Your quest for knowledge can be very important part of your life. It can lead you to a new hobby, a new job, better pay, or simply to anything that is important to you as an end goal. But how can you help yourself to learn faster?
Studying isn’t one task, it’s many. You may need to understand the basics or memorize facts. Each person has different learning preferences and styles. Thankfully, cognitive science has taken a look at how we actually learn. The results are surprising and super helpful for those who want to learn faster.
So how can you train your brain to remember more and learn faster?
1. Warm Up Your Brain
Your brain, just like your muscles before a workout, needs some warming up.
- before you start with learning session in order to wake up and function properly do some mental activities such as counting backward can loosen up your mind.
2. Create a Learning Agenda
Structuring your learning time can help reduce stress, organize your mind, align your goals and help you learn faster.
- Schedule your time for learning by creating a learning timetable.
3. Use Multiple Learning Methods
Judy Willis in her study suggests that “The more regions of the brain that store data about a subject, the more interconnection there is.” So using multiple learning methods helps us retain more information.
- For one subject try combining learning methods. Talk to a friend, examine a diagram and listen to a podcast about your subject.
4. Build Up Practical Experience
By building practical experience of some subject into your everyday life you can improve and boost your learning.
- Look for various ways to apply your new skills. Start a blog if you want to improve your writing or search for a work experience opportunities if you are trying to learn a trade.
5. Test Yourself Regularly
In those who regularly self-test, studies have highlighted higher retention rates of information than in those who don’t. (1)
- Test your knowledge with memory tests or online quizzes in your chosen subject.
6. Do One Task At a Time
Studies show that multitasking can actually hinder the learning process. So try and focus on one task at a time. (2)
- Play rhyming games or count backward. Any quick mental activities will help loosen up your mind and make it more receptive to new information.
7. Watch Out From Cramming
Studies show that by reviewing information and spacing out your learning periodically is better for retaining information for longer, whereas cramming is effective only in short term. (3)
- Set yourself reminders for reviewing certain topics and give yourself time to completely absorb the information before deadline.
8. Reward Yourself
One study shows that memory function improves with reward motivation.
- Split your learning sessions into manageable chunks. Reward yourself with your favorite song or tasty treat after completing your tasks.
9. Take Regular Breaks
Taking regular but short breaks helps you keep your brain focused. (4)
- Take a 5-minute break every 35-45 minutes, and don’t be tempted to skip any.
10. Turn Words Into Images
Help yourself when memorizing short pieces of text by imagining clear visual images.
- Try re-imagining scenario or a sentence as a journey with key events in order to easily memorize it.
11. Pay Attention To Your Surroundings
Surroundings, especially if they are unsuitable, can negatively impact your learning and ability to retain information. (5)
- Make sure you learn in a tidy and clean environment with a pleasant temperature. For a change of scenery go somewhere new.
12. Teach Others
One of the best ways of learning something is teaching to other people.
- Translate the lessons you’ve learned into your own words in order to make sure you understand it.
13. Trick Yourself Into Enjoying A Task
Studies show that simply by faking a smile you can positively affect your emotions. So, applying this to your learning sessions can help make it a positive experience.
- Smile while you are attempting to learn something or make yourself laugh. You can even ask others to join in to make it even a more positive experience.
14. Compress Information With The Use Of Mnemonic Devices
Mnemonic devices such as rhymes, diagrams or acronyms compress information and make it easier to memorize.
- Try with different methods and test yourself which mnemonic method works the best for you.
15. Get Plenty Of Sleep
A lack of sleep negatively affects brain function and causes you to make more errors in your daily tasks. (6)
- Set an appropriate time to stop working and go to sleep. Otherwise, your memory and learning abilities will suffer.
16. Drink More Water
Stay hydrated in order to boost your mental processing ability and your brain’s responsiveness. (7)
- Always keep a bottle of water next to you.
- Eat more fruits.
17. Get Regular Exercise
- Try doing a short gym workout or going for a brisk walk to help clear your mind.
18. Socialize and Share
Talking about your learning and thoughts with others can help you process and understand your thoughts.
- At the end of a learning session, spend some time with your friends.
19. Pick Up a New Hobby
It doesn’t have to be related to your learning topic. In fact, unrelated hobbies can increase the brain’s grey matter and help your brain process what it has learned.
- Try with activities that require a lot of concentration such as dancing or learning to play a new musical instrument to increase brain function.