For years, neuroscientists, psychologists and even nutritionists have researched it and have come up with some guidelines and recommendations to deal with them in the best way. Next we are going to focus on those that we have considered more useful or easier to carry out.
Create a comfortable space , which allows you to study in a relaxed way and without distractions
- Keep your study space clean and orderly, ideally with few visual stimuli that can distract you.
- Avoid noises and sounds that can deconcentrate you, if this is not possible, put on headphones or earplugs that muffle the sound or even a relaxing music or that favors your concentration (in many free platforms you can find a great variety, look for the one that best works for you).
Choose the time of day in which you are most productive, they usually recommend that you study first thing in the morning, since in theory it is when you are more “fresh”, but each person is a world and there are Those who prefer to study at noon, in the afternoon or even at dawn, the important thing is that you take advantage of those hours of greatest concentration of your brain.
Habits and routines , our brain works better when it carries out a routine, once you have found your “good” hours, create your study habit around them, that is, plan your meals , breaks and disconnection activities in a way that allows you to keep those key hours for your study "untouchable". Also, if you start and finish more or less always at the same time, it will be easier for you to focus on what you are doing at that moment.
A good study, of course, to successfully pass an exam it is necessary to study, but sometimes it is not enough just to be in front of the books and repeat the same thing a thousand times, In fact, that is sometimes even counterproductive. Some of the study techniques that work best are:
- Reading to understand the text and not to memorize it, it has been shown that when you understand something you have greater ease later to learn it.
- Make a summary in your own words, it is always easier to retain the information that you have prepared yourself.
- Underline the key or most important ideas to create an outline from the summary. That is, the idea is to go from more information to less.
- Try to write by hand both the summary and the diagrams and read them aloud, this way the information comes from several routes and is easier to retain.
- You can use different colors when underlining and writing the diagram, you can even make small drawings that help your photographic memory to later retrieve the information. Any help is welcome.
Now that you have the structured syllabus, it is time to memorize, the more you have understood the syllabus, the less you will have to do it, and that when preparing a test, especially one that has many topics, is time you save , and most importantly, you make it easier for you not to go blank (word-for-word memory is much more limited when you feel pressure).
- Use mnemonic rules or drawings to easily memorize the topic, there are countless of them, from shortening words, making lists, songs, ... to chaining nonsense opposite words to help their evocation (the ideal is to investigate and test until find the one that works best for you in each case).
As important as studying, it is to review and we often forget to give it the value it has. Once we have already studied something, we must review it so that it remains in memory and we do not have to study it again after a while.
- The reviews at the beginning are more continuous, and as we assimilate the content we will be able to space them more.
- Mock exams or self-assessments will help you to know in an objective way how you really carry the subject and therefore where you have to emphasize or review more.
breaks are also very important to give your brain a break so that it can disconnect and then continue to perform, it is useless to stick an informative binge if later it is going to be exhausted to continue the day following. Remember that the important thing is to learn and that takes a while. Our brain tends to lower performance after 45 minutes, but if you feel focused and it is spreading, even if it takes longer, don't stop until you notice the symptoms of fatigue, those “peaks” of concentration are good to take advantage of.
- It is recommended to rest for about 5-10 minutes for every 45 of study or about 15-20 minutes when we have already spent an hour and a half or more.
- Take advantage of breaks to interact with family and friends, this will improve your mood and help you perform better.
- Our brain needs to sleep between 6-8 hours to be able to settle and fix the knowledge. Not resting well all it does is increase anxiety and lower your ability to concentrate.
Exercise, it is proven that our brain works much better when the person is active, it is not necessary to do big marathons, it is enough to walk 30 min or some training that activates you. In this way, you will also take stress at bay and rest better when you sleep.
Food and drinking plenty of water also play a fundamental role when studying, the more nourished your brain is, the better you can do it.
- Vegetables (especially broccoli and carrots), due to their rich composition in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, help to keep the mind active.
- Dark chocolate (minimum 70%) improves memory and mental clarity thanks to flavonoids.
- Fruits (especially bananas and blueberries) reduce stress and improve concentration.
- Blue fish, avocado, walnuts and fatty acid supplements such as DHA , notably improve memory, increase concentration and optimize neural performance (study more easily). A good concentration of these acids is necessary for proper brain function, and these acids are also related to preventing memory loss in degenerative disorders.
In the words of Dr. Ana Fraile Oliva, nutrition specialist "It is important to have a diet" rich in legumes, fruit and vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats; and low in saturated fats and simple sugars, are the key to maintaining mental alertness and power of concentration.