Even if you are a bookworm, chances are you dread test-taking time. Here are some hacks to help you make the most of your study hours, and stress less about the test.

Smelly Reminders

There’s been a lot of research around how smells can jog your memory – like how the smell of frying eggplant brings you right back to your grandma’s kitchen. SO why not make the most of your smell memory at testing time?

Use a particular scent every time you study a certain subject. Then bring that scent with you to the test. You might choose a cologne or a scented lotion – even hand sanitizer might do. The more intense the smell, the better. In theory, experiencing the scent during the test will help you recall the information you learned when you were studying.

For a bonus, use essential oils for your study scent. Smelling essential oils during your test may reduce test anxiety.

Sleepy Studies

One of the most important jobs your body performs when sleeping is turning short term memory into long-term. What you learn just before sleep has a better chance of being recalled later. Make sure your study sessions can be followed by a good night’s sleep. But don’t bring your books to bed – it could lead to poor sleep patterns which will not help your memory.

Make That Picture (The One Worth 1000 Words)

Ok, so no drawing is going to replace hours of studying – but research has shown that visualization helps with memory and recall. Whether it’s doodles, diorama’s or a Venn diagram – find a way to visualize what you are trying to commit to memory. For an added memory boost, make your own study visuals. The act of creating your picture itself (interacting with the information you want to remember) can improve memory.

Tell Your Story

Memorizing a list of random facts is hard. Remembering a story is much easier. When possible, weave the information you need to remember into a story—the funnier or weirder the better. Better yet, set your story to music, which is also a memory booster.

Whatever technique you try, the sooner you start studying the better. If you don’t take active steps to try and turn short-term memory into long term much of the information you learn will be forgotten. So, if your teacher says “this will be on the test,” start that day, even if the test itself is weeks away.

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