Monday, December 5, 2011

How our brain works during studies & exams – Part 1 (about studies)

Today morning, Zahid sir from Inspire & Ignite posted the 3rd and final video of interview with Nikhil Krishnan. This video was all about the main 3 hours during GATE EXAM, strategies to follow, how to solve paper, how we score more by avoiding negative marking , etc etc. I was expecting something big but it was ordinary for me. Though the 2nd part of the series of 3 videos was fantastic, I liked it very much.
This write-up is all about our mental state during studies and something about unconscious parameter of the brain.
Most of us heard from many of our seniors, parents, mentor that we should not study for long hours. Study for 1 or 2 hours and take a break. In break, don’t watch TV, but have some tea/coffee, do stretching exercise, listen good music, roam on terrace and many more in the list. Have you thought about this? Why did all suggest one or the same thing? I will tell you the secret reasons behind it.
I started up a coaching class due to a tragedy after my degree. I take this coaching class as my part-time profession. As a part of this part-time profession, I had to go to training and fortunately I had done a special type of training in ‘students psychology’ and got not much, but little experience of 2 and half years. During this time, I was using this knowledge of psychology on my students and saw many students jumped up in their ranks and in final results. So here I start the main topic about this write up.
Our brain and its memorizing power is amazing. Our brain mainly consist 3 parts (as per their consciousness i.e. on the basis of their part in the activities we do) viz., unconscious brain, sub-conscious brain and conscious brain.
People say, unconscious brain holds the information from our pastlife or something like that, though I personally don’t believe this and discussion about it is out of the scope of this write-up. Second and most important part of brain (memory point of view) is SUB-CONSCIOUS brain. Everything we do, we read, we talk, just everything is actually done by our conscious brain (i.e. reflexes) and still we manage to remember most of it.
Whenever we do something, our conscious brain gets data and stores in instantaneously. But this conscious brain memory is volatile (just like our computer’s RAM) so brain needs to store this data in permanent memory and this process of storing into permanent memory was done by sub-conscious brain. But there is one problem associated with the process. The rate at which our conscious brain gets data is much more than the rate at which sub-conscious brain stores it i.e. brain gets data much faster but stores it into permanent memory slowly, so there exists some time delay. And this is the major problem with students. I have seen many students forgetting derivations or answer half the way during exam. This is because sub-conscious brain didn’t get enough time to store and simply that data got lost. So after reading sometime, we need to take break and this break should be of kind where we don’t get more data to store. And that’s why during preparation stage, we are advised to take break after reading for 1-2 hours, so that all that we read gets ample of time to store in brain memory.
Also, when we study for 1-2 hours, many of us were just seating on chair and not moving their body. Due to this, our muscles may gets affected by some way. And thus we need to refresh them as well, because whenever we again seat for study after break, we won’t like any kind of muscular pain disturbing us. To avoid this typical pain, we are advised to take a stretch-out exercise. Neck, hand, waist, wrist, legs, ankles exercise (rolling exercise which we used to do in school) are more than sufficient to relax your muscle, even one can do leg and body stretching (as we used to do before cricket match in school/college).  
This way we can utilize our brain power to the fullest and our brain don’t get tired of doing one thing for long time (i.e. studies). And one more thing, many people complain about sleep during studies, they feel sleepy when they study and this happens because your mind is tired and need rest. Sleep is a signal for brain fatigue state. So whenever you feel sleepy during studies, go to washroom and wash your face with cold water (if possible also use soap) and then don’t back to studies directly instead roam here and there for few minutes (not more than 10 minutes) and then back on studies, if you still feel sleepy means your brain is really tired to work and its better to take a nap for at least 45 minutes. 45 minutes nap is enough to restore your brain to working state. And remember one should not study directly after waking up. Give your body muscle ample of time to get settle because study is not only related with brain but also your body and muscle. If your are fit and your body muscles are fresh, you can study more easily and speedily. And this is the reason why our grand-parents say us to study in early morning. But being lazy ass, we never get up early and don’t realize the power of waking up early.
In part 2, I will be discussing about the brain state during exam, and what points we must keep in mind while solving exam paper.


  1. a very good write up Ankit. I will surely apply the tricks. waiting for the second part.

  2. @Indraneel,
    2nd part on its way. that will be all about EXAM time. :) Thanx for response

  3. nice ankit.....thanks!!! now i realized why our brain gets saturated studying after 2 hours....
    nice post!!!!keep it up..

  4. @Nupur
    Thanx for the response. Part 2 is under construction and will upload soon in a day or two

  5. Hey Ankit I would like to ask you one thing. I am also preparing for gate. My only dream is to do research.I always dream about doing mtech from an iit. I also have full day for study. I have no other task but to study. But still I manage to study 5-7 hrs a day. I think daily that I will study atleast 14 hrs a day for the rest of the two months. I wake up in the morning as early as 5 a.m. But dont know how time past away. at the end of the day I calculate that I have given only 5-7 hrs.But beleave me, I want to get a rank within top 100 or so. I always try to motivate myself.Please help me yaar. How can I give my best for rest of the two months. Thanks a ton in advance.

  6. A good article Ankit ...

    keep writing...


  7. @indraneel
    Don't think much about what you doing and how it is going. Just design a time table and try extremely hard, give your HEART to follow that time table, even if you have to spend a lot of sleepless night, its ok. After all sleepless nights are worth spending than loosing the dreams. ;) Just be relax and happy and study as much as you can. Under pressure, you will not be able to anything. Even gas molecules restains their random motion and gets densed (in your case, you will saturated if you work under pressure)

  8. nice one. u realy work hard man..

  9. Thanks Ankit. I will really try my best. that's a promise.

  10. dats wat i was looking for

  11. Just saw this link in InI... Nice....

  12. great work ankit sir !!! please b kind enough to mail me second part
    rohit padharia


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