What does creative problem solving have to do with the exam your prepping for? Probably not very much. What does it have to do with the next phase that this exam is preparing you for? Possibly quite a bit. The world is full of tough problems that require smart, passionate people who want to solve them. Along with that comes your creativity and problem solving, which might just lead you to see the problem/solution in a new and novel way. Let’s look at two ideas.

Go for a walk: This Stanford study in 2014 (http://news.stanford.edu/2014/04/24/walking-vs-sitting-042414/) found that people show more creativity when going for a walk. The walkers showed more divergent thinking in particular, which is to say that they came up with more unique solutions than the non-walkers. Surprisingly, the environment had no impact on the creativity, which is to say that the results were not impacted by the fact that some were on a treadmill looking at a blank wall while others walked around Stanford’s beautiful campus. A word of caution is that walking did not have a positive effect for single, correct answers. If you don’t know how many ounces are in a pint, going for a walk will not make the answer appear in your brain.

Play an instrument: It ends up your mom was right about the importance of playing the piano jnodii6. Playing an instrument, especially as you become proficient at it, leads to increased volume and activity in the corpus collosum, which is the bridge between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. This increased activity allows messages to get across the brain faster and through more diverse routes. This can allow us to solve problems more efficiently and creatively.

Playing music can additionally develop executive function. Executive function is a series of interlinked tasks that include strategy building, planning, and attention to detail as well as requiring simultaneous awareness of both cognition and emotion.

Now if you can go and find a way to play an instrument while taking a walk you might just solve world poverty. The world would settle for your ideas on how to make it a better place.