Your memory is central to your studying; it is, after all, where all of your knowledge goes. However, the brain is often poorly understood, and a little focused brain exercise can greatly improve your memory power, allowing you to do better in your studies as well as in other areas of your life. Try these exercises to train your working memory:
Break down long items into smaller pieces.
When you’re faced with a complex piece of information, try to break it down into small portions. Your short-term memory can hold between four and seven separate things at once. By leveraging this chunking technique, you can make each item carry more useful information. An example of this is found in telephone numbers: 5551234567 is difficult to remember at a glance, but by breaking it down into several pieces, such as “555-123-4567,” you will be able to remember it long enough to write it down or store it in permanent memory.
Play games that focus on handling information quickly and correctly.
There are learning games online designed specifically to help you train your memory. Utilize several different kinds of games in order to exercise and develop various parts of the brain. Naturally, these games shouldn’t be used to put off your studying, but they are a fun way to relieve stress and train your memory at the same time. Many of these memory games are free online and have been proven to increase memory.
Provide yourself with different forms of stimulation throughout the day.
Read a book, even if just a few pages. Stimulate your sense of smell by stopping to smell the flowers. Try different foods and spend some time looking at a natural landscape. Take time for regular social interaction with others. Listen to music; although any kind of music can provide auditory stimulation, some studies suggest classical is best. By reacting to all of these stimulations, your brain will stay flexible, which aids working memory.
Keep a handle on your stress levels, using the advice from the previous chapter.
Stress is literally toxic to memory; the chemicals your body produces under stress interfere directly with the process of transferring information from short-term to long-term memory. Protect your brain by learning how to minimize the release of these stress chemicals.