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Increasing Your Memory Capacity

Increasing Your Memory Capacity
Priscilla Peck
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Studying and mugging, they are the best drug-free sleeping pills anyone would need if they ever felt awake. For the people who do not absorb information as quickly as others, aka me, examination week would be hell when you had to memorize everything you’ve learnt throughout the semester within a day because you had papers throughout Monday to Friday. Yes, been there done that. 

Credit: www.meditationrelaxclub.com

Credit: www.meditationrelaxclub.com

Maybe you’re not in polytechnic or university yet, but this is relatable even if you’re in secondary school. Come on, most of us do not study diligently when we were in secondary school unless it was common test week or the final year examinations. Then you’ll see the panic in everyone’s faces while they try to cram everything into their brains. 

During my polytechnic years, I found the secret formula that could better help me memorize large chunks of information for my very theory-based papers in a short period of time. It was an accidental discovery because I was first using this method as a motivation to finish reading up my notes. 

Study In Intervals

The worst thing one can do is to force-memorize 10 chapters of Workplace Safety in one shot without a break. Remember why we even during lectures, we were given about 10-15 minutes break in between? That’s because your brain can only contain that much information at one go, and anything else would be assimilated. Or even worse, when you try to remember so much at one go without a break, your brain just jumbles up the information, ending up as a load of mess in your head, thus, resulting in a mind block. I usually do 2-3 chapters at one go, for about 30 minutes and take a break after before continuing with the rest. Pace yourself well, it also motivates you to study if you give yourself an incentive after finishing every 3 chapters.

Credit: skyje.com

Credit: skyje.com

For example, after 30-45 minutes of memorizing and reiterating the information to ensure I can remember them, I would watch a music video or two of my favourite band to relax my mind. Your brain cannot remember much if you overstress it with chunks of information.

Listen To The Right Music

Some of us listen to our favourite band while studying thinking it would keep us awake. In a university research done in France, it noted that students who listen to classical music playing in the background while in a one-hour lecture scored significantly higher in their quizzes than those who did not. 

Credit: www.telegraph.co.uk

Credit: www.telegraph.co.uk

I tried this theory and it did work. While we all have our favourite playlist, it can get a little distracting when we are trying to memorize because you would, more often than not, be concentrating on the music instead of your studies. Researchers speculated that music puts students in a heightened emotional state, making them more receptive to information they’re listening to or reading.  

Give Yourself Proper Rest The Day Before Your Test

Rest. It is often underestimated how important rest is for not only our body, but our brain. I do not believe in the phrase “sleep is for the weak”. Burning the midnight oil the day before is a no-no. You may seem to yourself as hardworking, but if you realize why you end up not remembering much from the night’s study is because your brain did not get enough sleep to process all the information to be remembered. 

Credit: weheartit.com

Credit: weheartit.com

Also, by burning the midnight oil, you reduce your mind’s mental performance because of the lack of sleep. In current researchers on how sleep helps the human body, it is a process whereby the brain works to heal the body and consolidates memories of what we studies and learnt during the day. That’s why we always hear that we should sleep right after our night revision because your brain processes those information. It is said that during the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, which happens in the last part of the sleep, is associated with learning and memory. 

This has been tested because I was able to remember everything from the previous day’s study, just in time for my morning examinations!

Take Naps In Between Studies

I usually take naps when I’m halfway through my revision. We all feel tired after long hours of studying and it is perfectly okay to take a nap. Short power naps actually helps you become more alert and leave you feeling more refreshed. You can never remember anything when you’re in a tired and grouchy mood. 

Credit: www.wsj.com

Credit: www.wsj.com

Reiterate the information you’ve just read and make sure you have memorized it before napping. After you’re done with your power nap, the first thing you should do is not to jump into a whole new chapter, but to reiterate the information you’ve read before your nap. This actually assists your brain in memorizing the information. And you as you repeat this process, you find yourself being able to detail all the information without much difficulty. 

Teach What You Learnt

While it isn’t always advisable to meet up with friends for study session because usually it ends up as a chilling-lepak session where we have our books thrown all over the tables without any studying done as we would just be discussing about the latest music on the charts, sometimes it is necessary for your learning sake. Teaching your friends would test your understanding of the subject better. If your friend does not understand your points, then maybe you should start revising more as well!

Arrive At Your Examination Hall Early

Reaching your destination early, about 30 minutes to 1 hour, gives you time to settle down and calm those nerves. We are all mostly nervous minutes before the examination, and coming in early lets you prepare yourself and do last minute reading. Rushing for your examinations would only cause you to feel more anxious for it, and in turn, you may forget what you’ve been memorizing. 

Credit: www.theguardian.com

Credit: www.theguardian.com

And there you have it. Tips of expanding your memory capacity for your upcoming examinations! While these are methods I used to memorized heavy theory-based exams, it is always better to understand what you are studying because then it would be easier to apply, especially at university level. But for those papers totally based on theories, here are tips to tackling and acing them! It may or may not work for you, but it sure did for me. 

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