Score with Scents

One of my favorite questions to ask when getting to know someone know is “How did your childhood smell like?”. Weird right? But the answers I receive are often powerful recollections of “Grandma’s Pie” or “Fresh Linens”. Responders can often go on and on about why their childhood smelled like what it did.


Our olfactory receptors are among the most sensitive in the human body and many of them may be able to trigger our memory if we use them effectively.  Thus, one strategy I recommend is to use specific scents while studying for an exam and then again on the day of the test. Much like aromatherapy is used to calm the mind or to spark synapsis, we can use them as our secret weapon to improve our performance during exams. Here are five scents I highly recommend:


  1. Cinnamon

    1. While often used to spice up a delicious dessert, cinnamon can also be used to boost brain function. This scent can be used to reduce nervous tension and memory loss. Results from studies found that people given cinnamon showed marked improvement in test scores, memory, and overall attention span.

  2. Citrus (Lemon/Orange/Grapefruit)

    1. These scents are often used for clarity and calm. They can be helpful when you are anxious or mentally exhausted. Citrus scents can be used to give you a fresh boost to your thoughts.

  3. Rosemary

    1. This scent is known for it’s ability to give a spark of energy. Rosemary is the ideal scent for improving memory and retention,. It also works great to combat physical exhaustion and headaches.

  4. Lavender

    1. We all know this scent for its relaxation properties, but did you know that it can also make you more optimistic? Let’s face it, we all need that extra boost of confidence before walking into a testing center.

  5. Spearmint

    1. Spearmint is known as an invigorating scent used to uplift one’s emotions. It’s ability to promote clear thoughts and increase concentration will also be a benefit while taking an exam.

The best way to implement this trick is to use essential oils. Try putting a few drops on your wrist and sniff when you need that extra push. You can try experimenting with individual scents or combine them for a truly unique studying experience. I hope this all make scents to you! (pun completely intended)