How to Increase Your Memory to Ace an Exam: 5 Powerful Techniques

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how to increase your memory

Especially during cramming season, students scamper about just trying find quick ways to sharpen their memory—if only for that singular purpose of acing that one exam. However, the best methods of how to increase your memory are often performed for long-term purposes, by making these memory-enhancing methods part of your daily or weekly schedule. But if you must use something quick just to make sure that you retain your lessons long enough to perfect that school exam, here are tested and proven methods you can do right away.

1. The power of creative association

Creative association simply refers to the technique of associating one piece of information to another. For example, if you’re trying to remember how to spell POTASSIUM, you only have to remember: one tea, two sugars. You can even do your own associations—and sometimes, the more creative (or the weirder or hilarious) the associations you make, the better you will remember the information.

2. Carefully schedule your time for study

It has been proven that cramming or studying straight for several hours is the least efficient method of studying, mainly because fatigue can set in and the more tired you are, the least efficient your brain becomes. If you’re looking for actually effective ways of how to increase your memory, then hours-long studying is not one of them. Instead, plan your study time and break it in manageable portions. For example, study for two hours early in the morning, another hour before lunch, another two hours right after taking a nap in the afternoon, then another two hours before bedtime. That way, mental fatigue won’t set in and you won’t end up too jaded with your lessons.

3. Perform “emergency” exercises

Lucy Liu, in character as Watson in an episode of the new TV series called ‘Elementary’ showed Sherlock Holmes how she used to study back in medical school: she’d do 100 repetitions of leg squats to keep the blood pumping and to make the most out of an overnight study session. It all makes sense—the more blood is pumped by your heart, the more oxygen is supplied to your organs, especially to your brain. The exercise keeps you mentally alert and awake, too, which all the more ensures that you’ll remember what you’re memorizing. But don’t limit yourself to leg squats—you can jog around the neighborhood or hit the treadmill, or do some push-ups. Anything you like, as long as it’s safe and starts the blood pumping, should do the work.

4. Keep it silent or choose your music

There are those who seem to memorize better while they’re listening to music. But we doubt this: if you find yourself actually singing along and thereby thinking about the song’s lyrics than what you’re trying to memorize, then music is getting in the way and not helping. So try to find a nice, quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. However, if you really enjoy listening to music, it’s best to choose the kind of music that has no words in it, such as classical music or some instrumental jazz.

5. Meditate

Practicing meditation regularly helps in achieving new levels of mental clarity and focus. But as part of this list of ways on “how to increase your memory” for an exam, meditation can also be used for “emergency” purposes. It can be effective in priming up your mind before starting your study session, and there are the results of several medical studies to back it up. For instance, meditation has been shown to boost one’s levels of the chemical called DHEA while decreasing the levels of cortisol—basically, more DHEA and less cortisol means enhanced memory and overall sense of well-being, and all that can be achieved by sitting in a quiet place and performing some simple meditation.


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