But it appears that the answer to retaining information may lie away from the books. New research has shown that going for a run can improve the chances of remembering information in exams.
In the study, the researchers asked 60 men aged 16 to 29 to memorize a range of information, from learning a route on a city map to memorizing German-Turkish word pairs.
They were then split into three groups: one group played a violent computer game, one went for a run and one spent time outside. The researchers then compared how well the people in each group remembered the information they were given.
The results showed that the runners performed best, remembering more after the run than before. Those in the control group fared slightly worse, and the memories of people who played the game were significantly impaired. The research suggests that a student’s choice of activity after a period of learning – such as cramming for an exam – has a direct effect on their ability to remember information.
The researchers behind the new study, from the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, say students should do moderate exercise, like running, rather than taking part in a passive activity such as playing computer games if they want to make sure they remember what they learned.