to elevate the quality of your vocabulary. You can watch educational programs or download useful dictionary apps for starters. Install tool such as Microsoft Office to improve on your daily study.
Produce effective flashcards to build your memory. Test your knowledge by writing your learned concepts, definitions and formulas on each flashcard, and check if those are correct. You can also use virtual flashcards available on the Internet.
Drawing diagrams help you visualize information that is hard to describe in words. This way, you create a visual memory in your mind which can be easily recalled during the exam hours.
4. Having limited memory strength
Our brain develops millions of neural pathways that help you memorize or remember information quickly and execute familiar tasks within minimum time limit. If you stick to traditional ways, your brain will not get proper stimulation which it requires to grow and develop. Trying something new can improve your memory strength.
Puzzles (Sudoku and Crosswords) always contribute a lot in improving your memory strength. Studies have showcased that crossword puzzles have helped people remember appropriate words.
Activities like jogging, exercise and reading improves memory functions by giving you a good work out. A report by Huffington Post has revealed that frequent brain exercise lowers mental decline by 32 percent.
The ability to make connections is not only an easier way to remember information, but it’s the fuel for creativity and intelligence. Mind maps are an easy way to connect to ideas by creating a visual overview of different connections. Like, write different ideas on one page then use different colors to join the ideas to each other.
Right kind of music leads you to become more productive by elevating your mood.
5. Difficulty understanding complex material
Remember that baffled look when the teachers introduce a new concept in class? It may seem difficult at first but the hurdles can be overcome if you follow these solutions.
Use world’s largest search engines while searching for something. Write the exact words while searching (i.e. use quotations, dashes, .com, vertical bars while conducting your search).
Not crazy at all! The idea works like this. Spray an unfamiliar scent when you are studying for the exam. This will help you ‘jog’ your memory when you spray it again in the night before exam. Chewing a strange kind of gum will help you in the same way.
Involving all the above hacks in academic life may seem tough, but if you follow these mental exercises, you will be able to create pathways to boost your cognitive abilities.
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