Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Study Then Sleep

I just thought about an old post by Ze Frank today. He is a really interesting guy and has some interesting ideas for how to study then sleep.

Many people with whom I went to college tried to stay up late drinking coffee to study for big tests. Then, when it was time for the test, they choked. Why? My brother suggested that the reason was state-dependent learning. When the mind learns, the information is trapped in a brain in a certain state. If the brain is tired or on caffeine or on some other drug, then that information is in a brain in that state. If you don't re-create that state for the test, then you could be in for an ugly surprise.

My strategy (based on my brother's ideas) was to listen to the same album over and over while studying. Picking the album for a semester took some effort. I needed to really like the album because I would be listening to it over and over for the following week or two. There was considerable diversity in my choices. I used Charlie Brown Christmas, Rachmaninoff, Rush, Joe Jackson, and others. Once I picked the album, I would listen to it repeatedly while at home.

When I went into the final, I had all the music (and thus all the knowledge) right there in my mind. No need for an iPod (good thing since they were over a decade from existing) because I had heard the album over and over again and had it resonating in every fiber of my being. I could just summon the music and along with it came the information I needed.

Most people in my family are too smart for these sorts of tricks. They did crazy stuff like keep up with their work all semester, but for me, this sort of thing worked well. Final exams almost always brought my grade up a letter at the end.

Anyway, I know this is probably too late (in some cases many years too late) for most who are reading this post, but I thought I'd share. You never know who might need to take a test of some sort.

The Renovation
Yesterday Herb (the electrician) and Doug (the GC) came back to fix some wiring and paint the siding where the sliding glass door used to be. Today, Doug came back to install the last upper cabinet doors and shelves as well as the last lower cabinet drawers. He is still waiting on the little fake drawer that goes in front of the sink.

The Day

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