Maximise your memory!

Published on April 10th, 2012
Maximise your memory!

So, the second term has just begun and it’s time to get your brain in gear. Use these tips to make the most of your mind…

1.     Feed your brain
If you want to give yourself the best start this term, eat lots of fish – especially the oily, cold-water varieties like salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines. This will make sure you get enough brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids. It’s also important to cut down on animal products like red meat, butter and cheese – these contain lots of memory-weakening saturated fats – and to eat lots of colourful fruits and vegetables. These are packed with antioxidants, which protect your precious brain cells from harm.

2.     Get enough sleep
It’s a fact: if you don’t get enough sleep, your brain won’t be able to solve problems or store memories properly. And Science has proven it time and again… In a 2003 study, for example, researchers at the University of Chicago in America showed that a good night’s sleep not only improves your ability to remember stuff, but it can even help you remember something that you forgot during the day!

You can use this amazing sleep skill to help your brain store information before an exam. How? Get ready for bed, then write down anything you need to learn off by heart. Read it aloud once or twice and then repeat it without looking two or three times. Finally, go to bed and don’t think about it… the next day, you’ll be surprised how well your brain recalls that information.

3.     Chill out
With exams and assignments, we know this isn’t easy, but you need to try not to stress too much on the average day at school. If you’re always worrying, you’ll struggle to remember important info when you really need it, and over time, stress can even cause physical damage to the part of the brain that forms memories! It’s also important to spend time with your friends – in a study by the Harvard School of Public Health, researchers found that people with very good social lives were able to remember things for longer.

4.     Don’t waste space
If you want to fill your brain with important facts, equations and formulae, then you’ll need to make sure there’s as much space as possible. Store important events and deadlines in a calendar so you don’t need to remember them, and use shopping lists, diaries and address books to store all the daily information you would otherwise need to keep somewhere in your head.

5.     Break it down
There are loads of smart tricks you can use to help your brain store and recall information. For example, if you need to memorise a list of items, try organising them into smaller groups or chunks that will be easier to remember. So imagine you need to remember the following list:

Bread; ruler; dog; apples; stapler; antelope; milk; hedgehog; eraser

Instead of just memorising the list as above, you’ll find it much easier to break the items up into stationary (ruler, stapler, eraser), food (bread, apples, milk) and animals (dog, antelope, hedgehog) and then remember the smaller groups.

You could also make a word or an acronym (like ANC or ATM) out of first letters of all the items. So the above list could be turned into: BREAD MASH Or, if you’re feeling imaginitive, you could come up with a story that involves all nine items, and then remember them by running through the story in your head.

Wanna test your memory?
Click here to find out how well you remember faces…