Use Your Brain to Ace Your College Entrance Exams
If you want to do your best on the SAT, ACT, LSAT, GMAT, or MCAT, you first need to optimize your brain. After all, it is your brain that determines how you learn, think, communicate, and problem-solve. When your brain is working at top capacity, you can deliver peak performance on your exams.
In my book Change Your Brain, Change Your Grades, I introduce you to the mnemonic BRIGHT MINDS to identify the major factors that either help you perform at a high level or sabotage your schoolwork. When you optimize the BRIGHT MINDS factors, you change your brain for the better and improve your ability to do your best on those all-important college entrance exams.
In this blog, I’m sharing the B, R, and I of the BRIGHT MINDS risk factors and optimization strategies. You can find the other 8 in the book.
B is for Blood Flow
Healthy blood flow is critical for a high-performing brain. Our brain SPECT imaging shows that low blood flow is associated with ADHD, depression, suicide, substance abuse, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, traumatic brain injury, and more—all of which make it harder to stay motivated and focused on your schoolwork.
Optimization strategies: Engage in physical exercise, practice meditation and/or prayer, and take omega-3 fatty acids and ginkgo biloba.
R is for Rational Thinking
Your thoughts are powerful and can be positive and helpful or, if undisciplined, can be negative and hurtful. I call these damaging thoughts ANTs (automatic negative thoughts) and they can make you feel anxious and depressed.
Optimization strategies: Question the ANTs that make you feel bad and learn to kill them. (You’ll get the step-by-step instructions in the book.)
I is for Inflammation
High levels of inflammation have been associated with decreased motivation, depression, bipolar disorder, OCD, schizophrenia, personality disorders, and more. It’s also linked with leaky gut, a condition that causes gastrointestinal issues, allergies, and more things that can get in the way of your efforts at school.
Optimization strategies: Eat more foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, reduce the intake of foods high in omega-6 fatty acids, and increase prebiotics and probiotics. Be careful with antibiotics and be sure to floss every day. Have your doctor test your C-reactive protein (CRP) levels, a blood marker for inflammation, as well your omega-3 index (low levels of omega-3 are associated with inflammation).
Take Advantage of Your Optimized Brain for Test Prep
Once you’ve optimized your brain function, it’s time to tackle some test prep strategies. In Change Your Brain, Change Your Grades, I devote an entire chapter to preparing for and taking tests, such as college entrance exams. In it you’ll find a timeline for test prep that includes what you need to do:
- Several weeks before the exam
- Several days before the exam
- The day before the exam
- The day of the exam
When your brain works right, implementing these test prep strategies will be easier and more effective so you can perform better on the SAT, ACT, LSAT, GMAT, or MCAT.
Change Your Brain, Change Your Grades is written by psychiatrist, neuroscientist, and brain health expert Dr. Daniel Amen and relies on the latest neuroscience and leading-edge brain imaging to show students of all ages how to strengthen the ultimate study buddy—their brain—to be more successful in school. Order your copy here.
If you’re struggling in school or just aren’t performing up to your potential, Amen Clinics can help. We perform a comprehensive evaluation that includes brain imaging technology called SPECT in addition to looking at the biological, psychological, social, and spiritual factors that may be affecting your school performance and test-taking ability. With all of this information, we are able to create personalized treatment plans that can help you be a more successful student. Speak to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or schedule a visit online.