Our brains are like computers


A recent article in The Conversation highlights four key messages regarding the recent release of the new version of MS Office, Office 16. It states that the new version has a number of flaws in its compatibility with other operating systems, both Apple iOS and Android platforms. The code is extremely complicated and thought to be like a “jumble of spaghetti” so addressing any errors in it is considered challenging.

The number of underutilised features that exist within the Microsoft Office suite is also discussed, emphasising that the most common commands used are Paste, Save, Copy, Undo and Bold, accounting for only 30% of all commands used. The article also states that, in an increasingly mobile world the long documents produced through the Microsoft Office products are no longer required or considered relevant, implying that the product needs to evolve to cater to an increasing customer base that use apps and mobile tools for communication.

Likewise, when it comes to exam preparation, our brains can be like computers. Learning theories by Vygotsky and Bloom show that we remember information that connects to previous information. Synapses are the connections that occur between different parts of our brain, therefore when trying to learn information for an exam it can be beneficial to associate information together.

If there is some content that you struggle to remember, try to connect it to another piece of information that you can remember. That way the ‘spaghetti code’ in your brain will hopefully be less complex and allow you to retain the relevant information. Similarly, with the notion that the Microsoft Office software is underused, so too are sections of our brain, so if information that you learned at the start of the semester is not revisited during the semester, the material is more likely to be forgotten. Systematic revision is one strategy that means you frequently revisit material during the semester instead of at the end.

There are some exam preparation self-help resources available on the Library page. These cover topics like:

  • Exam room techniques
  • Short Answer Questions
  • Case study questions
  • Essay questions
  • Exam Stress

The ‘Useful links’ section also provides links to:

  • The University’s Counselling Service
  • Exams and Assessments – policies and administration advice

Other resources that may be useful are the Time Management guide or booking in to see a Learning Adviser to develop some exam revision strategies.