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Active recall – 60 second video

Video transcript –

Active recall is the process of recalling facts from memory.  A single test after reading some text produces better learning than re-reading the text or reviewing any notes. It turns out that re-reading text over and over again is in fact a very poor and ineffective way to study.

So how do you use active recall? Before opening any books or materials, start your study session by recalling everything you know about the topic, then check whether you were correct. Next, spend time studying the material.  At the end of the study session test yourself. Finally, leave a gap before re-testing yourself again. The gap needs to be long enough (maybe several days), so that you actually forget information that didn’t make it into long term memory. 

To be most effective repeat the active recall again and again in spaced out sessions. Not only is it an essential way to build strong long term memories but it also highlights exactly what you don’t know so you can focus on those areas of weakness.

Active recall is hard and feels less productive than re-reading, but the effort produces longer lasting learning and stronger long term memories.

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Exercise and memory – 6o second video

Exercise and memory

Video transcript –

Synapses are the connections between the neurons in your brain. Chemical and electrical signals pass across the synapses from cell to cell and the stronger the messages between your neurons, the stronger and more permanent your memories will be. Whilst repeating an action tends to make the signal between the cells stronger, stress can weaken your brains ability to retain information. 

It turns out that regular aerobic exercise appears to boost the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning. Exercising can mean that you retain information even under stressful conditions. As little as a 10-minute walk may be enough to increase the way your brain communicates between its regions and to enhance your ability to learn and remember. Exercise can also stimulate the release of chemicals in the brain that affect the health of brain cells and the growth of new blood vessels in the brain.

So when you are studying or preparing for an exam, make sure you plan regular exercise into your schedule.