These five techniques will help you study smarter and memorize more effectively.
1. Review right before bed.
While you are sleeping, your brain strengthens new memories, so there’s a good chance you’ll memorize your reviewed study material right before hitting the hay. (Just try not to bring work into the actual bed, since it can make it harder to get a good night’s sleep.) And though bedtime is primo study time, it might also help to crack open the books after cracking open those eyes in the A.M.—in the morning, the brain still has lots of room to absorb new information you need to memorize.
2. Practice “Spaced Repetition”
A relatively new learning technique for memorization called “spaced repetition” involves breaking up information into small chunks and reviewing them consistently over a long period of time. So don’t try to memorize the entire periodic table in one sitting—instead, learn a few rows every day and review each lesson before starting anything new.
3. Get Creative
Turning test material and formulas into a crazy story actually helps make the information more meaningful and simpler to memorize. For example, remember the order of mathematic operations PEMDAS this way: Philip (P) wanted to eat (E) his friend Mary (M) but he died (D) from arsenic (AS) poisoning.
4. Quiz Yourself
Quizzing yourself is one of the best ways to memorize and prepare for the real deal. And don’t worry about breaking a sweat while trying to remember the material: The harder it is to remember a piece of information in practice mode, the more likely you are to remember it in the future when it counts.
5. Eat Your Omegas
Omega-3 fatty acids, found in certain fish, nuts, and olive oil, are known for their brain-boosting potential, which will help when trying to memorize. One study found that eating a combination of Omega-3-and Omega-6 fatty acids before an exam actually reduced test anxiety.
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