Man bites dog! You may have seen this humorous headline that reverses the usual course of events. Well, how about this one: Computer RAM programs students!? That’s right, it seems that the model of a 1990’s computer overloaded with programs, without enough active memory to allow for smoothest, quickest operation, has a thing or two to teach us about the ubiquitous problem of test anxiety. Here’s how it works.
At the University of Chicago, psychologists have learned that the simple task of writing down your worries about an impending exam (think SAT, ACT, AP, mid-term, final) will improve your testing ability and results. It’s as though this dumping of concerns is equivalent to exiting and eliminating programs from a computer’s Random Access Memory (RAM), thus freeing up space for swifter links in the remaining program(s).
In the journal Science, researcher and associate professor Sian Beilock states that “It’s getting negative thoughts and worries down on paper that seems to be the benefit.” So if you clean up and clear out your memory of exam worries by writing them down over the course of 5 to 10 minutes, you free up the brain of some significant clutter related to an imminent exam!
Don’t wait. Try it at your first opportunity. The results should be memorable!