Knowing how your brain and memory work will help you to maximize your study
time. Spend less time hitting the books for even better results. When
you feed your brain properly, get enough rest and convert information
to the best possible form for you, you’re going to be surprised
at just how much you can remember.
Feed your brain
While your brain only takes up 2% of your body weight, it consumes 20%
of your daily calorie intake. That means for your brain to work properly,
it must have the right fuel. The brain doesn’t like just any old
calories either, it runs on glucose which can be found in whole grains,
fruits and vegetables.
Without a ready supply of glucose, you won’t be able to concentrate
and you will experience memory loss. This means you will have trouble
staying focused on your text book and will have to read the same chapter
more than once if you want to remember it.
If you have too much glucose—like the kind you find in high-sugar
foods such as candy and cake—it will also negatively affect your
memory. What this means is that instead of subsisting on a diet of coffee,
soda and gummy bears while you are studying, eating healthy food will
actually help to boost your memory. That means you don’t have to
spend as much time studying and you’ll actually remember more.
Know your learning style
Each student has a learning style; some are visual learners who like pictures,
videos and mind maps while others are auditory learners who like to listen
to lectures or read aloud. You need to figure out your learning style.
It’s often a combination of two or more learning styles so get a
teacher to help you with this.
Once you know your learning style, you need to convert the information
you need to retain into a format that suits you. For example, if you are
a visual learner, convert your notes into mind maps, watch videos on the
concepts you need to master rather than reading a text book and search
online for webinars that you can watch.
When you present information in a way that suits your learning style, you
are able to understand and retain more information. Converting information
into formats that suit your learning style is something you should be
doing throughout the year so that you make studying easier.
Get enough sleep
Studies showed that students who didn’t get enough sleep were not
able to focus or retain information. The greater the sleep debt, the worse
the students performed. Dr. Avi Sadeh, a lecturer at the University of
Tel Aviv, conducted a study to find out just how much sleep deprivation
affected academic performance; “A loss of one hour of sleep is equivalent
to [the loss of] two years of cognitive maturation and development.”
What this means practically is that a sleepy eighth grader will perform
academically closer to a sixth grade level. Pulling all-nighters is just
about the worst thing you can do for your exam performance. Instead, get
enough sleep, exercise and eat healthy food when you study to ensure that
your brain is performing optimally.
Pic by Saad Faruque