This is Part 2 of a series of Articles on Tips and Secrets to Remembering what you learnt and doing well in exam. In part 1 – you learnt about a simple tip that will help you to remember things for the long-term.

In this part – I will explain 4 more little secrets to help you remember even better, and avoid cramming on the night before your paper.

1) Get enough sleep.

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I know you people like to cram it in during the week of the exam, but it is actually a very poor method of learning.

Many students have the misperception that the more time they spent studying, the better grades they will get in exam. Therefore, they conveniently use up their sleeping time to study. This will not only bring no results (in a real sense), but will also cause more damage than good. By depriving yourself of a good night’s sleep (or a stretch of good night’s sleeps), you would have inadvertently interrupted your brain’s normal functions.

Your poor brain would hardly have any time to sort, process and store all the information you are cramming into it. Imagine a computer with a lot of information but nobody to organize it, sort them into separate folders, label them, and give them a good naming order. You would end up with information overload, and without proper maintenance of this information, these will be nothing but garbage!

You end up studying with less focus and intensity which is why you wonder – “How come I repeated this twice and still can’t remember it?” Because your brain’s tired and you desperately need rest.

Which brings us to the next tip.

2) Intense Concentration

One day, I arrived at my student’s house for lesson. She was still asleep and it was 1pm. Why? Because she studied from 12am till 2am the night before.

This is usually a poor strategy. Your brain functions best when you’re fresh and just rested. Therefore the intensity of your focus and concentration when you study in the morning is probably 100% compared 50-60% when you try to stay up to cram. So if you spend 2 hours studying from 12am to 2am at a concentration level of 60%, compared with you study for 1 hour in the morning 10am-11am at a concentration level of 100% – which one is more effective?

Effective Studying  = Time x Intensity of Concentration

So – don’t be fooled by the amount of time you studied. It’s not about HOW LONG you studied, it’s about HOW MUCH you understood and retained, which can only work if you’re focusing at a high intensity.

3) Stay Active

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One way to help you improve your memory is by staying active, both physically and mentally. There seems to be a problem with some students i’ve encountered in recent years, where they simply “do not want to use their brains”. This is usually caused by laziness, or lack of practice making it “difficult to think”.

Well, the old adage “use it or lose it” applies not only to our muscle strength but to our memory as well. The more work-outs you do with the body, the more fit and flexible your muscles are. Regular exercise also increases oxygen to the brain and is beneficial to both physical and mental stamina.

Same goes with your brain, the more exercise you do with your brain, the better you will be able to process and remember things. So keep your mind active by regular exercise. You can play IQ games to encourage your brain to do more thinking.

Sudoku is a good and fun method to practice your observation skills and logical flow of thoughts. Or, you can even observe and analyse things around your daily life. “How did i fail my math exam? Which question did i do wrong and how?”,  “How does a car move?”, “Why do animals attack humans?, etc .

4) Finally –
be easy on yourself.

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Don’t force it. Breathe. Take breaks. Go for a cup of Milo or coffee. Go for a walk. Take a short power nap of 15 minutes. Remember – your brain functions best when you’re at high intensity focus and you function best when you’re relaxed. Don’t force yourself to stay up for hours.

If you really do need to cram, then take frequent breaks and short power nap. Just put your head on the table and close your eyes.

Memory skills by itself is limited in application. To ensure you do well in exams, you will also need to apply memory skills effectively together with understanding skills, reading skills and presentation skills.

(In Part 3 – I will teach you tips to improve your understanding skills, reading skills and presentation skills.)

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