The human brain is by far the most complex organic object to have ever been found in nature. After nearly a century and a half of unrelenting examination, we’re only just now starting to crack the codes of the cerebral.
As far as studiers are concerned, this is a bit of a shame, because we’re not very good at understanding why some people ace tests and others don’t despite having identical intelligence quotients and hours of devoted study.
With that said, there are a few “hacks” you can try on your own that some preliminary science has suggested can improve your ability to critically think and commit knowledge to memory. They won’t replace interventions for differentiated instructions and other alternatives to standard study that have proven to help folks, but they may help you score higher on tests and exams if you put them into practice.
Four such brain boosters are as follows:
Switch hands when performing certain tasks
When it comes to non-hazardous daily tasks such as brushing your teeth and putting butter on toast, switch up the hand you usually use. Studies have shown that doing so can increase IQ scores within weeks. It’s thought that by performing familiar tasks with your hands while closing your eyes, you force your brain to essentially “work” in a new way. This in turn can lead to you having an easier time thinking critically.
Close your eyes when performing certain tasks
Again, we aren’t advocating that you operating machinery or shoot a rifle with your eyes closed. But try taking a shower without the benefit of vision (come shampoo time you practically do anyway). Manipulating bottles and faucets while blind makes your brain once again have to fire off neurons in new places, which leads to you have a more creative mindset going into the day.
Study in the same place
New study environments will distract you. In addition, the information you consume will get mixed up with distinct memories of the new experience. Instead, hit the books in your bedroom or somewhere else very familiar. That way virtually every iota of information entering your brain is involved with the material you need to be learning.
Review right before bed
It’s critical you take the time to review recently learned material on that same day. Bedtime provides a great opportunity for this. Not only has every other concern of the day subsided by that point, your brain uses sleep as a time to convert recently learned information into long-term memory. By reviewing that day’s material right before you fall asleep, you increase the chances of it sticking with you as time marches on.
The aforementioned four brain boosters are not going to cause C students to start churning out A material overnight or even after several weeks. But chances are they will help you think a little bit fresher and retain information for a little bit longer. As far as academic improvements are concerned, they’re a great place to start.