Mastermind relies on prodigious levels of recall about specialist subjects – but can you learn to train your memory to Mastermind standards?
Like a muscle you can improve your memory through exercising it. So learning a new skill, like playing a musical instrument, or learning a new language will improve your memory across the board. You can get similar benefits though without the expense of buying a balalaika or an English:Russian dictionary.
Simply making changes to routine journeys or tasks will jolt your brain into a more receptive state. This in turn will improve your brain’s memory making – so if you are cramming for a Mastermind final just taking a different route to the library will help.
Memory is similar to a muscle in another way – it’s at its best when you get the right quality and quantity of sleep. Losing just three hours sleep from just one night will cause difficulties in forming and recalling memories. The effect of long-term lack of sleep is even more pernicious, as one of the things people forget is how much better their memory was.
Having learned the balalaika and established a healthy sleep cycle you’re now ready to start on your Mastermind specialist subject – but how best to remember what you’re reading?
The first tip is to write it down, and ideally write it down in long-hand. Write in capitals, write everything out in full, and don’t use abbreviations or TLAs. This will help you fix the information in your mind visually.
Having written it down the next step is to read your notes out loud, whether to yourself or to someone else. This will help you fix the information in your mind using your hearing. Don’t just read the facts out though – explaining what you are talking about, and the connections between facts, will help you to recall them much more easily later on.
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