To breathe the name
Of your saviour
In your hour of need
- Carnival of Rust, Poets of The Fall
So who can be your saviour when you are trying hard to bring to your mind something that you have read this morning, but your brain seems to remember the lyrics of a random song? Memory hacks can help you to remember things about which your brains are simply not interested. You can adopt tricks to train your brain to recall every paragraph of a 5-page long answers right when you need to put it down on a paper. Training your mind isn't rocket science, anyone can coach his/her brain to absorb details more quickly and recollect every bit of memories without facing any issue.
Exam anxiety always creeps in when you enter the examination hall. You try your level best to keep your head in the right place, but every time you attempt to do this, memory hacks backfire especially when you get anxious. Even if you are completely prepared to take the exam and you have geared up for months, on the big day your mind seems to start betraying. Expert educationist David Williams says, “More than 75% students in UK suffer from exam-related anxiety because many times when one sit to take exams with a brain packed with quotes, definitions and references, they don’t organise these thoughts in their mind and because of that they lose track while recollecting these memories. Our brain never deceive us, it is us who don’t know how to communicate with it effectively.”
Every one of us knows a person who always arrives to win over an exam with endless quotes, referenced and dates packed in their brains. And we envy them as we think we aren’t capable of doing what they are doing with ease. We think they are some prodigies who are born with the ability to absorb everything they read. They seem to be expert at memorizing the whole lot without facing any issue. But what if we tell you that anybody can do this? Yeah, you heard it right you too can improve your memory and can remember tiny details without being too hard on yourself.
So, if you are someone who can barely recall the author of any piece of literature or can't remember physics equation, but you want to score more, then follow these life altering memory hacks to remember more on your exam days.
Make your mind ready for the big day
Before you start to train your mind for taking a highly important exam, you need to make your brain ready for the training. Warm up session is mandatory when it comes to starting rigorous work out.
- Chocolate can save the day
A chocolate lover? Then this might feel like Christmas to you.
Studies reveal that adding a small amount of chocolate to your breakfast can make things a lot brighter for days to come. If you are going to take an exam and want to boost up your attention span instantly, then chocolate can come to your rescue.
In a research conducted by Syracuse University, it has been proven that consumption of chocolate noticeably increases visual-special memory and organisational skill, working memory, scanning and tracking abilities of our brain. In addition to these facets, chocolate instantly gives you mood lift, which is definitely an added advantage on an exam day.
In a nutshell, a cognitive score for people who include chocolate once a week in their diet are substantially higher compared to those who don't. So here you go, carry a chocolate bar or two to enhance your focus instantly and give your brain a surge of Oxytocin to make your exam day brighter instantly.
- Eat for your brain
It is too obvious to mention that healthy eating can help us in several of ways. Healthy eating even helps you with enhancing and improving the memory. You need to learn techniques of how to make your brain more productive. Your brain too like a car needs fuel to perform at its best. Studies have revealed that complex carbohydrate gives the best and longest boost to mental energy. If you take up simple carbohydrate, it can provide you with a temporary boost, but this instant boosted memory can follow by a crash, not something which you want to happen halfway through your exam.
Food to consider eating during your revision and pre-exam period
Omega 3s – Studies suggest that omega 3s is excellent to improve and maintain focus. Sources of Omega 3 include walnut, fish, broccoli and beans.
Vegetables and fruits - Different Vegetables and fruits are full of antioxidant which plays crucial roles in improving your memory. Getting five days before your exam to follow a healthy diet will improve your attention span instantly. By following a healthy diet, you will be able to retain information correctly which you are revising while preparing for your exam.
While it may not seem right that eating have any direct effect on how do you remember things. But believe us when we say, the correct diet can build up a foundation on which you can rely on while revising your lessons. Following a proper diet will make it easier for you to concentrate for a longer period. Will you take a pen running out of ink to an exam? Then why would you take a brain running out of fuel? Eat right and give your best while writing your exam.
Techniques to adopt to enhance the power of your mind
Now when your food habit is on the right track, you can start practicing mind-exercises.
- Stoll around the perk before you enter the exam hall
You might be thinking that exercise is an activity that is entirely unrelated to memory. But it’s not true; a study conducted by Dr Chuck Hillman of the University Of Illinois reveals that about 20 minutes of light exercise can boost up memory instantly. According to experts, it happens because exercises help students to shift their mind from the restless thought of exam and increase blood circulation which undoubtedly help our mind to concentrate easily.
Other than this, The Pain Management and Injury Relief Medical Centre stated that exercise is a crucial contributor to make our brains healthier which results in more active memory. Exercise stimulates the hippocampus, which also known as the memory-centre of the brain. If you for a little jogging/ swimming before taking an exam, you will be able to remember more actively as light exercises supply more oxygen to your brain which increases hippocampal volume.
As you take in more oxygen, exercise helps you to de-stress as well. It can calm you down and allow you to be more attentive. So before you are trying to make something into your long-term memory, exercise can be beneficial for you.
- Mind Palace Technique
Do you know you can develop perfect memory with Mind palace technique?
Have you been following Sherlock TV series? If you are, then you remember the famous quote of Sherlock at ‘The Hound of the Baskerville’- ‘Get out. I need to go to my mind palace.'…well when Sherlock rely on this little mind game this much, then you can always depend on it when the right time comes! And let us assure you, if you do it right it never go wrong.
The Memory palace, mind game has been used since ancient Rome and is responsible for some incredible memory feats. It is fun to learn and easy to adopt. For instance, Dominic O’Brien, eight-time world memory champion was able to memorize 2808 cards sequentially, viewing each card only once. People who depend on Mind palace technique to improve their memory successfully have got their names in countless trivia. Even in fiction, you will get several references to this method. Like in Thomas Harris’s Novel Hannibal, a psychopathic serial killer use memory palace technique to store vivid memory of all his patients and remember every detail about each of them.
The memory palace technique will only work if we are good at remembering place which is quite familiar to us. A mind place is used as a metaphor to indicate a well known place that you will easily be able to visualize. It can be anything from your home to your way to the college/ university and even the dog park or the café downstairs.
- The technique
The effectiveness of this technique relies on how well you can mentally see and walk around a place. You should have the ability to be there using only your mind's eye. Everything should happen inside your head. Think of a specific route to your favourite place, not just the static scene. Once you enter the place, which is your mind palace now, try to think of the first distinctive feature about the place. For instance, if your house is your mind palace, then probably your cat sitting on the doormat is the first unique feature that you need to remember about the place.
- Places that can be your mind palace
Other than your home, these usual sites can be your mind palace
- Familiar Street in your city
- Former or current school or college; hallways are good options to be one’s mind palace
- Place where you spent most time of your day like library, nearby café, coffee shop or the local food joint
- Scenery of the dog park or the jogger’s park which you visit on regular basis
Now once you have set your mind to a place now, you need to analyze the room or the place methodically. Define what features catch your attention; it can be something as simple as the central table in the dining room, or an abstract art sculptor on the wall. But preferably features should not be regular ones. Absurdity will stay on your mind for long. You will get detailed description about it later on.
As you start analysing your mind palace, you need to continue making mental notes of all distinctive features as you go. Each of these discrete elements will be your memory slot that you will later use to store every single bit of information.
For this technique to work, the most important thing is to have the place 100% imprinted on your mind. Do whatever is necessary to take all in and to systematically imprint all features in your memory. If you are good with visual memory then probably this segmentation of memory slot won't be a problem for you, but in case you are finding it hard, then you can take a walk around the place physically which you have decided to make your mind palace. By doing this, you will be able to locate all distinctive features.
- Here are some tips to get you started:
While physically walk along the route, you need to perform these steps to be able to have clear vision about the place later on.
- Write down the particular features on a piece of papers, as you mentally walk through them for the first time. Then visit the place and check whether you can accurately remember them.
- Be aware that visualization is just a skill, so if you are still having trouble with this, you may need to develop your visualization skill first.
- Practice it, when for the first time you have completed your tour of the mind palace without facing any issue, practice it repeatedly so that the technique becomes easier to perform. It is really crucial to over learn your way to your memory palace.
When you finally become the master of remembering your palace like the back of your hand, it is time to put it to some good use, which is to use in it remembering things.
- Why do memory slots need to be absurd and not regular?
Like the most memory enhancement technique, you need to use visual association while performing the memory palace technique. Now the process is simple, you mentally think about a known image which is called memory peg and then name it or combine it with the idea, number, element which you want to memorize. For us, each memory peg is a distinctive feature of our memory palace.
Each memory peg should have distinct features so that it becomes easier for you to remember about it. Always be sure about one aspect that without having distinctive feature nothing can actually be in your mind palace.
- So the right way of doing visual association is
Take something which is unusual and crazy, something which is not standard or regular. For instance, if you imagine that your dog is resting on the couch, then there is nothing unusual about it. Probably your mind palace technique fails by not helping you with remembering things because you have failed to imagine something weird happening around in your mind palace. Now if you imagine that your dog is resting on the piano then there is something animated and nonsensical about it which tricks your brain into recognizing the element rightly which you are attached to this particular scene. While creating your mind palace, make it so unique that it could never happen in real life. Just remember this simple rule, not to make it boring or usual.
After combining things that you need to remember with these features, now you to so little rehearsal, you need to repeat the journey multiple times in your mind before you become a Mind Palace Wizard. Once you are confident with this new learnt technique, rely on it blindly.
- Give yourself some treat
In order to control your mind, you can take help of this technique. To remember more on your exam day, first you need to motivate yourself to read, write and revise. Many times with the subject you hate most you face this issue; your mind gets distracted while you sit for memorising your lessons or work on an assignment. Now how to trick your and brain into liking what it dislike the most? You need to play a little game with your mind in order to do what it generally doesn't want to do.
If you feel restless after studying for say 30 minutes and want to extend your attention span, then you can set a target for your brain and on achieving the objective you can give yourself a treat and proceed by setting a different goal and giving yourself little rewards on completing those tasks as well. Now you are good to go and study for long hours without getting distracted. Don't forget to take a break in every 90 minutes and if it seems too hard, you can start with taking breaks in every 50 minutes. Practice this technique and literally bind your mind to the task which demands your undivided attention.
- Distract your mind in purpose
Many times when you sit to prepare something robust and complex, you feel that your stress level is getting higher as you proceed with the task. Now to bring down the level of anxiety you can purposefully distract your mind from one subject to some other topic which you actually like to read.
By doing this, you are allowing your brain to take a break from a tough subject by reading or working on something which requires less brain work. For instance, if you feel drained out by working on a tough assignment, you can take a break by studying or writing something slightly different.
- Technique of remember a list
The human brain is really bad at remembering lists. Think about it, when you go to the grocer, how many items you can manage to remember without writing it down? Three? Five or Six? For most of us, it's not more than five or six. That is why when we don't carry a list to the grocery store, we get back home only to find we have forgotten the milk or eggs.
Now you can take a chance with grocery shopping, but you can't do it when you are taking an exam. You can't rely on your forgetful mind to remember any list sequentially. To retain a list, you can try adopting list mapping techniques. Draw a roundtable on a piece of paper and write names around the table and take a ‘mental picture' of it. You need to recapitulate who is sitting beside whom mentally, and by doing this, it will be a child's play for you to write down a long list perfectly in order at the time of your exam.
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