Becoming smarter without studying can seem like an impossible task. However, there are some simple things you can do to become more intelligent.
Undeniably, studying is one of the best ways to become smarter. However, studying is not always possible for everyone all the time. If you’re one of those persons who crave knowledge but lack the time and/or desire to study, then you’re in luck. Because there are many methods that you can use to become smarter without studying. Here are 14 ways to do just that.
I’m not saying that you should stop studying. I am, however, suggesting that you can become smarter without having to study hard for hours on end. In fact, you can learn new things, improve your memory, and even boost your IQ with these simple, enjoyable techniques.
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Tips to become smarter without studying
Let’s face it studying all day long can be very stressful. So instead of studying your brains out why not try to become smarter in other ways? Here are 14 simple tips to become more intelligent without studying:
- Play video games
- Make mind maps
- Solving problems
- Puzzles and games
- Make yourself smarter
- Brush up on vocab
- Lift weights and eat healthy
- Travelling to a foreign country
- Find a creative hobby
- Practice visualization techniques
- Practice pomodoro
- Use flashcards
- Practice mindfulness
Read also: 24 Tips To Study Smarter Not Harder
1. Become smarter by playing video games
The first tip on my list might seem kind of weird. But, playing video games can actually make you smarter!
Research show that persons who frequently play action video games have enhanced perception and cognition (Bejjanki et al., 2014).
This is especially true for gamers who play first-person shooters since these players develop greater cognitive flexibility due to the rapid response needed to visual or auditive stimuli.
Similarly, another study shows that playing video games can improve the brain’s so-called “visual acuity.” A visual acuity test showed improvement in both older and younger adults after they played “Tetris” for only one hour per week over a period of three months.
This led scientists to conclude that the sense of vision can be trained through video game play.
Former president Barack Obama said that ‘there’s nothing wrong with video games.” However, he cautioned to prioritize “video games that’s teaching your something other than just blowing something up.”
The disadvantages of video games
However, this shouldn’t be an excuse to play video games for hours on end. There are several negative effects on emotions, behavior and physical health of excessively playing video games.
Other scholars have argued that video games can increase biases, violence and aggression. So if you are in the gaming world, remember to set and stick to your limit. Gaming addiction is very real.
If you suffer from gaming addiction, this post will be useful: Unlocking behavioral change with the theoretical approach.
“Be as smart as you can, but remember that it is always better to be wise than to be smart.” — Alan Alda
2. Make mind maps to increase intelligence
Did you know that there is a smart technique that can make you become smarter without studying?
Mind maps are an amazing way to improve your creativity and memorization. The idea behind mind mapping is very simple – instead of writing down your thoughts in a free-form way, you create a mind map.
A mind map is basically an image that represents your ideas. This kind of visual thinking can help to input information into your brain more easily.
If you are trying to memorize information for school or work, try creating a mind map. This is such a great technique that I used myself whenever I needed to study for an exam or learn something new.
There are even mind-mapping notebooks to make the mind-mapping process a whole lot easier.
Why is mind mapping so effective?
Studies show that most of the information transmitted to the brain is visuals. In fact, our brains process visuals 60,000 faster than text.
So if you want to improve your learning abilities, try to replace your paper notes with a mind map. You can even use an online tool that turns text into images, to create a mind map from your normal study notes.
3. Increase intelligence by training yourself to solve problems
Another great way to to become smarter without studying is to practice solving problems.
Memorizing information is not necessarily the most efficient way to boost your intelligence. There are even people that say that memorization is useless because our brains aren’t made to stockpile data.
So what should you do instead? You can use a “problem-solving” approach, which forces your brain to process information in a more active way.
This approach requires you to follow the five stages of problem solving:
- Define the problem
- Identify possible solutions
- Formulate a plan of action
- Execute your solution
- Evaluate your results
This last stage shouldn’t be forgotten. Look at what you did and see if there is anything you can do better next time round .
It’s important to note that people naturally use this process when trying to solve problems. Here’s an example.
Let’s say you have a math exam scheduled for tomorrow, but you forgot your textbook at home. You can’t get it because you have too much homework due in the next couple of days.
Here’s how you would use the five stages of problem solving to find your textbook.
- Define the problem: I have a math exam tomorrow and I need my textbook for studying.
- Identify possible solutions: Ask someone to bring me my book, buy a new one or borrow it from a friend.
- Formulate a plan of action: Talk to my roommate and ask her to bring me my book tomorrow.
- Execute your solution: Ask her if she can do it ASAP.
- Evaluate your results: I managed to get my textbook before the exam, but I should try to remember it next time too.
"I believe the word 'studying' was derived from the words 'students dying.'"- Unknown
4. Perform a word puzzle to become smarter
Did you know that there’re many simple activities that can make you a lot smarter?
Something as simple as playing with words can improve your memory and help you understand things better. You should set aside at least 10 minutes every day to play around with words.
There are many types of word puzzles, but the ones I find the most helpful and fun to play around with are:
A crossword is a word puzzle that consists of a grid of black and white squares, where you need to place words that fit both vertically and horizontally in the empty squares. This can be an amazing way to train your brain.
Letter scrambles are puzzles where you have to rearrange a list of letters in order to form a word. This is another good way to train your brain and improve your vocabulary, because it forces you to look closely at a certain word and break it down into its simplest components.
Playing games like chess will help increase problem-solving skills while also teaching strategy and critical thinking.
5. Become smarter by making your friends smarter
Making your friends smarter might sound like an challenging task.
So, here are some tips to get you started.
Firstly, before you present your tips/strategies to your friend, write down four sentences that summarize what you want them to learn.
Then, create a grid that consists of two rows and four columns.
Next, come up with three examples to support your argument.
This will also be beneficial to you because, while you are explaining your point, you will be learning about it yourself.
Another one of my favorite techniques to help people remember things is by using keyword mnemonic. The keyword mnemonic is a technique where you take the first letter of every word in the information that you are trying to memorize, then create an acronym out of it.
A common example is the mnemonic ROYGBIV which is used to remember the colors of the rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet).
By using these techniques both you and your friends will become smarter and more creative without actually studying.
6. Boost intelligence by brushing up on your vocabulary
Learning new words on a daily basis can make your brain function at its best. This is not only fun, but it makes you feel like you’re always developing and becoming smarter.
I usually look for words that are connected to things I’m already familiar with, because it makes the whole process easier and more memorable. Another good idea is to keep a list of all the new words during the whole month and review them on a regular basis.
Very often new words pop up when you least expect them, so it’s important to pay attention to your surroundings. This is not only fun, but it will significantly boost your communication skills.
Discover other tips to become an effective communicator.
"A degree is an asset, but it doesn't mean anything by itself. It's just another asset. So is being persuasive, having good personality, being smart." - Irvin Mayfield
7. Lifting weights and eating healthy can help you become smarter
Many people believe that exercising is just about getting in shape, but it stimulates your brain as well. Weight lifting actually requires more focus than you think which can make the whole process mentally stimulation.
When you lift weights, you are boosting cognition by increase the brain’s blood supply. It’ll also preserve existing and stimulate the development of neurons. I find this to be one of the most interesting ways to train your brain and improve your memory.
Eating healthy will provide you with the nutrients and energy to boost your intelligence. To make this experience even more stimulating, you can try learning some new healthy recipes.
In addition to making sure that you have a balanced diet, this can also be an exciting way to challenge yourself to learn something new.
8. Become smarter by travelling to a foreign country
There’s a quote by Albert Einstein that reads, “The only source of knowledge is experience.” And indeed there is just so much priceless knowledge that comes from experience.
Many people tend to stick with their own culture without trying something different. In my opinion, this has a negative effect on how you perceive the rest of the world.
In fact, travelling to a different country may make you realize that almost everything you knew about that region is completely useless.
Even if you don’t speak the language, you will almost always able to find a way to connect with the people around you.
I truly believe that it’s important to see how other people live and experience different cultures. This can also help you understand and appreciate your own culture better. In addition, traveling helps you learn new things about yourself and can be quite humbling.
Even if you can’t afford to travel, consider checking out videos on different cultures. Or, try learning a foreign language to boost your intelligence. Watching educational videos is a great way to pick up new information quickly.
9. Meditate to become smarter
Meditation helps you become smarter with or without studying because it is a great way to release stress and anxiety. In fact, meditation can reduce fatigue and improve focus and concentration while making it easier for you to accept new ideas and concepts.
There are many different types of meditation, so you should try some out and find the one that suits you best. Many people like to use guided meditations because they make the whole experience more enjoyable.
These usually involve listening to relaxing music or a sound while visualizing something pleasant. This practice helps your mind disconnect from the rest of the world and focus on the present moment.
10. A creative hobby can make you more intelligent
Finding a new creative hobby can also be very beneficial for your brain. Imagine that you are building something with your own hands and then thinking about the best way to do it.
A creative hobby requires a lot of imagination and critical thinking, which is very stimulating for your brain. There are many different hobbies out there, so don’t be afraid to try something new.
I always recommend learning how to play an instrument, because it’s both fun and good for your brain. The best part about playing music is that you are constantly training your memory without realizing it.
Don't forget to check out the Complete Study Bundle I created to help your kids with their essays, assignments, group work, examinations and so much more.
“Doing better is creativity, doing faster is creativity, doing smarter is creativity, doing right is creativity.” ― Amit Kalantri
11. Practice visualization techniques to become smarter
Our brain is extremely powerful. Unfortunately we don’t use it anywhere near to its full potential. It’s quite incredible to realize how much information we can retain when we actually pay attention.
Another simple way to become smarter without studying is by practicing visualization techniques. But, you should make sure that you practice every day. This will eventually become a habit and your brain will start doing it on its own. You can then use visualization to help you with some of your daily activities.
The goal is to start visualizing small things before they happen or creating a vision board so that your brain becomes programmed in this way. Once it starts doing it automatically, you will see great results and feel more relaxed because you have already envisioned the process.
12. Practice pomodoro to become smarter
Studies show that we can only focus on something for around 30 minutes without becoming distracted. As such, after this period is over, our mind starts wandering and thinking of other things. In fact, many of us become distracted way before those 30 minutes.
As such, you can see how it’s quite difficult to get anything done if you don’t practice some kind of time management.
However, certain strategies make it easier for you to concentrate and thus, make you become smarter without studying. One of them is called pomodoro, which requires you to set a timer for 25 minutes and work without distractions. Afterward, take a 5 minute break before repeating the process.
13. Use flashcards to boost intelligence
Flashcards are a useful tool for learning new information and training your memory. When you read an informational article or book, make a few flashcards to review later on. This will help you remember the most important facts and understand the concepts better.
The great thing about this technique is that it helps your brain retain information for longer periods of time. You can then study the same set of cards for a few days and review them whenever you have some free time. Flashcards are very simple to use, so I would recommend trying them out right now.
I’m definitely an advocate for flashcards. The one below is my personal favorite (so far) because the quality is exceptional and the colors are so beautiful and appealing. Plus it’s inexpensive.
14. Become smarter by practicing mindfulness exercises
The final tip to become smarter without studying is by practicing mindfulness.
According to many psychologists, we spend around 40% of our life thinking about something other than what we’re supposed to be doing. This is a major problem, because it can take months before you actually do things.
An easy way to become more focused is by practicing mindfulness exercises, which are designed to train your brain without much effort or practice. One simple exercise would be to focus on your surroundings whenever you have some free time.
Don’t just pass by without noticing everything around you. But, take a few moments to actually cherish the beauty of nature and appreciate its grandeur. You can practice mindfulness exercises at any time without making too much of an effort.
"Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people." - Eleanor Roosevelt
Final words on surprising tips to become smarter
Becoming smarter is not only about studying. Of course, studying is one of the best ways to increase your knowledge because it allows you to learn new information faster and more efficiently. However, only studying cannot make you very intelligent or smart.
While there are many ways to become smarter without studying, the 14 tips that I’ve outlined here are both enjoyable and effective. There are many other methods that can improve your focus and memory, but these should give you a good, fun place to start.
Which of these tips did you find most interesting? What other methods do you use or plan on using in the future to remain mentally stimulated without studying? Let me know by sharing your thoughts below!
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What is gaming addiction?
Gaming addiction is defined as a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behavior that results in significant adverse consequences to a gamer or those around him/her.
The symptoms that characterize this disorder, as detailed by the American Psychiatric Association (2018), include impaired control over gaming (continued excessive use despite negative consequences); repetitive patterns of gaming behavior (repetitive use of gaming despite negative consequences); and continuous or periodic engagement in gaming behavior.
What are the consequences of gaming addiction?
There are multiple negative consequences of gaming addiction including restlessness, decreased need for sleep, or oversleeping, the inability to control time spent on gaming activities, missing classes/work due to playing games, lying about the amount of time spent on gaming activities, giving up other activities in favor of Internet gaming etc.
American Psychiatric Association (2018) Internet Gaming
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