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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

5 Best Hacks to Improve Your Working Memory

5 of the best hacks that you can implement to improve your working memory

Guest post by Justin Goh (Share your insight with 56,000+ Malaysian students)

You might find a strange similarity between your brain and your computer hard-disk but in reality, it doesn’t exactly work that way. Some will say that it works like RAM (RAM is a form of volatile memory where data is stored temporarily over time. You switch it off and it loses all its data) which might seem true to a certain extent.

But how do you explain all that feeling of nostalgia you get in specific circumstances if your brain does indeed work like RAM? You see a child going on a merry-go-round and you immediately start reminiscing certain pleasant scenes of your childhood as a result of that. Now how do you explain that?

You honestly can’t. Your brain’s not RAM or ROM; it’s something more. The more you use it, the sharper it’s going to be over time. Here are 10 of the best hacks that you, as a student can use to improve your working memory. Let’s go through them without further ado.

1. Crosswords can be an ace in the hole for you

Young man sitting on sofa doing crossword puzzle in newspaper back view
Crossword puzzles can be an excellent cognitive exercise for you if you do them periodically in a relaxed state of mind.

The practice of solving crosswords can greatly improve your working memory. You will be able to retain information for a longer period of time and can also recall them whenever you want depending on your requirements.

So practice them periodically and religiously to improve your cognitive skills and working memory. If it gets too easy for you, switch over to a different one. Yep, sudokus can do the trick as well.

2. Jigsaw puzzles aren’t that simple if you can use the right way

Jigsaw puzzle game background
You might think that jigsaw puzzles are meant only for the kids or toddlers but no, they definitely aren’t. You just have to find the ones that are meant specifically for you (to be more specific, I should say the “older kids”).

Jigsaw puzzles are a great way to improve your short-term memory and your critical problem-solving skills. The more the pieces, the greater is the benefit. So are you for it? You definitely should be.

3. Video games help you to multi-task

Boys playing video game console
Video games aren’t always that bad that you might think they are. Yes, too much video gaming can definitely hurt your studies but that shouldn’t portray “total” negativity, especially when video games are concerned.

Video games can improve your multi-tasking abilities. Now that is something that can make you a standout among the crowd, especially in your professional life.

Always remember that your multi-tasking skills are directly linked to that of your working memory. So you see you’ll always be at a benefit if you are able to “play” it the right way.

P.S. Too many hours of video gaming is STILL not recommended. An hour here and there is what’s recommended unless you’re on a vacation.

4. Learn a shopping game

Shopping bag with many items on sale
“Peg words”- Do you know what these are?

This is a remembrance technique where words are linked rhythmically with numbers to work in the form of a memory-aid. You can inculcate this tactic to improve your working memory. You can use the aid of peg words to memorize things better.

So how can use this tactic to great effects? You can use this tactic in the form of a “shopping game.” Try to remember small shopping lists through the use of peg words. Here’s an example,

If you are going out to buy yourself a pair of shoe, you can make a poem like “one two buckle my shoe” to remember the same.

These practices may look too petty on the hindsight but it can go a long way indeed if you keep on practicing them religiously every day.

5. Play a memory game with your friends or colleagues

Doodling infographic
If you are present in a group, you can play some sort of a memory game with your friends to improve your working memory over time.

A memory game is fun to play and it doesn’t even cost you a dime. Here’s how you do it.

You start with the name of any object say, “birds.” The person next to you will have to repeat the same and add another one of his/her own (like tiger). The next person will have to repeat from the start i.e. birds, tiger and then add one of his/own (say cheetah).

This will continue. The person who fails to recall the series perfectly at a stage is disqualified at that stage itself. This is a beautiful game indeed and can actually improve your working memory over time. Moreover, it’s fun; so is there anything not to like? Guess not!

So that’s it then. Hope the hacks or the games mentioned above come in handy for you. With that, I’ll sign off for the time being. Hope you had a great read.

Justin Goh
Justin Goh is a former teacher and prolific writer, penning blogs to help the parents, students and the educators alike. Regularly contributing articles for MyPrivateTutor Malaysia, he prefers to write on varying aspects of education ranging from learning strategies and preparation tips to the ways to reach out to the students better.
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