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Zen and the Art of Studying

These days, you don’t have to be a hippy to be into meditation. Now that it’s been in the mainstream for some time, you’ve probably heard a few of the benefits. It can relax you and help you find that coveted sense of inner peace. But there’s much more to the practice than you may realize. If you’re in the midst of studying for your GRE, GMAT, or LSAT you’ll want to check out these reasons to meditate.

Improve Your Test Results

Would you give meditation a go if we told you your marks would likely increase? Researchers from George Mason University and the University of Illinois conducted a meditation study on students in a psychology class. Some students were shown how to meditate before their lecture, while others were not. Following the lecture, all the students took a quiz. Can you guess which group performed better? The study results showed that meditation had such a strong impact on quiz scores that it was even able to go as far as to predict students’ passing or failing the quiz (1). If inner peace wasn’t enough of a motivator to get behind mediation, this just might be.

Stop Your Mind From Wandering

Distractions are a student’s worst nightmare. How many times have you sat at your desk and tried to study only to have your own brain turn on you? This brain chatter, also referred to as the Default Mode Network, can be difficult to control. A study by Yale University found that meditation can actually form new connections in your brain, which decreases activity in this area. Therefore, those who have practiced meditation are far less likely to ruminate, worry, or experience mind wandering (2). This is a handy tool for anyone who needs to buckle down and hit the books.

Short Term Benefits

So you haven’t been meditating for years? Not to worry. There are great short term effects as well. A recent study has found that meditating for only a couple of weeks helped test-takers’ focus and memory during the verbal reasoning section of the GRE. If you were to start meditating now, you could be looking at an increase of about 16 percentile points (2). The science has proved it!

Next time you have a few minutes to yourself, give meditation a try. Your mind, body, and test scores will thank you!

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