1. Get moving
Multiple studies, including this one published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, suggest that exercise can help improve memory. Factor in at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise a couple times a week to get your blood pumping.
2. Close the textbook
This might be counter intuitive advice but the findings of a study by assistant professor of psychology at Purdue University, Jeffrey D. Karpicke encourage you to close the textbook. The results suggest that instead reading and rereading information, after reading information once you should attempt to actively recall what you just read from memory. This method is proved especially helpful for science subjects.
3. Take Breaks
A study done at the University of Illinois found that taking a break from studying every hour learn better than students who study without a break. Instead of exposing your brain to continuous stimuli, divert your attention to something else every hour. While even watching a YouTube video would suffice, moving around for 15 minutes would be even better.
4. Test Yourself
Don't trick yourself into believing that you know the material by simply rereading chapters, ensure that you remember and help yourself retain information by testing yourself. Not only will you be able to identify gaps in your knowledge, but research also shows that testing yourself helps you recall information.
5. Skip All-Nighters
It may be tempting to stay up all night studying before a big test, but you'll likely do yourself more harm than good. Not only do many studies suggest that sleep is important for learning and memory, but research also indicates that the negative effects of an all-nighter last up to 4 days after. Don't sacrifice days of proper brain function for one night of learning a little bit of extra information.
6. Stick to Pen and Paper
In the age of everything digital, don't forget the power of the pen. Studies show that students who take handwritten notes learn better than those who typed their notes on their computer. Additionally, some studies propose there are benefits of reading on print (in this case, handwritten notes), versus reading digitally which leads to slower reading speed and less recall.
7. Stay Hydrated
Water is essential for many physiological processes and memory is no exception. Dehydration can impair your long and short-term memory. Stay hydrated by consuming enough water-containing foods and beverages throughout the day.
8. Power Pose
You've done all your studying and it's time to take the test. At this point, confidence in yourself is key. This is where the "power pose" comes into play. The idea behind this concept is similar to "fake it till you make it". It takes advantage of the mind-body connection by asking you to put your hands on your hips, hold a wide-stance, stand up straight, put your shoulders back and head high, like Superman would. This is said to reduce stress hormones and increase confidence.