Test your mental skills with Brain Tease

Challenge yourself with this noggin-floggin' freeware.

It sometimes seems like there's a car tune-up shop at every major intersection, but that's nothing compared to the amount of brain tune-up software you can find, and nearly all of it compact freeware. Take, for example, the two mental tests bundled in Brain Tease from Custom Solutions of Maryland. Virtually anyone of any age can use this portable freeware's simple but challenging mental exercises to sharpen their cognitive skills. The first uses simple word and color associations to illuminate how the brain defines words using more clues than just the meaning of the word, and how the mind reacts when the clues are scrambled. The second exercise helps test and sharpen your short-term memory. Both your scores and your mental acuity will increase with repetition.

Brain Tease uses a compact, simple interface that is divided vertically between its two tests, Word Recognition and Memory Test. The Menu bar entries do little more than exit the program and save results, but clicking Show on the Help menu opens a brief but concise explanation of each test and the theory behind it. Each test uses a grid of nine squares like a tic-tac-toe board. In the Word Recognition test, each square has a color name shown in that color. Using Start and Stop buttons, you read the words aloud as rapidly as possible until you achieve your best time, and then press Start Scrambled. Suddenly the colors and names don't match up. It's more discombobulating than it sounds, and fun, too. The Memory Test is just as easy to learn but more challenging to perform. It presents the numbers 1 through 9 in scrambled order in the grid. The test presents a blank grid, and you have to remember where they were to click on each in the correct order. We got five out of nine right on our first run; not bad, but our scores improved with repetition, just like memory does.

Practice makes perfect with Brain Tease. Add it to your regular rotation of brain teasers, mental tune-ups, and intelligence tweaks. Applied regularly, they can help keep you sharp.

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