Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Ramp-up your brain season

This is examinations season in Singapore's. Its a country where the education environment is highly competitive, to say the least. The exams to be conducted in the next two weeks are also end of year exams, which, for some, will determine the next stage of their young lives, depending on how they perform. For the senior primary school students, their die have already been cast. Their PSLE (promotional examinations) have just ended. For the next three days, their papers will be marked and graded in this nationwide exercise.

Stressful times indeed, for students as well as parents.

Going by anecdotal evidence alone, the informal education market is huge. It seems like every student has a privately engaged tutor besides the school teachers they already have. And the private tutor's job is not for education, it is for drilling and making sure that students keep to their books, and their past exam exercises in order that they can score the best grade possible. You see, both parents have to work to earn a living in Singapore. So like many things in Singapore, and the world, outsourcing is the rule of the day.

But according to Pyschology Today (PT), there is one other source of help - the right food. In the article, A Taste of Genius in PT's July/August 2005 issue, Lauren Aaronson sets forth the good that some types of food can bring to the brain. Some of these may already be familiar to you, being the stuff of urban legend and mother's tales for some time now. First off, oatmeal works its magic through fibre, glucose, nutrients and acids of which it has in abundance, supercharging your brains in the process. Glucose-sweetened lemonade can also "boost recall of events, words, movements, drawings and faces, among other things, with effects lasting long enough to get you through a two-hour exam". Besides food, exercise is also just as important as it "improves the delivery of oxygen to your heart...", which in turn "pumps up your brain", and we are not talking about carcinogens here...

There are lots more tips on the beneficial effects of various types of food for the brain. It is perhaps timely reading in this examinations-laden season.

No comments: