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