1. Losing one night’s sleep can impair reasoning and memory for up to 4 days!
This means that even one all-nighter could jeopardize performance throughout midterms or finals week.
2. Learning can be a spectator sport.
Physical practice is the best way to learn, but research shows that simply watching others perform a motor activity activates brain processes that mimic learning through physical practice. Observation therefore speeds up the learning process.
3. Step away from the highlighters!!!
Highlighting, underlining, rereading, and mnemonic devices have actually been found to be largely ineffective. The ever-popular strategy of highlighting may even get in students’ ways, leading them to emphasize individual facts rather than make connections between concepts.
4. Start studying early…but not TOO early.
Psychologists have found that the best time interval between two study sessions is 10% of the time between the final test and the second study session. So, to remember something for a year, you should review it about a month after you study it for the first time.
5. Don’t get too cozy in the library.
We learn by making associations between the things we’re learning and our environments, and varying our surroundings creates more of these associations. Studies repeatedly show that students who study the same material in two different rooms test better than those who stick to the same location.
6. Foreign languages aren’t just sexy. They grow your brain.
Foreign language students — but not science students — showed growth in their brains’ hippocampus and cerebral cortex regions after three months of studying. Such growth is believed to help us retain new information and keep us sharp as we age.
7. Lazy bums rejoice! We may actually learn IN OUR SLEEP.
THE FANTASY IS REAL.
Olfaction researchers found that people were able to learn unconscious associations among specific smells and sounds while sleeping.
8. Getting your ass out of your chair is as important as buckling down.
Physical exercise improves learning ability by growing new neurons and slowing (or even reversing) cognitive decay. Lab animals who use a running wheel show better cognition than sedentary critters.
9. Rockin’ some tunes as a kid keeps you sharp later on.
Adults who played musical instruments as kids for at least 10 years perform better on memory and cognitive ability tests than non-musicians. Researchers believe playing an instrument, much like speaking two languages, may reinforce connections in the brain over time.
10. Get down to serious study business right before bedtime.
Sleep expert Dan Taylor claims that studying the most challenging material right before sleeping makes it easier to recall the next morning.
11. Sleep is a cognitive weapon. Wield it strategically.
Neuroscientists believe that names, faces, numbers, and other detailed facts are committed to memory only during deep (non-rapid eye movement) sleep. Without it, this information may quickly go in one ear and out the other. For instance, adults more speedily performed a computer task they learned the day before after a full night’s sleep, without additional practice.
BUT TAKE NOTE: sleep only consolidates memory within 12 hours of studying the information. SO GO THE F*&$ TO SLEEP!
12. Man cannot ace exams on vending machine fare alone.
A study at University of Oxford revealed that students performed worse on tests of attention and thinking speed after being fed a high-fat, low-carb diet for five days, while performance did not decline for students who ate a balanced, nutritious diet.
13. Give yourself a friggin’ break!
Research shows that chillaxing for longer periods between study sessions achieves better recall than cramming. Scientists posit that we may “relearn” studied material each time we revisit it, reinforcing memory and comprehension.
14. “Multitasking” is really just “multidistracting.”
It may feel like you’re getting a lot done, but research shows that distractions while studying significantly reduce accurate recall.
15. Think you’re a “visual” or an “auditory” learner? IT’S LIES, ALL LIES.
16. Variety keeps your brain on its toes.
17. All-nighters = GPA-Sabotage
Although 60% of college students report having stayed up all night to study at least once, a St. Lawrence University psychologist found an association between pulling all-nighters and lower grades.
18. Check yourself before you wreck yourself.
Testing not only assesses knowledge, it also trains your brain to retrieve information from memory. A study showed that students who studied material and then took a practice test retained the information longer than students who studied the information twice.
19. Early morning cramming is a dangerous sham.
Sleep expert Dan Taylor warns that waking up extra early can disrupt the REM sleep crucial for solidifying memory.
20. One sneaky molecule is to blame for blanking out when we’re tired.
Sleep deprivation increases the activity of the enzyme PDE4’s, which inhibits memory consolidation.
21. “Chunking” information prevents blowing your “cognitive load.”
22. The harder something is to remember, the harder it is to forget.
Struggling to retrieve information from memory lodges it deeper in our minds.