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How To Get Good Grades While Studying Less

How To Get Good Grades While Studying Less

Wouldn’t it be awesome to know you could get better grades without having to rack your brains and put your life on hold?

I teach some of the most competitive students. They are all jostling to get into med school and you should see the extreme measures they take. They study till they drop… literally. That’s not what university life is supposed to be like. The key to freeing up your time is to learn to study effectively, not study more. As the semesters go by, you should be getting better grades but studying less. That’s the true measure of academic success. Here are 8 simple things you can do to achieve this seemingly impossible task.

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1. Sleep well

Sleep is sacred. Maintain your alertness by sleeping well — not more than 8 hours a day, but not less than 7. This is bound to improve both your body and brain health and energy levels.

Another cool trick is combining tea or coffee with a power nap during the day. Just sip your preference of coffee or tea, then doze off for no more than twenty minutes. You’ll wake with double the energy boost as the effects of the caffeine kick in at precisely the moment you wake up.

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2. Discover how you learn best

People generally learn in one of three ways and tend to prefer one — through visuals, sound, or touch. You need to figure out which one works best for you. According to the discoverers of neurolinguist programming, your words tell you which one you may lean towards. Listen to yourself in the coming days and notice statements like: “I see what you’re saying…” or “I hear you” or “I can’t get a grasp on that.” Once you discover which one of the modes of learning best suits you, adapt your studying techniques to your preference.

3. Teach to learn better

Another great way to study more effectively is to actually teach others what you are studying. Do this and you are proverbially hitting two birds with one stone — spending time with friends and helping them on the one hand, while you also learn the subject far more effectively. Teaching is a great reinforcer of concepts and helps solidify your memory.

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4. Study only when you’re productive

Students succumb to the pressure of exams so much and so often that they think they need to burn the next 48 hours, studying on afterburners. Studying too much, at all times, is extremely counter-productive. Set apart times of the day when you are at your best mentally for the task. We waste those hours too often on meaningless tasks — aided greatly by our addiction to the internet. This requires no small amount of self-discipline, but it’s well worth it when you realize you can learn so much in short periods of time.

5. Study many things at once

Many students make the mistake of studying for one subject at a time. They finish one exam and then move on to the next subject. This is one of the most destructive study habits out there. Face the fact that your exams come one after the other and start studying for all of them a little earlier, but in 20- or 30-minute intervals. After a short break, switch subjects. It decreases the level of boredom, keeps your mind challenged, and maintains your levels of motivation.

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6. Meditate

Find a place to sit where you’ll feel comfortable closing your eyes. Become mindful of your surroundings, your breathing, your heart rate, the sun, the din of the day, the whole thing. Hey, you’re alive! This is a great exercise that very often resets your attitude and keeps you sharp and focused.

7. Don’t sacrifice your social life to study

I’m not saying you have to party your way through college on overdrive with destructive habits, sleeping late and waking up totaled at 1 pm every day. But a healthy social life — friends and family that build you up — is great for your success. Make sure you cultivate your relationships while still giving studying the priority and attention it deserves. Many give up one for the other at their own peril.

8. Feed your mind

There’s no way to circumvent nature’s laws. You reap what you sow, and that can be said also for your mind. Be curious always. Love learning. Listen more than you speak. Seek wisdom and choose to cultivate intelligence. While it may sound a little fluffy, practice positive thinking and gratefulness. A happy mind learns far better than a negative, bitter, and cynical mind.

Featured photo credit: Yuri Samollov via flickr.com

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Last Updated on November 11, 2019

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

4. Feed Your Brain

Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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6. Write it Down

If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

7. Listen to Music

Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

8. Visual Concepts

In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

9. Teach Someone Else

Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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