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How to Keep a Clear, Focused Mind when You’re Freaking Out

Exam_400Know someone taking the SAT, MCAT, bar exam, or some other nerve-wracking, life-deciding test? In The Working Memory Advantage, we share the foods and habits that instantly improve your “working memory”–your ability to process information.

What can you do to enhance your working memory when it’s crunch time? Here are some recommendations that can give working memory an instant boost.

The Weeks and Night Before the Test

• Avoid transfats prior to the test and eat salmon with a lot of parsley instead.
• Don’t eat pizza the night before the test.
• Put an “out-of-office” message on your BlackBerry the week before so you can focus on studying.
• Get at least seven to nine hours of sleep a night in the week before the test.
• De-clutter your bag, and get all your things ready the night before so you know where everything is.

The Day of the Test

• Spend some time outdoors.
• Go for a barefoot run.
• Close your eyes and balance on one foot.
• Have a cup of green tea (or coffee).
• Eat some fresh blueberries and dried fruit.
• Have a whiff of some rosemary or peppermint oil.
• If you can’t think of an answer immediately or you find your attention waning, doodle, or quietly tap your leg to a beat in your head.

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