In preparation for the impending exams, we have put together 10 tips intended to make this time of year a bit more bearable for University students, and help them sail through their exams.
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1. Find a designated sacred spot for studying
Organize your room and your notes. Having a place to study is scientifically proven to help condition your brain into active recall, which essentially allows you to remember what you’ve learnt.
2. Work out
At least 20 minutes of cardio can improve memory, concentration and problem solving. Taking breaks is also important. Being stressed disrupts the process of creating and storing memory. So take a break every once in awhile! It’s what the experts ordered.
3. Crank up that classical music
Classical music is proven to actually help people study. Rhythmic music actually distracts people according to research.
4. Eat Superfoods
High-carbohydrate and high-fibre foods are the best source of nutrients when studying. With the right amount of antioxidants, our brain will function properly without any fatigue or distractions. Eat healthy snacks such as celery, carrot sticks, fruit salads, yogurt and almonds. Be wary of eating too many nuts. Most nuts are unhealthy! When nuts are roasted, polyunsaturated fatty acids are transformed into harmful saturated fatty acids.
5. Minimise distractions
Get rid of your phone, do not multitask. Try temporarily placing your phone out of reach. Inform your loved ones that you will be studying so that you will not have the excuse of getting up or checking your phone every 5 minutes. Keep your volume on in case of emergencies.
6. Test yourself
If you are truly grasping what you are studying test yourself. Try explaining the topic to a friend or an imaginary audience. This will help with cognitive recall. Studies show that if you test yourself consistently, you’re more likely to retain 50% of the material than just reading over notes! Use active recall: try memorising a page from a book, close it and recite the passage you need to remember out loud. This will help place the information into long-term memory, and more likely to remember later.
7. Try out flash cards
Instead of spending hours reading notes, substitute this with flashcards aka the Leitner System. If you find it easier to remember visual cues, highlight key words and ideas in a number of colours and stick them around your room, kitchen or bathroom.
8. Mnemonic aids
If you’re an aural learner, read the notes out aloud to yourself or devise a Mnemonic aid - remember the colours of the rainbow? Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet. This also translates to Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain (ROYGBIV).
9. Doodling might be the answer
If you’ve got a kinesthetic learning style, try drawing or doodling what you are thinking. It might be easier to remember an image by associating it with the topic at hand.
10. Cramming and all-nighters do not work
Reasoning and memory are negatively affected by not getting enough sleep. Set up a routine. The University of Notre Dame has shown the best way to recall information is to sleep after learning something new.
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