How YOU Can Improve Your Memory

Argh! I can’t remember what I’ve read yesterday! Ridiculous!” Ever experienced this? Sometimes we just find ourselves forgetting what we think we will never forget. Isn’t it annoying? So, what we can do about this? Is there anything that we can do to mitigate the process of forgetting? Or are we all destined to forget everything we have learnt? Well, both yes and no. In this post, I will show you how YOU (yes, you) can improve your memory. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter so you’ll never ever miss any new articles!

#1: Focus!

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In my previous articles, I touched on the fact that the brain is simply unable to multitask and that trying to do so will only kill your productivity. This applies to memory as well. Doing more than two things at once affects how your mind encodes information. Often, we find ourselves forgetting what we have learnt or read and we blame it on our mind’s inability to recall information. Let me ask you this question. How can your mind forget something that was not even stored in your brain in the first place? Well, stop blaming your poor brain. Instead, amend your bad habits. Let’s say that you want to study a chapter of Chemistry today. To facilitate a conducive learning environment, you should place all your electronic devices somewhere inaccessible, perhaps in a locked drawer. Furthermore, practice mindfulness when you study. This means staying focused and motivated with your work at hand. (No daydreaming!) This allows your mind to absorb information much more readily.

#2: Method of Association – Using Mnemonics and Acronyms

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The mind is an efficient machine. In other words, your mind will instantly delete anything it deems useless so as to ensure the healthy functioning of the brain. This also effectively prevents information overload as it allows the individual to only remember what he/she needs for survival. This can be both good and bad. Sometimes, your mind interprets what you think is useful as trash and the vice versa is true as well. Why is it that we can remember the embarrassing moments of the past without flaw, while we struggle to remember what we have read as recently as a day ago? This is because your mind places different degrees of importance on different memories. Let’s say you tripped and fell due to a plastic bag on the ground a year ago. I bet you will most likely recall this event today! In this case, this is because your brain has judged this memory as essential to your survival, thus effectively preventing you from making the same mistake again. Do you remember the times when people laughed at you? I can confidently say that you do as well! So why is it that your brain still retains such humiliating memories? In the early history of mankind, being part of a group was a matter of life and death. Being alone only increases one’s chances of being lost and being hunted by predatory animals. As a result, our minds have evolved to prioritise social cohesion and that aforementioned memory (the one about you being laughed to death by others) helps you to understand the minds of others and spurs you to fit in. Meanwhile, our minds have developed to appreciate humour, with the same purpose of helping one build friendships and social connections with other fellow humans.

So what does this have to do with improving our memory? To retain information much more effectively, we can learn to take full advantage of the evolutionary features of our brains. We can do this by using acronyms to represent lists or sentences. The funnier and weirder the acronym, the better the recall effectiveness. You could also utilise rhymes to remember certain information. For instance, “A knight on the rim is grim.” helps chess players remember that a knight is most powerful in the centre of the board.

#3: Taking Omega-3 Supplements

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Our brains are about 60% fat. The architecture of our minds are such that we require an adequate amount of fatty acids to sustain its performance. Omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in this. Research has shown that consumption of Omega-3 fatty acids, which include Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), help to build cell membranes and prevent inflammation in the body. Meanwhile, Omega-3 fatty acids are key components in the myelin sheaths of neurones, which insulates nerve fibres and increases transmission speed of nerve impulses. This boosts memory formation and increases the processing speed of the mind. In fact, the consumption of Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to prevent certain psychotic disorders such as depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Conclusion

I hope that this article gave you insights into the inner machinations of the brain and how you can improve your memory. If you did enjoy this article or have found it useful, do consider giving it a like! Do follow me if you haven’t done so! Stay tuned for more articles and thanks for reading!

Social Media: The Dark Side

There is a good, bad or ugly side to almost anything and everything in the universe. Social media is no exception. However, in this case, social media has the darkest side of them all. There has been numerous cases of men and women alike developing psychological illnesses such as depression and other psychotic disorders due to their obsessive and compulsive usage of social media. But why is this so? Why is it that so many people have fallen to vanity? What does this mean for our mental health? In this article, we shall discuss and explore the dark side of social media, but be warned, it is a place you wouldn’t want to end up in, ever. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter!

A New Age

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The invention of the internet has allowed much to be accomplished in the history of mankind. We can now work and share with others in real time. Knowledge can be accessed simply by doing a simple search on Google. And In the midst of all this achievements and breakthroughs, social media was born. In the early stages of the internet, chatrooms and forums were the main platforms for communication for the numerous netizens around the world. As time passed and as the internet became more advanced, social media platforms with higher degrees of complexity and capability were introduced, the notable two being Facebook and Instagram, which has greatly shaped the modern world as we know it today. And in the present world, social media has become a ubiquitous element in most of our lives and it will continue to be so.

The Dark Side Revealed

Source: https://www.thecabinchiangmai.com/blog/social-media-and-depression/

As usage of social media increased over the years, we have become increasingly reliant on social media for communication. We no longer send letters to our relatives and friends. Instead, all one has to do is click on WhatsApp, type out his/her message and click “send”. It’s that simple. Meanwhile, on public sharing platforms like Instagram and Facebook, it is equally easy to post a photo of yourself and comment on the post of others. Here’s where chaos begins. Many men and women become obsessed with putting their pictures up online for others to admire, while others do so out of vanity. At the same time, users of such platforms begin to judge a person’s worth through appearances alone. In the minds of such users, thoughts like these start to pop up. “She looks pretty, so I’m going to give her a like.” “This one doesn’t look as good, I’ll pass.” These thoughts gradually alter the ways in which these users think. In other words, these unhealthy habit has rewired their minds to calculate the respect they should give another person based on appearances and looks alone. Meanwhile, cyberbullying has taken a new turn. All it takes is a single comment to begin the onslaught. Many begin to target the appearances of others and in turn comment nasty remarks to taunt them. Furthermore, it is now extremely easy to pass on rumours of another person, often with the intent of slandering or demeaning the target in question. As these comments and nasty remarks begin to snowball and accumulate, the person at the receiving end often faces feelings of distress and helplessness. The victim is unable to understand why he/she deserves such treatment and plunges close to the threshold of depression. And eventually, without timely assistance, such scenarios can end with an unfortunate suicide. This problem is especially prevalent among the youth today. It is because of these above reasons that social media has a bad reputation for bring out the worst in humans, who may seem friendly upfront but are deadly and fatal when given a keyboard.

The Takeaway

The world is a chaotic place. Be wary not to blindly follow the crowds. At the same time, learn to keep your emotions on a leash. Do not fall prey to your emotions and subconscious desires. Rather, use the gift that you have been granted at the moment of your birth: Rational thinking. Without it, we are nothing but animals, living in the present, slaves to emotions and carnal desires. This applies to social media as well. Do not fall into the trap of judging the self-worth of yourself and others based on appearances, as they are often deceiving. At the same time, learn not to crave it, as the desire for the flesh often leads to the destructive path to lust. Not only will you lose your mind in the process, but you may very well lose your life and your loved ones as well.

Here’s How You Can Ace Your Exams

Many of us fear exams and the risk of going “blank”. With so much to do in school, how do we deal with and prepare for exams? Is there any secret to acing your exams? Well, there isn’t a fixed formula, but this article will provide some tips which you can use for your exam preparation. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter!

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#1: Start Revision Early

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Time is of the essence and procrastination is not an option. Starting revision early is one of the best ways to do well for your exam. The reason for this is that your mind requires time to process the knowledge which it has absorbed. Furthermore, many exams such as that of Biology and Geography have enormous amounts of content, which are impossible to memorise in short periods of time. By spreading your revision time out over a longer period of time (I’m talking months), you will feel less stressed and have more time for other activities. This also gives more room for potential procrastination lapses and allows for more flexible planning. Take my advise and don’t cram. Cramming never works as your mind is not able to take large amounts of information in a single sitting. Information will just end up overwriting other information and you will not be able to remember anything. In fact, the forgetting curve, founded by Hermann Ebbinghaus, estimates that 70% of learned information is forgotten the next day. You might be able to remember everything the day before the exam, but you won’t be able to recall anything the next day.

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#2: Don’t Memorise Blindly

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Of course, memory is important. However, memorising blindly can do more harm to your test scores than good. It’s like having the material to build a house, but not having the blueprints to do so. Likewise, before memorising any content, do ensure that you have a clear understanding of the concepts behind it. For example, you could first read your textbook one or two times and check if you are able to understand its concepts. In the event that you do not understand any part of the textbook or material, do seek help from your teacher or instructor as soon as possible. Only after you are able to understand the concepts should you start memorising the content. This helps to facilitate better memory and recall. As Warren Buffet once said, “Risk comes from not knowing what you are doing.” Memory and understanding go hand in hand. You cannot memorise without understanding what you are memorising

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#3: Use Flashcards

Source: https://www.chegg.com/play/life-hacks/productivity/flashcards-yay-nay/

Flashcards are a great tool for assessing how much you know and how much you don’t know. This helps you to identify your weaknesses and work on them. Using this strategy increases your efficiency manifold, as you spend less time working on what you already know and have memorised, and spend more time on what you don’t know and have forgotten. This is the exact reason why highlighting your notes and rereading your textbook is useless. This method, which uses passive recall, does none of the things flashcards can do. The danger of merely rereading your textbook lies in the illusion of understanding, where you might end up confusing fluency of the text with understanding. You simply have no idea of what you know and don’t know. Flashcards, on the other hand, use the concept of active recall, which prepares your mind for potential question-and-answer scenarios and strengthens retrieval pathways.

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Conclusion

This post is a short one, but I hope that the tips were of help to your exam preparation. The key to acing your exams is not intelligence, but rather your study strategy. To learn is not enough. We need to learn how to learn.

If you did enjoy this post, do consider giving it a like! Do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter if you haven’t done so! Stay tuned for more articles!

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Mathematics Is More Important Than You Think

Most of us have ended up hating Mathematics in high school. It’s probably because Trigonometry and Calculus got on our nerves, or because some equations were just plain annoying. In the end, we might have told ourselves that Mathematics is nothing more than a torture device. But what if I told you that Mathematics has a greater purpose? In this article, we shall discuss the importance of Mathematics and why it is of paramount importance to the world. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter (enter your email in the newsletter registration section of my homepage). Without further ado, let’s begin the discussion.

#1: Mathematics Is The Foundation Of The Sciences

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There is a reason as to why you learn Mathematics before you learn Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Mathematics serves as the foundation for the sciences and helps to build up basic problem thinking skills, before you start tackling harder problems. For example, without a good understanding of ratio, you would not be able to understand the basic workings of stoichiometry in Chemistry. Furthermore, without the ability to solve equations and understand graphs, you would not be able to apply Newton’s Laws of Motion and the principles of kinematics.

#2: Mathematics Helps Us To Better Understand The World

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The universe is ours to explore, but without the right tools, it is simply impossible. Mathematics helps to make sense of the world around and create new inventions. As mentioned earlier, it is the backbone of Engineering, Physics, Biology, Astronomy and many other sciences. With an understanding of Mathematics, we will be able to build complex machinery, spacecraft and satellites which will help us to explore the universe. Even the computer you are using right now is a creation of Mathematics. Let us take Isaac Newton for an example. To express his discoveries, he had to make use of equations and even invent a whole new branch of Mathematics, Calculus. Mathematics is the common language for all people on Earth, thereby uniting the human race in the common effort for further discoveries and the exploration of our universe.

Conclusion

So this wraps up my 4th article for the week. I decided to touch on the topic of Mathematics in this article, as I frequently notice that many of my friends dislike Mathematics for its complexity and tediousness. Mathematics, of course, can be complex and tedious at times. However, it has so many uses and its benefits for the human race are simply astronomical. I hope that this article, albeit quite short, convinces you of the importance and usefulness of Mathematics, and I hope that this will spur you to enjoy it. If you did enjoy this article, do consider giving it a like. Do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter if you haven’t done so. Stay tuned for my next article!

Here’s Why You Should Listen To Classical Music

So, many of you might have noticed that is the 3rd post for this week. You might ask, “What? I thought you said that you would be only blogging once every two weeks or sometimes maybe once a week?” (check out my blogging plans for 2021 at https://bestofwrite.com/2020/12/28/my-blogging-plan-for-2021/) Well, I figured that since I have some free time, why not blog? After all, it’s my passion!


Right, so let’s focus on the subject matter at hand. For this post, let us discuss the reasons as to why you should try listening to classical music. For instance, classical music has been shown to stimulate the mind and improve sleep quality. I personally listen to classical and orchestral music whenever I read or complete a task. You might say, “Hey! Classical music is boring and old! How could I possibly enjoy it?” While it is true that classical music might be considered old, they are gems of the past and are worth listening to. This article will show you why. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter. (Do fill in your email in the newsletter registration section of the website) Without further ado, let’s begin.

#1: It Improves Sleep

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Studies have shown that listening to classical music helps to improve sleep. It helps to relax the mind and remove anxiety, thereby making sleeping easier. Research has shown that listening to classical music reduces nervous system activity, decreases anxiety and blood pressure. It helps to distract you from your thoughts and relaxes your muscles, getting you in the mood to sleep. This effect is corroborated and confirmed by the fact that children of all ages, including infants and school-going children, sleep better after listening to relaxing, classical music. Below is a list containing some of the best pieces of relaxing classical music to help you sleep.

  • Claire de Lune by Claude Debussy
  • Spiegel im Spiegel by Arvo Pärt
  • Gymnopédie No.1 by Erik Satie
  • Nocturne No.2, Op.9 by Chopin
  • Moonlight Sonata, 1st movement by Beethoven

#2: It Improves Memory

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As mentioned above, the relaxing effect of classical music not only helps to improve sleep, but also improves memory. Have you ever wondered why it is so difficult to memorise or learn something when you feel stressed? You’re not alone. Anxiety makes memory formation and retrieval more difficult, and stress has been shown to be one of the prominent causes of neurone death. Yes, you saw it correctly. Stress has been shown to kill brain cells and reduce their ability to function properly. On the other hand, listening to classical music has been shown to enhance memory retrieval and helps to trigger and strengthen neural pathways, thereby strengthening synapses between the respective neurones.

“Neurones that fire together, wire together.”

Donald Hebb

#3: They Are Precious Relics Of History

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There is a reason to why classical music was able to stand the test of time. Some of the greatest classics still continue to be played and enjoyed by many. The classical period has produced some of the most legendary pieces of all time, which never fail to captivate audiences and listeners of every age. In fact, many of these pieces are used as background music in movies and musicians of all kinds are required to study them, with good reason.

Conclusion

Classical music still plays an important role in the evolution of culture and heritage. For many, it has become an integral part of their lives, something they can’t live without. For musicians, the classical period is an essential part of musical history that has helped to shape our overall understanding of music and its associated cultures. This is exactly why classical music is something you and I should listen to. If you did enjoy this post, do consider giving it a like! Do follow me and subscribe my newsletter if you haven’t done so. Stay tuned for my next articles!

Never Give Up Easily

All of us have been, from time to time, tempted to throw in the towel. At times, your mind tells you that your persistence and efforts are futile. However, it is exactly because of this that many men fail in their pursuit of success. In this article, we shall discuss why you should never give up easily and how you can reach success, day by day. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter! Without further ado, let’s begin.

The Key to Success

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The key to success is unyielding persistence. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Likewise, success doesn’t just come overnight. Instead, it is the product of years, or even decades of hard work. We can see this even in nature. Planets take years to form, while our brain requires time to consolidate short term memory into long term memory. The moral of the story is this: Nothing comes immediately, and certainly not success!

“I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Thomas Edison

With that in mind, let us understand that we must approach success one step at a time, day by day. This leads to my next point, and that is consistency. In our pursuit of success, we might not be able to see results immediately and this can be quite frustrating for many. Patience, consistency and delayed gratification are, in fact, very closely linked and they are the keys to success. Consider someone who is trying to develop the habit of reading. After 30 days of daily reading, he/she might complain that he/she finds the habit hard to maintain and might struggle to stay motivated. However, perhaps after a year, he/she, after consistent daily reading, would have gotten used to the habit of reading and would find it effortless.

Source: https://www.studypug.com/algebra-help/find-an-exponential-function-given-its-graph

Let us consider an exponential function as an analogy. The image above shows an example of such. Take a look at the graph at its beginning. Initially, the graph has a very low gradient and it doesn’t look like it’s going to increase much. However, as the x-values increase, the graph gradually becomes steeper and its gradient gradually becomes higher. This applies to life as well. Initially, we might feel like nothing is gained and that we’re not moving in any direction. However, with time, success becomes nearer and more attainable.

Consistency

Of course, to move towards success, we have to consistently move towards it each day. Conducting a habit of reading or writing everyday, for example, ensures that your writing skills are improving every single day, albeit slowly at first. This might sound daunting, but this is what delayed gratification is all about – trusting the process. Worry about success later, just do what you can do everyday, consistently. Whenever you feel like giving up, remember that failure and struggles are part and parcel of the journey to success. Strive for excellence and be consistent, and success will follow.

“Pursue excellence, and success will follow, pants down.”

Rancho in 3 Idiots

Conclusion

So this wraps up my short post for today. I got inspired by the hit Bollywood movie 3 Idiots and decided to discuss the importance of persistence. As long as you love what you do, never give up on it. Too many people give up too fast and wash all their effort down the drain. Never allow yourself to falter easily and forge forwards. The hardest roads in life often lead to the most beautiful destinations. If you did enjoy this post, do consider giving it a like! Follow me and subscribe to the newsletter if you haven’t done so! Stay tuned for more!

Here’s How You Can Increase Your Productivity

It’s easy to get distracted. A notification alert from your mobile phone is enough to throw you off course. We end up procrastinating and we never get our tasks done. So, how do we increase our productivity? This article will show you exactly how to. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter. Without further ado, let’s hop right in!

#1: Clear Your Surroundings

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By getting rid of potential causes of distraction, you are better able to focus on your task at hand. Can’t stand that mobile phone? Put it in a separate room. Can’t stop fiddling with markers? Chuck them away. It’s that simple. Still find that you can’t focus at home? Find an environment that suits you. It could be the local Starbucks, a public sitting area or even the park.

#2: Download Apps That Lock Your Phone Temporarily

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For this, I recommend Forest. Forest is an excellent productivity that locks your phone for a selected time. While your device is locked, the app will “grow” a virtual tree, which will be added to your garden. However, using your phone before the timer ends kills the tree. This app provides you with additional incentive to complete your tasks and stay off your phone. At first, this might seem hard to accomplish. However, seeing your trees in your garden will provide you with an unrivalled sense of satisfaction and achievement.

#3: Listen To Music

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You might have thought that steps #1 and #2 were enough. However, the silence of your surroundings can be incredibly unbearable. Music helps to fill this void and quietens your mind, thereby providing you with concentration. Of course, the choice of your music matters too. Take care not to choose music that would distract you. For example, listening to rock music makes some people tap to its rhythm. I personally recommend listening to classical or orchestral music.

#4: Avoid Multitasking

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Believe it or not, when you multitask, you actually aren’t multitasking. Mind blown? What you really are doing is switch-tasking. By nature, the mind is unable to focus on two or more items at once. So, by “multitasking”, you are shifting your attention constantly from one item to another. Naturally, the quality of your work diminishes. The solution to this problem is completing your tasks in a straight line. In fact, this is a tactic used by Samurai warriors when they are outnumbered. They will position themselves in such a way that their opponents would move in a straight line towards them. This allows the Samurai to focus on one opponent at a time. This concept can also be applied to our daily lives. Instead of overwhelming ourselves, let us focus on one task at once.

Conclusion

So that wraps up 4 ways you can increase your productivity. We all know staying focused isn’t easy sometimes and that our distractions can get the better of us. I hope that this article was helpful to you and if it was so, do consider giving it a like! Thanks for reading and stay tuned for my next post!

Here’s Why You Should Listen To Music

Listening to music is something many of us do to counteract boredom and for good reason. Many of us subscribe to Spotify and Deezer, while others listen to the radio. Indeed, music is an integral part of our lives. Many of us wouldn’t be able to live without it. But did you know that it has many benefits? This article will show you why you should listen to music. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter! Without further ado, let’s hop right in!

#1: Music Brings Us To Other Worlds

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You could be listening to Vivaldi, Beethoven or Taylor Swift. Music offers us a break from our hectic lifestyles and brings us to other worlds. As you listen to Vivaldi’s pieces, you might imagine and contemplate the beauty of the four seasons. Meanwhile, Richard Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries gives you the feeling of adventure and excitement. You could feel like Rambo eating that sandwich or Indiana Jones driving to work. I am unable to account for all genres of music, but you get what I mean.

#2: Music Boosts Memory

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The brain is a muscle. Use it and it grows; leave it and it atrophies. Music stimulates many parts of the mind. Like reading, listening to music ensures that our minds are in top shape and running well. Improved memory also comes with reduced stress and anxiety, which we will touch in point #3.

#3: It Relieves Stress and Anxiety

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Music shifts our attention away from our surroundings. Our feelings of stress and anxiety fades away as we listen to the music we love. For example, some intense orchestral tracks might make you feel like you’re saving the world. On the other hand, tracks with a slow tempo might help you to relax.

#4: Provides Concentration

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I think we can all agree that silence can be very grating and unbearable at times. We start to become distracted by just about everything in our surroundings. This is especially true when we feel unmotivated to complete our tasks or assignments. Slipping on a pair of headphones, however, solves this problem. The music you are listening to shuts out the world around you and focusing becomes much easier. Now Math homework feels like Mission Impossible. (Not because the Math is impossible, mind you, but rather because of the intensity of the movies)

Conclusion

Listening to music is part of being human. Our ancestors understood the value and significance of music as a form of communication, a form of enjoyment and a form of entertainment. What’s stopping us from doing the same? If this article was a good read, do consider giving it a like! Thanks for reading and stay tuned for my next post!

Why Exams Are Useless

Exam” is a four-letter dirty word no student wants to hear. Ever since its inception, it has been associated with stress and competition. Many students dread the daily trip to school all because of it. It’s also frightening to see the school curiculum revolving around exam preparation and nothing more. In my opinion, examinations themselves are not the problem as they also serve as a method for students to gauge their learning ability. What renders exams useless is the way society views exams. To most people, grades are all there is to an exam and failure is not an option. As a result, many take an exam for the sake of taking it or just to attain a grade to show off to everyone. As result, exams become “do-or-die” as students feel stressed due to the fear of failure and humiliation. This completely defeats the purpose of examinations. In this article, I will discuss how and why exams have become useless in the modern world. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to the newsletter!

Reason #1: Unnecessary Stress

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Because of the way society views examinations, students are pressured to excel and succeed. It’s now all about the ‘A+’ on the report card and nothing more. In the mind of a student, his/her success is wholly dependent on his/her educational qualifications. As a result, many students go to extreme measures just to obtain a desired grade. This includes forgoing sleep, long study hours and endless tuition classes. Instead of allowing students to enhance their learning, examinations now do more damage to their mental and physical wellbeing. Only if society learns not to treat failure as the end can learning be possible. Schools should also not focus solely on exam preparation and cut down on the content tested at one time.

Reason #2: The Joy of Learning is Taken Away

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Students are now given piles and piles of homework, forced to study many subjects and take exams they clearly dread. Learning now becomes confined to mere memory, answering techniques and essay writing skills. Instead of cultivating students who are attuned to the world and are enthusiastic to learn, schools produce students who have been trained to become answering machines in every respect – “If A, then B; if question asks X, I give Y.” For the joy of learning to be present in the classroom and beyond, society needs to place less emphasis on the importance of academic qualifications and a person’s learning abilities. Now, students memorize heaps of knowledge just to regurgitate it on the exam paper. In fact, most students forget all the knowledge they have learnt right after an exam and do not follow up on it, unless a future exam requires it. Evidently, most students of the modern world do not possess curiosity or the desire for learning. If you would like to learn more about the importance of curiosity and how it is relevant in the modern world, check out my article at https://bestofwrite.com/2020/12/07/the-importance-of-curiosity/.

Reason #3: Exams Become a Race to the Top

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Instead of learning for themselves, students now, in a sense, learn for others. Due to the fact that society places so much emphasis on academic success, exams become a platform to show off their intellectual prowess. Students work themselves to the bone just to beat each other and become the best among their peers. Learning now becomes all about winning. Because of this, those at the top start to become arrogant while those who are struggling at the bottom are looked down on. The truth is, life is not all about winning or losing. It is better to be at the bottom and be contented than be at the top and be unhappy. All men strive for happiness, do they not? There is no point in learning if it brings no happiness. Rather than focusing on having their students achieve academic excellence, schools should focus on cultivating the joy of learning in students. It is better to have average but enthusiastic and happy students rather than disgruntled and insecure students who have ‘A+’s everywhere.

Why You Should Play Chess

The Benefits of Chess

Chess, as many of you know, is an age-old game where two players go head to head which each other, with the aim of checkmating the other party. Both players may employ certain tactics, such as forks, pins and double-checks, to achieve victory. While the game can be challenging and frustrating, it also has many positive benefits for those who play it. Below is a list of some of these benefits and I hope that you will understand why Chess is respected and played frequently around the world.

Benefit #1: Cognitive Development

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As stated above, players of either side have to employ certain tactics, such as forks, pins, double checks and decoys to gain an advantage over the other player. As such, players are required to think of all the possible combinations and moves possible to achieve this. In finding the best move, players learn to utilise and exercise their problem solving skills. Furthermore, players may be required to recall past games and similar positions so as to better decide the best move. This helps to improve memory and concentration. It has also been proven to prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. On a side note, the beauty of chess is that the board is an open canvas. You are able to develop your pieces to positions of your choosing and shape the game via your actions. While textbooks and doctrine may dictate that Chess be played in a certain manner, it is completely up to you as to how you want to play the game. You may be a cautious person at heart, or a person who likes to strike hard and fast. There is room on the board for everyone’s style and personalities.

Benefit #2: It Brings People Together

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I’m sure that most of you have played a game of Chess with your relatives or friends. It’s a great recreational game where both players can learn more about each other and perhaps laugh at each other’s mistakes. Obviously, Chess is not a game meant to be played alone. So drag along a friend, a relative, your parents or someone to play a game of Chess sometime. You’ll be surprised at how much you will be able to learn about them through your games with them and perhaps forge a friendship with them. You can also play Chess with people online, on sites like Chess.com and Lichess.com. As shown, Chess is able to bring people of different cultures and walks of life together over a shared passion for the game.

Benefit #3: It Helps to Develop Resilience

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There are times when you have a bad game in Chess. You feel like giving up, you feel stressed and most of all you feel distressed. However, Chess teaches you to continue pushing on, no matter how bad your current position is. Perhaps, with a twist of fate, you will be able to turn a completely losing position into a draw or even a completely winning position. Chess is a game which therefore teaches you to persevere and push on even when your position seems unplayable. It also teaches you to learn from defeat, about what went wrong and what can be improved upon. Indeed, success in life is not attained just in one try but after a succession of failures and disappointments. It is only when you learn from your mistakes and continue to persevere that success will be yours.

Benefit #4: Chess Teaches You to Control Your Emotions

We may have felt like this during one of our games. You may have felt like flipping the table and giving up. Many times we may feel besieged from all corners, unable to manoeuvre and think. It’s a common feeling in Chess. But then, Chess teaches its players not to give up easily, to push through even when you don’t feel like it. It teaches you to quiet your mind and silence the thoughts in your mind so as to focus on the game. Therefore, the game teaches you to see things for what it is and plan accordingly. This skill is most important in life as we may face situations where we feel fearful, overwhelmed and helpless. At times like these, you will be able to place your feelings and feelings aside and see the situation for what it truly is.