We all know some of the best ways to revise, from getting lots of sleep and giving yourself enough time. But what about sniffing lemons and tweaking your ear?
Queen Annes School near Reading has spent time working with neuroscientists to try and work out how teenage brains work and how you can use this to revise better. This is all part of the BrainCan Do programme.
BrainCanDo is a programme that is dedicated to trying to understand how neuroscience research can be used in education to try and maximise learning outcomes.In laymans language it is about better understanding the bain so that all students can achieve their full potential.The research is supported by the University of Oxford, University of Reading and the University of London.
One of the key ideas from the research is that students should unlock their memory is an exam by using a trigger action, this could be sniffing a lemon or tugging at your ear. A lemon was chosen as smell is a very strong sense and lemons are readily available in most countries. The idea is that the trigger will then produce positive emotions and help you get your brain and memory working.The idea here is to create a' repetitive pairing'. The way to prepare for this is to use your trigger-smelling a lemon for example and spend 5 minutes thinking happy positive thoughts. When you are then in your exam you can use your trigger which will then unlock the positive thoughts that will help you perform well.
Research conducted by the Kavli Institute for Systems neuroscience in Norway have been working on why smell is such a powerful sense for how memory works.They have concluded that the brain connects smell to memories through process where neural networks are linked through brain waves. Essentially brain waves make smells stick to our memories and inner maps.This is why smelling a lemon can evoke such powerful confident memories which research suggests can then help you in that exam situation.
Other tips from the research include revising at a similar time to your exam . This ensures that your body and mind are used to producing results at a certain time of day. revising late into the night is not recommended for the best revision. Revise in small chunks rather than cramming as this allows the brain to digest information. Test yourself with either flashcards or past papers. The research also advises students to familiarise themselves with the room they will doing their exams in, avoiding negative people before exams and finally, sleep is essential. The researchers however are keen to point out that all people are different and different techniques can work with different people.