7 Memory Boosting Activities You Can Start Today
Memory boosting activities can be very beneficial to your status as a student and a test-taker. But it’s also something that we often neglect when getting caught up in the duties and obligations of our day-to-day lives. “Who has time?” becomes the motto when we could make more time and do much better work if we’d just take a moment out of our days to strengthen the memory muscle. To help you get there, we’ve put together a list of quick tips that should help you progress to the goal. Let’s get started!
1. Teaching What You Learn
There is an old saying in entrepreneurial circles that one of the quickest ways to a million dollar business is to invest in an area of knowledge not known to most, learn it, then teach it to someone else. This shouldn’t be exclusive to business people. You can retain a lot of information by trying to teach what you’ve learned to someone else. To do this, you need to make time and have someone willing to hear what you have to say. Study groups are a good way to do this on the micro-scale while also learning from what others have to say. Besides, we have a tendency — especially in high school — to listen and value what our peers have to say more than those older than us. In other words, it’s entirely possible you can learn (and teach more) from the people your age than the ones at the head of the class based on openness alone.
No, we don’t mean that you need to get up in front of a large group of people and recite the information that you’ve just stuffed in to your head. This is just a fancy way of us telling you to start reading class materials, assigned readings, etc., out loud. When you do this, you have multiple connections to the material at the same time — your eyes see the material, your brain processes it, your mouth restates it, and your ears hear it. Four birds with one stone!
3. Walk Break
One thing that has always helped me recapture my mental spark is to get up and go for a walk whenever I hit a wall. In doing so, I’m able to focus on the problem in a different way and allow my creativity to take over. (That’s usually the best tool you have for remembering difficult material.) There is also science to back this up. Dr. Chuck Hillman of the University of Illinois noted that brain activity increases dramatically with a walk of just 20 minutes compared to long hours of sedentary studying. It also isn’t going to hurt you physically if you don’t get a chance to exercise as much as you would like.
You’ve probably already done this at some point in your academic career, but just for the sake of completion, this technique consists of starting with an idea and through the use of word associations, lines, and bubbles, connecting each finding to the central idea and other subsets. By creating associations and seeing visually how they interact, you can strengthen your understanding of complex information.
5. Getting Rid Of Distractions
Technology has enabled us to learn more than ever before, and at a quicker pace! Unfortunately, that has come with the caveat of having to deal with more distractions. That’s where SelfControl has come in handy. This life-saver of an app will prevent you from visiting blacklisted sites for the entire time that you set. Once you have loaded every troublemaking site into the program and set the time restriction, you will not be able to visit those pages no matter what. Even if you were to delete the app from your computer, the sites would be blocked for the entirety of the predetermined time. If you find it difficult to say no to Facebook or Twitter, this will change your life and help you sever the unhealthy connection that certain websites have over your day.
6. YouTube It!
YouTube really changed the way that we go about our daily lives by allowing us to undertake DIY projects and teach ourselves from the knowledge of others in one of the most easily accessible, easy-to-digest ways. When I’m trying to learn a particularly difficult subject area, YouTube is one of my first stops. Even if it isn’t the best source of information, it will typically point you in the right direction. That’s because most of the best teachers on the web have a YouTube channel to which they don’t mind uploading free content. You can usually find some really great stuff without ever having to pay a dime. When watching the video, I try to listen and take notes, writing down important time markers along the way. Then I try to summarize from memory. If I get stumped, it’s simple to reference the time markers and easily revisit what I’m missing to completely understand what I’ve just heard.
7. Study Before Bed Or When You Get Up
Studying right before bed or when you first get up — preferably with that first cup of coffee — helps you to better internalize materials either while you are sleeping or in the morning when you’re creative side is at its best. Just make sure that in addition to studying at one of these two key times you manage to get plenty of rest.
Your memory can sometimes play tricks on you, but by putting these study tips to use, you can turn the tables and get it to work for you instead of against. Do you have any memory boosting techniques that work for you? If so, feel free to share in the comments section below.