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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!

The Mozart Effect is the notion that listening to classical music composed by Mozart can temporarily increase your IQ and enhance other mental functions. It is said that playing classical music to infants can improve their mental development. Some studies have shown that listening to Mozart can temporarily increase one's IQ by up to 9 points when given a spatial reasoning test. Other studies showed that it had the opposite effect!

One theory to explain this is related to mood. If you happen to enjoy classical music, then listening to it will bring you pleasure. This will put you in a good mood, which can improve your mental performance. If you dislike classical music, listening to it will annoy you and cause you to perform poorly on any subsequent test.

This enjoyment effect is not restricted to Mozart; it goes for any type of music. So, listen to what you enjoy and try to get in a good mood whenever you need to perform at the top of your game.

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Without constant stimulation from new experiences the brain's strength and agility can decline over time. One way to break your routine is by taking a random roadtrip in your car.

Normally, when you are driving from point A to point B, you brain goes on autopilot. A simple way to introduce novelty is to take a different route to your destination. Take some streets that you've never driven down before.

Another fun way to change things up is to set out on a trip, but have no destination in mind. Simply turn whenever you feel like turning and go wherever your fancy takes you. This can be a fun family experience if you let each person pick the directions for a period of time.

Another way to drive somewhere new is to get out a map, close your eyes, and put your finger down someplace. Now drive there and see what it's like. These new experiences are a great way to stimulate the mind.

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Taking breaks is very beneficial to studying as it gives your mind a chance to digest and organize the information that you have absorbed. Even a 15 minute break every 45 minutes can be a huge help. Cramming is studying for long periods without taking breaks and is not recommended. Spacing out your learning will actually decrease the total amount of study time that you need to learn a subject. Additionally, taking a break between studying two different subjects will help prevent interference, especially if the two subjects are similar.

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New research from Washington University in St. Louis suggests that repeated test taking might be more effective than repeated studying. Students who tested themselves while they studied had better retention of the information than students who simply studied the material without testing themselves.

The improved retention of material was probably a result of the feedback that students received from taking the tests. The students who did not take tests were never able to verify that they had correctly learned the information. Students who did not test themselves came away with a false sense of confidence about their knowledge.

This research suggests that teachers who give their students frequent quizzes may be improving their student's retention of the material better than if they had spent the time discussing the material.

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SQ5R stands for Survey, Question, Read, Record, Recite, Review, and Reflect and is an extension of the SQ3R discussed earlier. The two added steps are described as follows:

Record

After reading each section, you should record the main ideas. Highlight the key phrases (keeping in mind our suggestions for good highlighting skills), write notes in the margins, and write down the answers to your questions (and any new questions that you may have).

Reflect

This is where you think about the ideas you have learned and try to draw conclusions from them. Do you agree with the material? Does it relate to something else that you know? Take time to organize the information in your mind.

Other study systems that are nearly identical to the ones we have discussed:

PQRST (Preview, Question, Read, Self-Recitation, Test)
PQ4R (Preview, Question, Read, Reflect, Recite, Review)
OARWET (Overview, Ask, Read, Write, Evaluate, Test)

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