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5 study tips that should raise your test mark

By Felix Mbonderi

STUDYING is more than a haphazard act of flipping through a large chunk of pages and gazing down at charts, tables, and diagrams.

Real study is organized, stress-free and enjoyable. Most importantly, real study takes careful planning and it results in goals being achieved and huge satisfaction derived from the success.

Whether you’re studying towards an elementary examination, a high school test, a tertiary qualification or maybe even studying a driving school manual, the following five study tips are a must-know.

1. Chocolate tip

Eating chocolate while studying helps the brain retain studied material more easily. This is because eating chocolate or drinking hot chocolate improves blood flow to the brain, leading to higher data retention capacity. This is according to researchers at the Loma Linda University of California.

The brain is oxygen-hungry, and that oxygen is carried to the brain via blood. Chocolate pushes more blood to the brain and makes it function at higher capacity.

Well, of course there’s a downside tp everything. Chocolate has sugar content which health experts warn may not be good for you.

2. Chewing gum magic

If you chew a gum while studying, and chew the same flavour later on while writing a test, you could recall much of what you were studying! Don’t roll your eyes in disbelief; this is an old time trick.

Have you noticed that the mere smell of wild fruits may remind you of the years you were a kid going out in the woods picking up the fruits? The brain tends to remember things on the basis of colour, smell, feel, and of course taste.

Our brain when triggered by any of the five senses brings back memories that we associate with a certain event. Even your dog starts wagging its tail when you start some avtivitu it associates with meal time!

3. Studying your notes

If you take down notes, make the habit of always studying them within a day of taking them down. The reason for this is that data retention time is around 60 percent for events that happened on tj6e previous 24 hours. Thereafter, the graph slides down and you remember much less of what happened.

4. Don’t use for notes

Most people, for one reason or another, use Google for school-based research. It works most of the time, sure, but the best resource for educational material is This is a search library dedicated to verified scholarly material.

Anyone with a website and internet connection can publish information and search engines will pick that up. That’s why some of the information on the internet may be incorrect, wrong, and even inappropriate. is the place where all academic students must be found.

5. Recalling the value of ‘pi’

This tip applies to students of Mathematics from junior school level upwards. In case, you didn’t know, the value of the constant pi is 3.14159265358979… This is a mouthful, but a trick exists to help you remember the first few digits in this long number.

The statement “MAY I HAVE A LARGE CONTAINER OF COFFEE” does the trick. Simply count the letters in each word and you have the first eight letters of pi. Of course, you have to recall the position of the comma, which is between 3 and 1.

However, this is purely for fun as you mostly are not expected to recall the value of pi from your head. Most exams provide tables with values of constants. Some examinations allow the use of a scientific calculator.

In conclusion, study is meant to be fun, organized and planned. It’s never about randomly picking a book and flipping through it. You cannot walk in the dark and expect not to trip over and fall.

As they say, failing to plan is planning to fail. □

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