How do I improve my memory and concentration?

Whether you’re looking for ways to improve your ability to learn during your everyday studies, or need some sure-fire ways to boost your memorisation come exam season, there are lots of brain-boosting techniques you can try out in order to supercharge your memory and concentration.

Divide up the work

Sometimes it can be difficult to motivate yourself when faced with a really big or difficult task. The best solution is to break it down into smaller pieces, planning out the various stages that need completing before you start. This way, you’ll know what needs doing and you’ll get a good sense of progress as you work.

Get rid of distractions

It’s really hard to focus when the TV’s blaring, the radio’s on or there’s lots going on in the place you’re working, so try and get rid of the distractions. Also, concentrating is easiest when you’re in a quiet, comfortable place, so play around with how you study – sitting, standing or lying down; inside or outside; with lots of light or without – and find a method that helps you concentrate.

How to improve your memory and concentration

Regular breaks

Sometimes we simply need to give our brains a break, so instead of pushing on studying when you know you’re getting worn out, take a ten-minute break instead. Studies have shown that doing exercise can improve memory and concentration, so get outside and enjoy some fresh air. You’ll come back to your studies refreshed and ready to focus again.

Get lots of sleep

It’s an accepted fact that if you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll find it harder to concentrate, learn and retain information. The trick is pretty simple – get some sleep! Most people between the age of five and 11 need 10 to 12 hours of sleep per night, while 11 to 18-year-olds need 8 to 10 hours.

How to improve your memory through sleep

Don’t multitask

Sometimes, particularly when there’s a lot of work to be done, it can be hard to resist the urge to multitask and try and get lots of jobs done at once. This is best avoided though, as in essence, you’re dividing up the amount of brain power you have available to a given task, meaning you might miss out on important bits of information.

Meditate and reduce stress

Plenty of scientific studies have shown the benefits of sitting silently, eyes closed and mind focused on the present. One of the biggest benefits associated with this is that it can dramatically reduce stress levels – a factor that’s been proven to exacerbate tiredness and reduce memory retention.

How to improve memory through meditation

Memory games

Improving your ability to remember doesn’t have to be a chore – there are hundreds of games you can play to exercise your brain and improve memory out there, including the following.

There are card games where you have to match pairs or groups of face-down cards, flipping two each turn and reverting them face-down if they’re not a pair.

You could also place a number of small, random items on a tray, memorise the items for a minute, then cover the tray, listing as many of the items as you can remember in a given time period.

Then there’s two-player games, such as Memory Master, where one player stares at a picture (magazines, books or photos all work) for a minute, after which the second player quizzes them on aspects of the picture.

Memory matters with revision. Click here to learn how to revise for maths, English and science, or click here to see all of our guides.

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