Finals. Even saying the word makes you slightly cringe at your heels. You know that you are going to be up all night studying, cramming and getting no sleep. If you are enrolled in information-heavy courses such as biology, chemistry or history then you know how important it is that your memory is top notch. Being able to recall information more easily can be the difference between getting a good grade or a poor one. Stronger memory can even help you recall information better when you are writing your essay.
Tips for boosting memory for finals
The problem is that with the prevalence of technology, our brains don’t need a strong memory for survival as much as we used to when we were cavemen and women. With apps to help remind us of our calendar and other things, what’s the point anymore? We used to have to remember phone numbers, but now most people cannot even recall the phone number for their family members or closest friends. Most of us store numbers in our phones, and our brains have space freed up to store some other type of knowledge or data.
When we memorize something, we are making connections in our brain between two items. This process literally alters the composition of your brain and makes access to events or facts more readily available. However, if we are constantly relying on apps, lists and notes to remember things then we cannot naturally build organic connections in our brain. Luckily, we have assembled a quick list of tips for boosting your memory in preparation for final exams.
They fall under three categories:
- Mental exercise.
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Boosting memory through lifestyle changes
Your lifestyle choices surely do impact your ability to recall things. These lifestyle changes can help you out:
- Get more sleep: research suggests that getting adequate sleep helps the brain process information from short term to long term storage.
- Exercise: hitting the campus gym has many positive benefits, one of which is that you will have better blood flow and a healthier heart, both of which are needed for good memory.
- Eat “memory foods.” That’s right, eating certain foods (listed below) can have a tremendous impact on your memory.
Mental activities: playing games such as cards or the app Lumosity can help you practice your memory just like any other muscle.
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Games and Mental Exercises for Stronger Memory
Games can be really helpful for practicing memory. Like muscles, memory requires interaction and stimulation. Here is a list of games that you can play to help bolster your memory:
- Cards (poker, FreeCell, Solitaire, Bridge)
- Lumosity has an app and website that is targeted towards improving memory and making your brain stronger
- Rubik’s cube
- Color and speed matching exercises. Just Google “online memory games” and you will find them for free.
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Foods Known For Improving Memory
This one is a biggie. Foods can play an important role in strengthening the connections our brain makes. It has do to with specific chemicals (which won’t be covered here) that improve certain functionality. Here is a basic list of foods that are fairly inexpensive and helpful for improving overall memory.
- Anything oil-based: canola oil, flaxseed oil, coconut oil
- Fish (salmon, sardines)
- Dark green leafy vegetables: cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, spinach, kale)
- Nuts/Seeds/Legumes: almonds, walnuts, peanuts, peanut butter
- Red wine
- Berries: grapes, plums, blueberries
- Whole grains: cereal, bread
- Orange juice
- Boiled eggs
The common theme amongst these food items is Omega-3 fatty acids. These acids can improve everything from memory, depression and even early onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Avoid fast food. Aside from not having any benefits to boosting memory, there are also a lot of health risks associated with fast food.