20 Study Hacks to Improve Your Memory

We’ve scoured our brains and the internet for the best study hacks to help your brain remember information quicker and easier and ultimately help you do better in your exams.

1. Walk Before An Exam

It’s been proven that exercise can boost your memory and brain power. Research conducted by Dr. Chuck Hillman of the University of Illinois provides evidence that about 20 minutes exercise before an exam can improve performance.

Study Hacks: Walk Before Exam

2. Speak Out Loud Instead of Simply Reading

Although this may make you look a little crazy, give it a go! You will be surprised how much more you can remember when you’ve said it out loud. Warning: Don’t try this in a crowded library!

Study Hack: Speak Out Loud

3. Reward Yourself With A Treat

There are many ways to integrate a reward system into your study habits. Here’s a simple way to motivate yourself to study with Gummy Bears:

Study Hacks Reward System

4. Teach What You Have Learned

The best way to test if you really understand something is to try to teach it to someone else. If you can’t get anyone to listen to you explain the Pythagorean Theorem, why not teach a class of stuffed animals!

Study Hacks: Teach What You've Learned

5. Create Mental Associations

The ability to make connections is not only an easier way to remember information, but it’s the fuel of creativity and intelligence. Steve Jobs famously said “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something”.

Mind Maps are an easy way to connect ideas by creating a visual overview of different connections. Read more about the benefits of using Mind Maps to learn here.

Study Hacks: Create Mental Associations

6. Draw Diagrams

Drawing diagrams will help you to visualise information which would be hard to describe. This creates a visual memory in your mind which can be recalled in an exam. You may even be asked to draw or label diagrams such as the human heart in your exam so get practicing!

drawing the human heart

7. Times New Roman is the Fastest Font to Read

Simply put – there’s a reason why Times New Roman is the default font on most applications!

Study Hacks: Times New Roman Font

8. Use Apps to Block Distracting Sites

The SelfControl app helps you to avoid distractions by blocking websites for a certain amount of time. Discover more student apps to make student life easier in our blog post “12 Student Apps You Don’t Want to Miss!”.

Study Hacks: Student Apps

9. Watch a Documentary on the Topic

Documentaries are an entertaining way of compacting an entire story into a short timeframe. This will help you remember key details from a story plus you may even get extra credit for mentioning that you took the initiative and watched a film about the topic!

Check out the infographic in this blog post which helps you decide which documentary to watch.

10. Search Google Like a Pro

Save time when researching sources online by mastering the biggest search engine in the world; Google. Follow the tips in this image to find what you need at your fingertips:

Study Hacks: Search Google Like a Pro

11. Create Flashcards for Quick Memory Buzz

Quickly test your knowledge of key concepts, definitions, quotes and formulas with flashcards. Sign up to ExamTime now to create your first Flashcard deck like the one below now!

12. Take Regular Study Breaks

When your brain is working, you need to take regular study breaks to help your brain absorb more information but also to keep you motivated and focused when you are working. Take a short break after 45-50 minutes study as your focus and concentration will become impaired after this period, anything new after 1 hour 30 minutes does not get assimilated.

Study Hacks: Take Study Breaks

13. Listen to the Correct Type of Music

In our blog post “Music for Studying: 10 Tips to Pick the Best Study Music” we looked into the area of how the correct types of music can lead to more productive studying by elevating your mood. Have you made your Mozart Spotify playlist yet?

Study Hacks: Listen to Study Music

14. Make Your Study Space Portable

We may be creatures of habit with favourite seats in the library but information retention actually improves when you vary the places where you study. Check out this Buzzfeed video for more study hacks:

15. Practice, Practice, Practice…

Practicing sample answers to past exam questions can help train your brain to retrieve information. Create realistic, exam-like condition and test your understanding by using our new Quiz tool. Try our general Knowledge Quiz below:

16. Don’t Stay Up All Night Before an Exam

Make sure to get adequate rest the nights leading up to your exams. When you sleep, your brain assimilates the information you have learned when studying so getting a good night’s sleep will help you remember those pesky maths formulas you need for your exam!

Don’t make this your sleep schedule:

Study Hacks: Sleep Schedule

17. Discover News Ways to Learn

Trying new methods of studying can help you find what really works for you. Use technology to your advantage by watching educational TED Talks or downloading useful dictionary apps for example. Read more about the benefits of using technology to study.

18. Use Scents or Gum to Jog Your Memory

This may seem a bit random but spraying an unfamiliar scent while you’re studying can help jog your memory when you spray it again just before an exam. Chewing a strange kind of gum will work the same way.

Study Hacks: Unfamilar Scents

19. Study in a Group

Studying in a group can help you collect new insights to enhance your learning experience. The ExamTime Groups tool is an innovative spin on the traditional study group formula. Our Groups tool helps you share resources, discuss ideas and interact with members of your team or group project. Sign up here to get started!

study hacks study in a group

20. Meditate

Studies say that meditation can help students stay focused when studying. Not only will meditation help you concentrate when studying but it will help reduce pre-exam stress as it improves both mental and physical health.

Check out this Meditation Education infographic on Edutopia which details the educational benefits of meditating:

Study Hacks: Meditation

Our final piece of advice for those of you sitting exams is to stay positive. It’s amazing how a positive attitude can impact on your exam results or motivate you to complete that assignment when all you want to do is go to bed!

Got any other study hacks? Let us know if any other study hacks have worked for you in the comments section below:

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About the ExamTime Blog

Our blog is part of ExamTime, a Free Website for Creating, Sharing & Discovering Learning Resources that help students and teachers achieve their learning objectives. Click here to start discovering Mind Maps, Flashcards, Notes & Quizzes now!

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