When it comes time to study for a test, your memory needs to be as sharp as possible. That means doing all you can to absorb information so that you can recall it easily the day of the exam. Use these simple tricks during your next study session to boost retention and improve performance.
Write Things Down
Instead of just going over your textbooks or notes, try writing down the facts that you need to know for your test. Doing this can help you remember by forcing you to slow down and pay attention to everything you write. Using different colors for different subjects separates the information in your mind as you work. If you write your notes on cards, you’ll have a handy study tool that can be used to refresh your memory before the test.
Have a Cup of Coffee
Although there’s not a great deal of scientific research to support it, some existing evidence seems to suggest that ingesting caffeine after learning new information can help with retention. If you’re studying at such a time that you can get away with having a little coffee after closing the books, it can’t hurt to give this one a try. However, avoid excessive caffeine consumption, or you’ll wind up too high strung to study more later on.
Engaging in light exercise such as going for a walk before you study or take a test has the power to help you retain and recall new information. It’s also important to keep up with a regular exercise regimen the rest of the time. One study showed that exercising may actually increase the size of your hippocampus, the part of the brain that plays a big role in memory creation.
Be a Teacher
Teaching what you’ve learned to someone else means having to recall it correctly and convey it in a way that makes sense. If you can help someone else understand a subject that they don’t know anything about, chances are you have a solid grasp of it yourself. Anything that you stumble over during your impromptu lesson can be reviewed before the day of the test.
Take a Nap
Every time you sleep, your brain takes all the information you’ve learned and consolidates it into memories. Structure your study schedule so that you can either take a nap or get a full night’s sleep right after each session. It may seem like all you’re doing is resting, but your brain is actually assimilating everything you just learned. Make sure you sleep well the day of the test, too, so that you can concentrate and do your best.
In addition to using these tactics to improve your memory around test time, regularly playing memory games like those described in this article from NeuroNation can keep your brain healthy. A little exercise for your brain every day pays off in better memory retention and recall in all other areas of life.