For those of you who followed the daily updates of my 19 day test trial of Mind Sparke Brain Fitness Pro, you’ll know exactly what this is about. To those just joining in, you may want to check out the full Mind Sparke trial.
I committed to 19 days of intense brain training in an attempt to see what Martin G. Walker’s program could do for me.
The short story:
It was hard work, but the results were well worth it.
The long story:
To recap briefly, I took an online IQ “pre test” and scored relatively the same as I did when professionally evaluated as a child. Note: My scores as a child were translated to an adult scale by a licensed clinician.
I then stopped all other brain improvement activities and for 19 days straight I spent 30-35 minutes a day doing the Brain Fitness Pro training sessions.
Once I completed the 19 days, I took 6 days off to consolidate the gains. (That’s a fancy way of saying, “let your brain catch up with all the work you just completed.”)
I then took 2 online IQ tests. The first one had me hovering near Einstein’s IQ, and this is why online IQ tests are not to be used for scientific evaluation.
The next one I took was GIQTest which was recommended by Shaun and Will, two Mind Sparke users who were nice enough to share their experiences in the comments section of my Mind Sparke post.
The GIQTest, although not a professional evaluation, was considerably more difficult and thorough. Upon completion of that exam I scored 12 points higher than my official IQ score.
GIQTest states that their internal testing showed results to be within 4% of the test subjects’ professional scores, however I have to take into account that this is still a rough score, and I have also gained an advantage simply by taking multiple tests – a sort of “practice effect.”
Based on the level of my original score, I was expecting maybe a 6 or so point increase – so I am extremely happy with the result .
The improvements I didn’t expect:
I make daily lists and mark through them as they are completed. As I mentioned in my daily updates, I normally mark a few things off and spend the rest of the day getting distracted and doing things that have nothing to do with my list.
At around day 5 I started to notice a marked increase in my daily productivity. I was consistently marking off all my tasks as “done” and that was a big deal for me.
I was suddenly catching myself when I started to zone out or focus on something other than the task at hand. I’d stop, quickly refocus and get back on task.
Short term memory:
While Brain Fitness Pro is designed to increase fluid intelligence by way of its working memory training, I wasn’t sure what practical improvements I would notice.
I am currently in the process of redesigning the theme for this website and am working with 6 digit color codes. One I use is #01D8F6 which is a nice color of blue.
I normally view the color code on a color picker software tool that I use and then repeat the sequence over and over in my head until I can type it in the correct spot in my website code.
I know some of you are wondering why I don’t just copy and paste, but the tool has this glitch where it only sometimes allows me to copy the code via the ctrl-c buttons.
So, I’m left to just repeating it in my head.
Sometimes I get the code typed in without forgetting it, but most of the time I have to go back to the software tool and look at the code again – sometimes more than once. It’s frustrating.
After training, I could look at the 6 digit code, say it once to myself and hold it in my mind until I found the spot in my website code where it belonged.
For me that’s a clear and direct result of my Brain Fitness Pro training. And it would make sense as the training consists of holding audio and visual sequence counts in your head.
So, what if you don’t work with website code? How about remembering phone numbers, directions, names? Training your working memory allows you to take a stronger hold of information you need to remember for the short term – until you can file it away properly for the long term.
I don’t know the correct medical term, so I’m calling it brain stamina. I’ve noticed that I can do more work while feeling less exhausted. There isn’t a way for me to properly document and quantify that benefit, but I am literally getting more accomplished in a day and not feeling as overwhelmed and run down as I used to.
The Improvement I was expecting:
IQ Score Increase:
As I mentioned above, I gained roughly 12 points.
A lot of focus has been put on this number, and I really don’t think it’s all that important considering the practical improvements that result from Brain Fitness Pro training. I can see, however, that it would be an important benefit if you were seeking entrance to a high IQ society.
Results come fast. You should start seeing a difference within the first 10 days. By the end of the 19 days, you should see dramatic improvements.
Low monthly fee. Less than $19.95
Program is offered online so you can train on any computer. (There is also a downloadable version offered on the website.)
Excellent customer service and a money back guarantee. In fact the company goes one step further and offers an extra guarantee which states:
“If you train for 10 days and don’t notice a difference in the clarity, speed and power of your thinking, we’ll give you a full refund plus $40 toward another brain fitness product of your choice.”
Not so fun. Mind Sparke Brain Fitness Pro is not a brain game. Martin clearly stated this in our interview, and it’s the truth. This is an intense workout and you will feel it.
Can get stale. The interface is strictly based on the Jaeggi study, so it is not designed to be flashy, colorful or entertaining. There aren’t many options for variety.
Requires a solid commitment. My personal recommendation is that you get the 19 days of training done within a month. If you can go straight through – great.
Most users will have life conflicts that preclude this. The website says it’s okay to take a day off here and there, but it is still going to take effort and motivation to get through the initial 19 days.
Who Is Mind Sparke For?
Ages 14 and over. (Update: The Junior version for ages 6-12 is now available.)
Students looking to perform better in school and/or on standardized/admissions tests like the SAT, GRE, MCAT etc.
Adults looking to function more highly at work, think more clearly and perform better on tests like the Bar, CPA exam, IQ tests, Civil Service exam, etc.
Seniors looking to improve memory, focus, thought speed and clarity.
I’m adding a personal recommendation here.
Many of you have followed my entire 19 day trial, and even if you haven’t I’d like to tell you exactly what I told my mother in a phone conversation I had a few days ago.
While it’s true that you can use the program just once or twice a week to continue and maintain improvement, you must get through the 19 day training first.
If you are looking for casual brain games to keep your mind stimulated, I honestly don’t think you’d be pleased with it.
You need to be ready to commit to some hard (but rewarding) work on the front end. Brain Fitness Pro is like boot camp for the brain.
You will most likely feel incredibly stupid for the first 3 or 4 days.
You will want to quit.
You will probably call the software bad names.
You may even write Martin or myself (preferably Martin) a nasty email.
But if you just hold on and get through it, you will be happy you did.
The results are measurable if you take some sort of pre and post test, but even if you don’t, you should see practical improvements like the ones I outlined above.
Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments below. Thank you for following along, and I hope you found this review helpful.
If you’re currently using the program, I’d love to hear how it’s going.
Brain Training 101 chooses products to review based on quality. Some of these products are part of affiliate programs which earn the site a commission. Mind Sparke is one of these products. Our philosophy has always been to provide in depth, honest reviews of high quality products regardless of their participation in affiliate programs.