We’ve all been there. It’s the night before your final exams. You have several empty cans of Red Bull to your right, and a stack of empty chocolate wrappers to your left. You haven’t slept in 24 hours. And you have reached the stage where your brain has gone to mush – at the worst possible time because your exam starts in less than five hours. How can you avoid this same behaviour in time for your next exam? Simple. Develop an exam approach that encapsulates the following advice. It has been scientifically and unequivocally proven that it is possible to improve one’s exam performance as well as one’s memory through several very simple practises. Do read on if A+ is your next exam goal…
- It is absolutely essential to practise your hand writing in advance of any essay-style exam. We use keypads and smartphones so often these days we have lost the ability to write with a pen for extended periods of time – but there is no excuse when it comes to written exams. Not only do you want your teacher to be able to understand what you are saying, but you want to avoid getting a painful cramp in your hand halfway through a three-hour essay. Top tip: Use a stress ball or hand grip to train the hand muscles in advance. By gripping and releasing a stress ball for twenty minutes a day, you will significantly strengthen your grip and improve your fine motor skills. Oh, and it will alleviate stress in the leadup to exam period, which is always a good thing.
- Exercise more: This can’t be emphasised enough. Research has repeatedly demonstrated that exercise improves both mood and memory, with exercise also appearing to play a big part in terms of memory function among young to middle-aged adults. So work up that sweat, you’ll appreciate it in the long run.
- Have a coffee: Caffeine has been identified as a booster of memory time and time again. In one study which delivered either placebo or 200 mg caffeine tablet to two different groups of adults five minutes after they looked at a series of images, those participants who had consumed caffeine were able to identify the same images shortly afterwards, while those who hadn’t struggled to do so. So there you have it, another wonderful benefit of the strong stuff, confirmed.
- Drink a glass of water. That’s right, it has been found that simply by drinking a glass of water before an exam, you will gain a grade in your results.
- Focus on improving your memory: Figuring out how to improve memory for exams is something that students have been pondering for several decades. But the verdict is in, and it seems that a combination of self-testing, repetition, and taking vital breaks to socialise are powerful factors in restoring and improving memory. Getting some decent shut-eye has also been proven to help consolidate the day’s memories and is also important for removal of toxic deposits that accumulate in the brain, such as amyloid plaque.
Best of luck, although with the above tips you shouldn’t need it…