Brain Hacks for School Success
Updated: May 18, 2019
One more month of school left before the much needed summer vacation. The end of the school year also means exam and testing season is upon us. I have some tips and tricks up my sleeve to help you achieve all that you are capable off. I have also attached a downloadable PDFs that you can print and put up on your study area, should you need reminders of the brain hacks.
Your teenage brain is glorious - if you didn’t know that already. Neuroscience has shown that the brain goes through critical periods of growthand development - while in the womb, the first year of life, and the early years, right into adulthood. What scientistshave more recently discovered is that the brain undergoes a 'secret mission' of change during the period between the ages of 12 to 19 years, that is truly unique.
Neuroscience Tips To Unlock Your Brain’s True Potential
Successful students aren’t more intelligent, they are disciplined, focused, and they’ve developed winning habits. Students who perform well are effective learners. Let neuroscience guide you to develop a super brain.
Setting goals helps you visualize them and helps you reach them. If you have a clear goal in mind it helps you to prioritize things to be able to accomplish it. Motivational quotes in your study area, can be very inspiring. Research has shown that if you believe you can achieve a goal, or you believe you are smart, or good at math – you perform better. Self-belief is extremely powerful. Don’t give yourself any negative labels, being positive helps you to stay focused and energize.
Regular exercise stimulates the prefrontal cortex, helps you to remember information better, enhances your concentration, and makes you more creative. Exercise three to four times a week, for at least 20 to 30 minutes each time, play a sport, walk, bike, scooter – anything that raises your heart rate.
Lack of sleep is linked to decreased attentiveness, decreased short-term memory, inconsistent performance, and delayed response time. Lack of sleep leads to poor concentration, and poor concentration leads to bad grades. Go to bed early enough to get a good night's sleep. You need a minimum of about 9 to 10 hours each night. As the research shows, sleep is a vital part of becoming an effective learner. Sleep boosts memory and enhances learning. During sleep the brain removes toxins built up during the day. Avoid caffeine it disrupts sleep and it slows down growth.
Your brain needs energy to work, and it can only use the energy in your body that you give it by what you eat. You can boost your attention span, concentration, and memory by eating a breakfast and lunch is rich in whole grains, fiber, and protein, as well as low in added sugar (e.g. yogurt, egg, fruit). Research shows that the better your nutrition, the better your brain function. The better your brain function, the better your performance in school.
Memory techniques are powerful ways to recall information. Some of the most useful ones are:
Acronyms: an invented combination of letters. Each letter is a cue to an item you need to remember. Never Eat Soggy Waffles for NESW.
Visualization: people remember images better than words or written information. Making a mental picture of facts you want to recall forces you to focus. Images provide mental cues help retrieve information from long-term memory.
Chunking: combines groups of information into ‘chunks’, blocks of facts are easier to remember that individual items. Stationary include pencils, pens, paper, binder. Association: grouping items to recall that are related to each other is easier. Holiday packing, clothes, passport, sunscreen.
Memory for information is enhanced by writing notes, as it reinforces your understanding and helps you learn better. Taking notes forces you to pay attention and listen out for the important topics. By writing notes you use your brain’s motor pathways and it increase your recall in tests. Be sure to focus on one task at a time, and you’ll find that you’ll get more done in less time.
7: Group Study
Join or set up a study group. Working with others that are learning the same material as you listen to different points of view and can use. You learn faster and prepare for big tests more easily working with peers. You can explain concepts and quiz each other. It helps with putting off doing the work, stops you from getting bored.
Our emotions located in the amygdala part of the brain can hijack your thinking and reasoning. It can be hard to stay focused and motivated, you might feel discouraged. Try to keep your thoughts and emotions in check, especially when you get a bad grade. Remain positive, and have a resilient mindset. Remain calm, and focus on preparing for the next assignment and don’t dwell on a previous grade.
Make sure to finds ways to manage stress. Everyone experiences worries, especially when a test is coming. Being able to relax and reduce anxiety will help you remain focused; be able to study and do well on tests. There are several ways to reduce your stress, listening to music, exercising, keeping a gratitude journal, yoga, deep breathing. Peer pressure affects everyone, so think carefully about the friends you spend time with. Find a group that is supportive and caring, surround yourself with friends that look out for you. Research shows that we imitate the people we are with, and want to be like them. Find friends that are positive, generous, hardworking and motivated. Strong relationships with teachers, family, and peers makes you feel like you belong; and are more connected to others. You can then rely on them when you need support. Try to meet different people and just be yourself. Don’t compare yourself to others, we all have different skills and talents. Focus on you and what you can do to feel better and do.
Your brain needs downtown to perform at its best. Make sure to find ways to reward yourself for trying your best. Have fun with friends, go to the movies, have some ice-cream. Small rewards can be a great way to keep you motivated on a day to day. So, if you’ve studied for 45 minutes, maybe take a 10-minute break and watch something you enjoy. Setting a timer on your phone really helps. It's important to have a balance in life, block out time to relax.
Remember: Exams and tests are only a portion of who you are. Try your best and forget the rest.