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Mentalrobics™

You exercise your body to stay physically in shape, so why shouldn't you exercise your brain to stay mentally fit? With these daily exercises you will learn how to flex your mind, improve your creativity and boost your memory. As with any exercise, repetition is necessary for you to see improvement, so pick your favorite exercises from our daily suggestions and repeat them as desired. Try to do some mentalrobics every single day!

Previously we learned how we can memorize the calendar for an entire year with just a 12-digit number. Here is a list of the secret numbers for various years.

2006=155274263153
2005=266315374264
2004=417426415375
2003=522641637527
2002=633752741631
2001=744163152742
2000=265274263153
1999=377426415375
1998=411537526416
1997=522641637527
1996=743752741631
1995=155274263153
1994=266315374264
1993=377426415375
1992=521537526416
1991=633752741631
1990=744163152742
1989=155274263153
1988=376315374264
1987=411537526416
1986=522641637527
1985=633752741631
1984=154163152742
1983=266315374264
1982=377426415375
1981=411537526416
1980=632641637527
1979=744163152742
1978=155274263153
1977=266315374264
1976=417426415375
1975=522641637527
1974=633752741631
1973=744163152742
1972=265274263153
1971=377426415375
1970=411537526416

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Memorizing the calendar will allow you to amaze and impress your family and friends with seemingly impossible mental feats. It's actually quite easy to do with a little practice.

For each year that you want to memorize, all you need to do is remember a twelve-digit number. For the year 2005, that number is 26-63-15-37-42-64. Each digit in that number represents the first Sunday of the month. For example, the first Sunday in January is the 2nd. The first Sunday of February is the 6th, and so on.

Now, suppose someone asks you what day Christmas falls on in 2005. First, you retrieve the 12th digit of your secret number; this is 4. Now you know that the first Sunday is on the 4th. You also know that Christmas is 21 days later. Since a week has 7 days, you know that Christmas is exactly 3 weeks ahead and thus also falls on a Sunday. Let's try a harder example: July 21. The secret number for July is 3. There are 18 days between the 3rd and the 21st. That's 2 weeks and 4 days. Since adding a week takes you back to the same day, we only need to add 4 days to Sunday, which is Thursday. Tada!

All you need is an old calendar to construct the secret 12-digit number for that year. Now, you just need to memorize those 12 numbers. This is what the Phonetic Mnemonic System is great at. Using this system, the secret number listed above can be represented as "Notch, Gym, Tail, Hammock, Horn, Chair", which you could easily link together using the Link System. With a little practice, you could memorize several years and be able to calculate any date for those years with only a few seconds of thought.

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Here is a little trick to help you remember how many days are in each month. Hold out your hands in front of you, palm down, and make a fist. Now, look at your knuckles and the valleys in between them. Start with the left most knuckle and call it January, the valley adjacent to it is February, the next knuckle is March and so on down to December which is the second to last knuckle on your right hand. The spot between your two hands does not count as a valley. Since each knuckle is a high spot, it represents 31 days. Each valley is a low spot and therefore represents 30 days. The only exception is February, which has 28 days (29 in a leap year). You probably know this, but you can remember it because February is the little valley next to your little finger, so it is the smallest.

Another way to remember the number of days in each month is with the following rhyme, which you have probably heard, but have probably not remembered.

Thirty days hath September,
April, June, and November;
All the rest have thirty-one,
Except with February alone,
And that has twenty-eight days clear,
And twenty-nine in each leap year.

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If you aren't taking notes, then you might want to start. Note taking has been proven to be a highly effective way to learn and remember material. When you take notes, you put the information into your own words. This "translation" makes a huge difference to your brain, which can now more easily digest the material.

Additionally, when you take notes you are giving yourself a way to review the information later. It is very unlikely that you will be able to remember everything the first time you hear it. When you forget something and you don't have notes, then it's going to be difficult to relearn it.

You don't have to write down every little fact in a lecture or chapter of a book. Just write down the key facts and any information that you find unusual or interesting. Notes are not meant to replace the primary information; they are simply an aid to jog your memory.

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No matter how well you learn something, if you never access that information you will probably forget it. If you want to remember something, you need to review it from time to time to keep it fresh in your mind.

Review can also be very helpful immediately after learning something, because it can help solidify the important facts and make it easier for the brain to identify what to remember. You can use this to your advantage by making sure that you set aside some time at the end of a study session to review what you have learned. Just going over the main facts in your mind will be very helpful. You might also consider doing this after a class lecture. Take a few minutes to review your notes and go over the instructor's main points.

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