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The Blog

Mindful Meditation: The New Way To Pass Your Exams

How do you study for exams? Are you a dead-silence type of person or do you concentrate better while classical music plays in the background? A new study published in the Psychological Science Journal confirmed a long-standing hypothesis that mindfulness helps improve your working memory capacity and significantly reduce the tendency of your mind to wander.

The Three Ms of Studying: Memory, Mindfulness, Minimum Mind Wandering

Studying is one of the most challenging intellectual tasks children and young adults face throughout their school and university years. In order to develop an efficient study routine, with long-term storage of the information studied, you need mindfulness, minimum mind wandering, and a well-functioning memory capacity.

The study conducted by University of California researchers looked into how mindfulness affects studying, and the subsequent exam scores. While the study focused on participants taking GRE exams, its findings are applicable to a wide range of other student exams, including IELTS, SAT, and GMAT exams.

The Exciting Findings: Mindfulness Improves Test Scores

It has been long known that a wandering mind, prone to distraction, is frequently the reason why we underperform on mentally challenging tasks such as exams. Our helplessness to stop ourselves drifting into thoughts and dreams unrelated to the task at hand severely compromises productivity, performance, and efficiency in many aspects of our lives. What starts out as an issue in school can lead to even more impact on our future professional lives.

The researchers at Santa Barbara found that after a two-week mindfulness intensive training program, those participating saw their memory capacity and their mindfulness improve. The experiment succeeded because it shows that practicing mindfulness substantially reduces the tendency of the mind to wander, making it easier for people to focus on the present moment and on what requires their full attention at that instant.

The proof of the positive outcome of the training program are found in the 48 university undergraduates’ GRE scores. The students were able to perform better in the reading comprehension section of the GRE exams they were asked to take. While prior to the mindfulness training program the undergraduate students’ average GRE score was 460, post training this score increased by 60 points, becoming 520.

The study confirms that mindfulness can help improve concentration and ultimately performance at any intellectually challenging task, as it helps eliminate mind wandering and improves working memory capacity. This is obviously very useful for students who are required to frequently take all sorts of exams.

Practicing Mindful Meditation

Mindfulness is a skill. It’s the ability to suppress the urge to let your mind wander to unrelated thoughts, and instead focus entirely on a given task. It’s a skill that can be learned through practice.

Sitting meditation is a popular practice that improves mindfulness. In this practice, you focus on slowly becoming aware of your present state of being, excluding all unrelated thoughts and feelings.

Find a quiet, relaxing environment and sit cross-legged (or in a position that is comfortable for a longer period of time). Close your eyes and slowly start paying attention to your body, your breath, how your hands touch your knees, the sound of your lungs breathing air in and out. Gradually, let every thought and task blur into the background, while you become entirely aware of how your body feels in the present moment.

For mindfulness to be successful, body, thoughts and breath need to be synced with the present moment. Start with breathing to anchor yourself into the present, introduce your body to the experience by inviting each sense in one by one, and lastly, clear your mind of anything related to either the future or the past.

With daily mindfulness practice you can gradually increase your overall mindfulness capacity and reap all the benefits this brings, from improved working memory to better performance for mentally challenging tasks.

3 Best Ways To Remember What You Read

We consume a lot of information daily, from print material to online blogs and sites. Our lives revolve around the ability to access and use these ever-increasing information sources. However, the information cannot stand by itself unless accurately processed and applied. In other words, how does information (ideas and concepts) become knowledge (useful resources)?Continue Reading…

Skills to Learn Today So You Still Have A Job Tomorrow

The cut-throat market competition due to globalization, the move towards outsourcing, and the need to maintain profitability in times of recession and spiking inflation means that many organizations have adopted cost-cutting measures. This simply means that employers are no longer interested in potential employees that are unable to add value to the organization. Having outdated skills and not being technologically updated can result in losing your job.Continue Reading…

Why Language Learners Should Be Interested in Nebraska

Nebraska is said to be the linguistic center of North America. Not because there’s some prestigious linguistics scholar residing there, but because linguistically this state is the very point where east, west, north and south collide.Continue Reading…

Tools and Tips to Keep Your Life Clutter Free

One of the basic reasons for a lack of productivity is the inability to focus on the task at hand. Lack of focus can come about due to many different reasons, but most have in common an unorganized system that does not allow you to think clearly. Just like you are unable to find the right pair of socks in a room that has not been cleaned for days, you are unlikely to find a way to work unless you have organized your personal and official issues systematically.Continue Reading…

What’s The Best Drink to Bring Out The Creative and Productive You?

Do you know what Dylan Thomas, Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams have in common? Besides having prolific and internationally-famous writing careers, they were all booze-lovers. Did their love of alcohol inspire their works, or was their talent an inherent gift? It seems that certain substances have the power to boost creativity and inspiration while others can enhance our productivity. Remembering that over-consumption of anything isn’t a good idea, you might find that your abilities get that extra boost from one of these drinks:Continue Reading…

We Can’t Stress It Enough – Reading Has Many Benefits, And Here Are 5 More

Merely reading your emails and twitter updates on a regular basis does not make you an good reader. Someone who has a regular habit of reading books, journals, magazines or other material – reading daily, and reading longer pieces – will be able to take advantage of the benefits that reading brings. Good reading skills help you in several ways, including getting an increase in vocabulary skills and greater knowledge regarding the world. However, reading benefits are not merely limited to these well-known results. The habit of daily reading can prove to have a beneficial impact on many aspects of your life.Continue Reading…

Why You Need to Write a Journal

Life is an endless journey and each day starts a new chapter in your life. But are you keeping track of your life and the different adventures that it brings?Continue Reading…

Time Tracking Apps – Do You Really Need Them?

Time tracking apps have been hailed as a must-have tool for individuals who cannot handle their workload and other responsibilities efficiently on their own. Businesses and freelance professionals use time tracking apps to better monitor their workload and the time spent on each project.Continue Reading…

Why Being Effective And Competent Is Better Than Being Popular

When you’re in your teens, you might feel like you’ve got to be popular in order to succeed. Some people make popularity a focus even in college and university. However, once you reach your mid-20s and move into the workforce, you’ll find that popularity isn’t the key to success. Popularity is a short-term prize. You’ll find yourself quickly disillusioned of the idea that popularity is the most important factor. Other skills and capacities turn out to be more valuable. In fact, being effective and competent is more crucial than being popular. Why, you ask?Continue Reading…