Many of our students ask what the secrets are to successful studying and memorizing the immense amount of information we take in on a constant daily and weekly basis.
The trick is to know yourself and experimenting with what works best for you as an individual. Not every person uses the same strategy for success. So what follows are some tips for optimal memory retention. These have been tried and tested by many of our students and have proven to be the most generalized concepts – meaning that it works for the widest range of individuals.
So try them out and perhaps you might begin to realize what potential you have been hiding up until now when it comes to your memory and your mental possibilities.
1) Listen to your body
Nobody knows your body better than you do. You know when you feel tired and when you have the energy to go the extra distance.
If you have a hobby, continue with it during exams – considering it doesn’t take up too much of your time.
Rest when you’re tired – your memory is up to 62 % better when your mind is rested.
Maintain a healthy routine – get up each morning at the same time and go to bed the same time every night regardless if you’re writing an exam paper that day or not.
2) Plan your studying
Prevention is better than cure – prepare a schedule before the exam starts so that you know you have a guide set out for what to study, when to study it and how much time you need for the subject.
Schedule your time – When am I going to study, when am I going to review what I’ve learned and when am I going to relax… REMEMBER: keep a healthy balance in your routine.
The night before the exam – Use this time to review important information and to go over difficult work again, NOT FOR LEARNING NEW INFORMATION.
3) When do I rest?
As mentioned earlier, keep a healthy routine. Program your body by getting into the habit of getting up at the same time every morning and going to bed the same time every night. This will help your mind to be more alert and also assist in the relaxation of the body because it is then used to the routine / pattern.
Sleep assists memory – when you are well rested your mind releases a chemical hormone called “dopamine”. This hormone causes your mind and body to feel alert and gives you the feeling of well-being which releases your mind to focus on absorbing new information and be less concerned with survival.
4) What is the best way to study?
There is no “perfect way” or “only way” to study. People are different and diverse. Some prefer to draw up mind maps and to see what they are studying. Others are more auditory and need to hear what they are learning and therefore prefer to say what they are learning out loud. Do what works for you; it’s your future after all.
Keep things interesting – The enemy of success is boredom. When you become bored your attention wavers and your memory recall for the specific information decreases tremendously. So place info cards throughout the house. Whenever you make a cup of coffee, go to the bathroom, lie on your bed or even sitting at the TV – you should see cards with important information on it. Make the cards bright colours and the writing big and bold. BE CREATIVE!
Keep it fresh by changing things up and experimenting with different ways of memorizing information.
5) Where is the best place to study?
Ideally you should have a separate place that you have specifically dedicated to studying. This programs the mind to go into a “studying mode” when you enter the study area.
Although it’s not possible for everyone to have a separate place to study and are forced to study in their bedrooms. When this is the case, make a specific corner of the bedroom your “study corner” and for the duration of the exams only do studying in this part of your room. This will also program your mind to be more focused and go into “study mode” when you’re in this part of your room. Be sure that there are as little distractions as possible in your study area.
Wherever you study, make sure it is well-lit – if the lighting is dimmed it causes your mind to go into a state of shut down and take in less information. The brighter the light, the more alert you will be and the better your memory will be.
Breathe easy – Your study area should have enough fresh air circulating through it. Oxygen keeps you alert and awake and relaxes your body. This is the perfect state to be in for optimal memory retention. So open a window or put on a fan or air-conditioner in your study area. As simple as this might sound, it makes a huge difference.
So there you have it! A few simple steps that you can follow that will assist you in using the memory you already have more proficiently and unlocking some hidden potential that you might not have known that you possess.
Remember that it’s YOUR future. No-one else is responsible for your future other than YOU. The work you put in today will pay off tomorrow, so build your future by starting today.
You have all the resources available to you that you care to use to your advantage.
As long as you have the will to succeed, failure is not a possibility.