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Tips - An unsolicited advice

how-to-treat-your-brain-during-revision-time

These days, we understand more about the structure of memory than we ever have before, so we can find the best techniques for training your brain to hang on to as much information as possible. The process depends on the brain’s neuroplasticity, its ability to reorganise itself throughout your life by breaking and forming new connections between its billions of cells.

Here are seven top tips to get information into your brain and keep it there.



Revision_Time

Forget about initial letters.

Teachers often urge students to make up mnemonics – sentences based on the initial letters of items you're trying to remember. Trouble is, they help you remember the order, but not the names. The mnemonic Kings Prefer Cheese Over Fried Green Spinach can help you recall the order of taxonomy in biology (kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species) but that's only helpful if you're given the names of the ranks.

Repeat yourself

Pathways between neurons can be strengthened over time. Simple repetition – practicing retrieving a memory over and over again – is the best form of consolidating the pattern.

Use science to help you retrieve info

Science tells us the ideal time to revise what you've learned is just before you're about to forget it. And because memories get stronger the more you retrieve them, you should wait exponentially longer each time – after a few minutes, then a few hours, then a day, then a few days. This technique is known as spaced repetition.

Take regular breaks

Breaks are important to minimize interference. When your hippocampus is forced to store many new (and often similar) patterns in a short space of time, it can get them jumbled up.
The best example of this is when you get a new telephone number. Your old number is still so well-entrenched in your memory that remembering the new one is a nightmare. It's even worse if the new one has a few similarities to the old.

Avoid distractions

Attention is the key to memorizing. By choosing to focus on something, you give it a personal meaning that makes it easier to remember. In fact, most of our problems when it comes to revision have very little to do with the brain's capacity for remembering things; we just struggle to devote our full attention to the task in hand.

Sleep is vital

We spend approximately a third of our lives sleeping and it's never as important as during revision time. Sleep plays a critical role in memory consolidation – this is when the brain backs up short-term patterns and creates long-term memories. The process is believed to occur during deep sleep, when the hippocampal neurons pass the patterns of activity to another part of the brain called the neo cortex, which is responsible for language and the generation of motor commands.

Control your emotions

We remember emotionally charged events far better than others, and this is especially the case if the emotion was a positive one. It is not always possible to have warm feelings about your revision, but if you can associate a particular fact with a visual, auditory or emotional experience from the past, then you have a better chance of remembering it, as you have created multiple pathways for retrieval.
Try to reduce anxiety, because it uses up working memory, leaving a much smaller capacity available for processing and encoding new information.