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Handwriting Blues? Hebbian learning to the rescue

One of the most frequently asked questions from our Seniors at this stage of the year is: ‘How can I write so many short answer and essay type questions within a short timeframe?’

The often unwanted answer is – practise. Practise. Practise and when you think you’re done, practise a little more but make it count. Make it meaningful for your brain as well as your hands and fingers. In a certain sense, one IS the extension of the other.

If Writing Seems Boring…

Simply writing tombs of straight copy from a book, is a very dull and uninteresting way of practising this vital exam skill. It can be done and often is but rarely does it last. Therefore it ceases to become practise and your frustration continues.

One of the easiest and often the most effective is what we call ‘automatic writing’. That is, you give yourself a topic you know a lot about. A topic or topics you most likely talk, read or research anyway.

How to Practice Hebbian Learning aka. Automatic Writing

The key to this practice is time. Once the topics are selected, practice begins. Making sure that your writing equipment is fully loaded, removes any daydreamy excuses to not write. Set your timer for no more than 5 minutes for the first five days. Believe me, if your topics are as good as you think they are, you’ll most likely want to write volumes. Stopping, rather than starting is the main concern here! Connecting your brain and hand in this ‘effortless’ way, creates vital and new neurological connections and like all learning, the brain just loves repetition. Krebs law is then able to be used to your advantage.

Another important key is to restrict yourself to increasing daily writing time by no more than 5 minutes weekly, i.e. by the fourth week, you should be writing for no more than 20 minutes. After four weeks, the brain needs only twice weekly ‘top-ups’ of 20 minutes each in order to further embed the new skill.

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