You cram for the NCIDQ Exam night after night at your kitchen table. Or at your desk at work.
But when it comes time to take the test, you blank out. You can’t remember half of what you studied!
Test success depends on how well you retain information. In his book How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why It Happens, Benedict Carey teaches that when you understand how your brain forms memories, you can use this information to develop effective study routines.
You don’t have to be a psychologist or neuroscientist to trigger your brain to retain more information or to be able to recall more of that knowledge during tests.
There’s a reason you can so vividly remember picnics in your aunt’s lavender garden, or but you can’t remember how to calculate the correct number of exits per occupancy. This is because different memories form in different areas of the brain. So memories with multiple stimuli (sight, sound, smell, touch) involve many neural networks. More neural connections in more places in the brain lead to better recall.
Studying from a book has its benefits – but to really improve your ability to remember the material, add other stimuli.
Add a sensory experience. Add a scent to your NCIDQ study sessions. For example, wear a particular perfume when you study, breathe in a fragrant tea, or light a scented candle. This will help store your study session in more than one area of your brain.
Reading from a book or study guide is a relatively passive activity. Instead, add neural stimuli by taking short breaks to quiz yourself. Information alone won't lead to action — knowledge is only as good as its application. Qpractice makes this easy with content area and building code quizzes.
Instead of cramming, try to space out your study sessions throughout the day and throughout the week.
Stir up some neural stimulation by varying how you study. Qpractice gives you lots of options to mix your tactics with print, digital, written, video, study groups, and live chat.
Do you habitually study for the NCIDQ Exam in front of the TV? It might be time for a change of pace. Take your study material somewhere quiet to eliminate distractions and better focus on the material.
Change your environment, change your study outcomes.
Nate Kornell, a professor of psychology at Williams College, believes that if we study in different environments, we will remember different environments. In fact, we retrieve memories based on cues in our environment.
This goes back to the “multiple stimuli” issue. Different environments have different cues. Different cues (memories) are stored in different areas of the brain. The more areas of the brain you can stimulate with new memories, the more likely you will recall the information when test time comes around.
A 1978 experiment found that college students who studied a list of 40 vocabulary words in two different rooms did better on a test than students who studied the words twice in the same room.
So change up your study scene. If you typically study in your living room, take it to the library for an evening. If you like to study in a coffee shop, shift gears and try out your kitchen table.
Because Qpractice is all online, mixing up your study environment is easy to do. You can access all the NCIDQ study materials from home, work, library, the coffee shop at any time of day or night.
Memory retention and recall might be the brain’s responsibility – but you are the boss of your brain! Remember to generate more stimuli during study sessions and change up your environment for better study results.
Qpractice Premium Access members get the mini-course with audio and bonus lessons.
- What one trick will you'll use to spice up your memories?
- How will you change up your study scene?