Nootropics or smart drugs are well-known compounds or supplements that enhance the cognitive performance. They work by increasing the mental function such as memory, creativity, motivation, and attention. Recent researches were focused on establishing a new potential nootropic derived from synthetic and natural products. The influence of nootropics in the brain has been studied widely. Nootropics affect the brain's performance through number of mechanisms or pathways, for example, dopaminergic pathway. Previous researches have reported the influence of nootropics on treating memory disorders, such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Huntington's diseases. Those disorders are observed to impair the same pathways of the nootropics. Thus, recent established nootropics are designed sensitively and effectively towards the pathways. Natural nootropics such as Ginkgo biloba have been widely studied to support the beneficial effects of the compounds. Present review is concentrated on the main pathways, namely, dopaminergic and cholinergic system, and the involvement of amyloid precursor protein and secondary messenger in improving the cognitive performance.