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I had a friend in high school who had a photographic memory. Let just say, she wasn’t exactly my favorite study buddy. She could literally look at a page and remember everything. I, however, was not so fortunate. I would look at a page and remember that I was hungry and probably should take a snack break. If you’re like me and could use a little help when it comes to studying, fear not. We’ve rounded up some study tips that are scientifically proven to help you ace that test.
1. Study when sleepy
This one just might be our favorite because, let’s be honest, we’re always sleepy when we study. Research shows that if you study right before you go to bed, your brain will strengthen your memories as you sleep (aka, the information you just learned will be solidified in your mind). How cool is that? This does mean, however, that it’s probably better to skip the Netflix and opt for studying right before you turn out the lights.
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2. Verbally call it out
Instead of just reading information and hoping you’ll retain it, read it out loud (or sing it! or recite it in a Britsh accent!). If you verbally recite the information out loud, your brain will be learning the information two ways: through seeing it and hearing it. It’s basically two for the price of one in learning terms, and we love a good BOGO deal.
3. Move around
Studies show that by moving study locations frequently, you’ll be more likely to retain the information you’re learning. When you move locations, you’re forcing your brain to make new associations with the same material, so the information becomes stronger in your memory. Cool, huh?
Yes, I know, it’s a beautiful miracle. Science says that coffee does indeed keep us alert and focused. So next time your mom asks why you’ve been to Starbucks three times in one day, tell her isn’t literally making you smarter…science totally says so.
5. Don’t stick to one subject
Just like it’s helpful to move from location to location when studying, move from subject to subject as well. By studying a bunch of different subjects in one sitting, it helps your brain be ready for anything when it’s time to sit down and take the test. For example, if you sit down and only study division, your brain will assume that’s how you’ll solve all the problems on the test, but if you cover different topics while studying, your brain will quickly be able to conquer word problems, geometry, algebra etc. without taking a long time to switch gears.
6. Treat yo self
We are allll about the “treat yo self” mentality, and thankfully, this is an effective studying trick. Knowing there’s a reward at the end of a 30 minute or full day study sesh, will get you motivated and keep you motivated. They don’t have to be big treats either. A big bowl of spaghetti, a five-minute Twitter break, or an episode of The Office will totally do the trick. Treat yo self is the key to warding off procrastination.
Hate to burst your bubble, but pulling all nighters is literally the least effective way to study. All nighters negatively effect your cognitive performance while ramping up stress. Not exactly how you want to be taking a test, right? So in the days leading up to your test or exam, make sure you get at least seven hours of sleep.
8. Just dance
We’ve talked about how music can help your stress before, but this is a great time to remind you. Less stress = better test performance. Classical music has been linked to lower anxiety levels, but we recommend listening to the scientifically most relaxing song while you study and right before a test.
9. Get the app
It doesn’t take a genius to understand that being distracted by Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, online shopping, and emails is no way to study. To kill it when it comes to concentration, we recommend downloading the app called Self Control. It will block everything you want to avoid while you study.
10. Work it out
Research has shown that 30-minutes of aerobic exercise before you study can increase your brain’s processing speed. Endorphins AND a more productive study sesh?! Sounds like a win win to me.
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