Fall finals and the long spring semester reminds us that learning is difficult. It takes effort to learn well–and that shouldn’t come as a surprise! Just like other muscles of the body, the brain needs to be exercised in order to grow. You wouldn’t expect to gain muscle mass or increase your fitness level without effort, and it’s no different when you begin to exercise your brain. The most growth happens when your brain is pushed to the limit! Whether you’re a student looking to increase your ability to learn effectively and raise your test scores or a parent looking for ways to help your student succeed, these brain training ideas will help you push your brain to new heights.
Practice Memory Exercises
When you sit down to take a test, a large portion of what you’re relying on to succeed is your memory. If you can’t rely on your memory, all of that studying turns out to be a lot of effort for minimal reward! Memory exercises might include:
- Making a list–a To Do list, a grocery list, or a list of items you need to remember to pack for a trip, for example–and seeing how many of the items on it you can remember without needing to look.
- Drawing or filling in a map from memory
- Playing that picture memory game from childhood
- Playing card games and board games to help increase your recall
- Going back over material that you studied about an hour before to see what you can recall once the information is no longer fresh in your mind
- Placing a number of items on a table, studying them for a minute, then turning your back while a friend or family member removes one or more. Can you remember what items were there?
You might not need creativity to help you with a multiple choice, or even a fill-in-the-blank option. Creativity, however, comes in handy with a vengeance when the time to comes to write those important essays or to work on a project. To increase your creativity, try a few simple exercises.
- Make a habit of creating something each week: a poem, a piece of artwork, a short story, or another creative option.
- Learn how to cook and explore new methods of preparing meals.
- Critique your own ideas so that you’ll do better with them next time.
- Be willing to try things that are off the wall, throwing out ideas that you’re fairly sure won’t work as part of the process. You might be surprised by what you come back around to use!
As you develop your creativity, you’ll find that the more creative you are, the better you’re able to handle other processing tasks, as well. Creative thinking allows your brain to accomplish more, so embrace it and start developing your creativity!
Improve Your Attention Span
It’s hard to study if you’re constantly bouncing from one task to the next, struggling to keep your mind on what you’re supposed to bedoing. Increasing your attention span can make a significant difference in your ability to complete important tasks for school, focus on what’s in front of you, and study hard enough to improve your test scores.
- Limit yourself to a single tab when you’re on the internet (unless you have multiple resources open to use as sources for a paper or essay). Resist the urge to jump from social media to another task.
- Increase your focus gradually. Commit to spending a little bit longer on your task each day until you’re able to improve it.
- Try meditation. It can have a significant impact on your ability to focus and concentrate.
- Exercise your body: when you’re in better physical shape, you’ll be better able to concentrate.
If you were lifting weights, you would recognize the moment when your body was exhausted and you could no longer participate in that exercise. Likewise, when your brain is doing a lot of heavy lifting, it may eventually need a break! Learn to recognize the signs of fatigue and to set aside those tasks when you start to see them. You won’t be able to learn effectively when every word looks the same and you’re starting to mix up similar concepts.
Training your brain is a critical part of increasing your ability to learn. If you want a school where every student is given the support they need to be able to learn effectively, contact us today to learn how we can create the ideal learning environment.