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!
SQ3R is an acronym for a popular study system that will help you get the most from your studying. SQ3R stands for Survey, Question, Read, Recite, and Review. It's a good system to use if you are trying to learn the material in a textbook.
In this first step, you should take no more than 5 minutes to get an overview of what the chapter or book is about. Read the preface, table of contents, chapter titles, headings, graphs, summaries, etc. This will give you an outline of what you are about to learn which will help you know what to expect.
Survey the material again, but stop at each section and ask yourself some questions about what you hope to learn by reading that material. This step helps increase your interest in the topic and focus your attention on what you will be learning.
Read the material. Don't take notes or highlight anything yet. The first time you read through the material, you don't yet know which facts are important, so taking notes is difficult and inefficient.
In this step, you should try to answer the questions you asked in the Question step. Look back at the material only if necessary. Talking out loud to yourself isn't necessary, but it can help reinforce the information. Recitation also provides Feedback. Spend at least half of your time on this step.
Survey the book again and take note of which areas you were able to recite successfully and which areas you were not. You can study the weak areas again later. A review right after studying will help solidify the material in your mind. Periodic reviews at later dates will refresh your memory and help relearn material that you have forgotten.
Which is a better way to study?
A) You study an entire book.
B) You study one chapter at a time and test yourself after each one.
You will learn better and remember more using method B. Frequent feedback is an important part of learning for several reasons:
First, it shows you how much you are learning, which helps keep you motivated and interested in studying. If you never give yourself feedback, you may lose interest or your mind may wander.
Second, it helps reinforce the information in your memory by using repetition.
Third, it lets you know what information you haven't learned yet and might need to study again.
To give yourself feedback, you might study with a friend and quiz each other, or you might make up your own test questions and quiz yourself.
Studies show that where you learn something has an effect on your ability to recall the information at a later date. In particular, your ability to remember something is improved if you learn the information in the same or similar location that you will recall it. This is because the context in which you learn the material serves as a landmark for your memory.
To use this to your advantage, you should study your subject in the location where you will be expected to recall it. For example, if you are studying for a test, you could study the material in the same classroom (or similar classroom) where you are going to be tested. If you are memorizing lines for a play, you could do it in the theater where you will be performing.
If you don't know where you will be expected to recall the information, or if you can't replicate the environment, then you should try to study the material in a variety of different places so you don't get tied to one particular location.
Studies also show that your body position affects your accuracy at recalling information. So, if you are going to be sitting down while taking your test, it might be a good idea to be seated when you study for it, as opposed to lying down.
Everyone has experienced a mental block when trying to remember something. This happens most often when you are under pressure to remember, such as during a test.
Instead of trying to think harder, it's often helpful to stop trying to remember and move on to another problem. Frequently, you will find that just giving up the search will be enough to remove the block and the fact will instantly come into your head. This is because you are more relaxed. It's also likely that your subconscious will continue to think about the problem and the answer will pop into your head a few minutes later.
Stress and anxiety interfere with your ability to learn and recall material. This is because your mind is diverting its attention towards worrying. If you are not devoting your full attention to the learning task, it shouldn't be any surprise that you are not learning effectively.
Test anxiety is a very common problem with students. The student may know the material very well, but when put into a test environment, their recall ability is impaired by anxiety. Worrying about things like the time limit of the test or getting stuck on a problem can cause enough stress to interfere with recall.
Anxiety can be mitigated by using relaxation exercises or by becoming more confident in the task by over-learning the material.