Do you have exams ahead of you and you want to be at the peak of your cognitive abilities?
Yes, preparing for tests can be difficult, and sometimes it is not even clear where to start. However, there are ways to improve memory, concentration and even mood during this period.
We have compiled research by neurobiologists, psychologists and nutritionists, as well as wise advice from teachers and students – and compiled a list of tips based on it.
The recommendations will help you be smart and improve the preparation process.
1. Breakfast and “food for the brain”
Energy is needed for the body to function properly, and the brain’s ability to concentrate directly depends on an adequate, stable supply of energy in the form of glucose.
Research shows that students who eat breakfast show better results in exams because it is easier for them to concentrate and remember information.
So start your day with carbohydrates that will slowly release energy throughout the morning: oatmeal, whole grain bread or low-sugar muesli.
You also need to supplement your diet with protein: a small amount of milk, yogurt or eggs.
Try proven brain food. These are eggs, fatty fish (mackerel, sardines and salmon, rich in omega-3 fats), whole grains, cabbage, chard, spinach, broccoli (and all dark green leafy vegetables), tomatoes and avocados.
In addition, do not underestimate the power of a timely snack!
Drinks with antioxidants and anthocyanins can help improve short-term memory and lift your spirits. These can include blueberries, strawberries, nuts, olives, pumpkin seeds and dark chocolate that nourish your body and mind.
2. Start early …
Start preparing long before the exam date – it will help you feel calmer and you are less likely to end up with a simple memorization.
Try to exercise in the morning when your brain is rested and refreshed. Do not leave most of the training in the afternoon, when you are more likely to be tired or decide to work late.
It will be better if you come to permanence in the schedule and will at least try to start and finish at the same time every day.
3. … and decide what to focus on
Are you waiting for an oral, practical or situational exam?
Different types of exams require different approaches, so find out the format of your exam. Then you will know exactly how to prepare.
For an essay exam, you may not need to cover all subjects, so it may be more effective to focus on a topic and study it more deeply.
A multi-choice test or a short exam in the form of answers will require a broader but less detailed understanding of the curriculum.
4. Calm music
As BPMzilla director mentioned in his interview, students who learn to listen to calm music memorize the material better than those who listen to fast music.
This advice is especially important for introverts, as they are more likely to be distracted by background music than extroverts.
5. Make a plan
This may seem time consuming, but drawing up a comprehensive plan will really save you time. You don’t have to spend a minute deciding what to teach – and it will help you keep track of your progress.
Schedule as detailed as possible, including any relevant documents or notes you will need to review – and stick to it.
And don’t forget to set aside time for socializing, playing sports and any other breaks (more on that later).