How to wire your brain for exam success –
Here are 6 ‘brain rules’ for a healthy brain:
? Dear Sleep, I love you…
You may not know this but when you sleep your brain converts facts from short-term memory to long-term memory. Therefore it is vital to get enough sleep every night, not just during exam time. You are far more likely to recall information and remember facts if you get the recommended eight hours of sleep every, or most, nights. Of course this will also mean that when you wake up that you are not tired.
? Good food is good mood… and focus
It is even more vital to eat healthily during exams. Some brain food suggestions include oily fish, eggs, dark leafy greens, peanut butter and fresh fruit. Avoid too much sugar, coffee (caffeine) and fried foods. Eat a healthy breakfast, preferably a protein-rich breakfast. And remember, a (too) full belly makes a dull brain.
? Exercise keeps your mind healthy & active… and your spirit lifted
You might be one of those who exclaim “I never realised how long a minute is until I did some exercise!” but exercising oxygenates the brain and it releases (exam) tension. It helps you to keep calm, it helps you to mentally relax and it also helps you to study more efficiently. Doing any form of exercise gives your brain an endorphin rush which helps with solving problems or coming up with new ideas.
? Mellow doesn’t always make for a good story but it makes for a good life… and a great exam
Stay mellow, stay calm.
Make the following your mantra: Keep Calm – It’s exam time!
Or: Keep Calm – and I’ll ace my exams!
Or even: Keep Calm – and survive exams!
By staying calm and mellow you will feel far more prepared and relaxed whilst you are studying and during the exam itself.
If it appeals to you, try meditation as it has been known to lower anxiety and increase productivity.
? Use memory techniques to optimise your learning
The first memory technique is a tidy desk and organised study notes! If your study environment is organised it is easier for your brain to retrieve information.
Teach yourself memory techniques by asking a mentor or teacher and by reading up or googling.
Tried and tested techniques include:
– visualisation whereby you ‘see’ a building or a road (or something else) in your mind’s eye and then you ‘fill it up’ – bit by bit – with facts and study material. Once in the exam venue visualise again and retrieve the information.
– building memory palaces is a specific way of visualising information: click here to learn more
– mnemonics is when you ‘change’ something difficult to remember into an easier form e.g. taking the 1st letters of a string of information and creating a memorable or funny phrase that will make the information easy to recall.
– rhyming i.e. putting information into a rhyme often makes it easier to remember.
– composing a song helps those who are musically inclined to remember what they are learning.