Learning something new, whether it is a school-related assignment or a hobby such as playing an instrument or learning language, is time-consuming and tiresome. But like everything these days there are ways and means to make the process of learning and retaining the information quicker; life hacks you might say. While hard work is always glorified and appreciated, in our fast-paced lives dotted with numerous other engagements and distractions hard work may not always lead to success. One must focus on a balanced combination of smart work and hard work to make the process of learning faster and more comfortable.
There have been many scientific studies and experiments dedicated to unearthing the means to make the process of learning smarter. However, every individual’s brain processes and retains information differently; as a result, it is highly recommended that you focus on a combination of the following scientifically proved methods of learning faster to make your learning not only smarter but also fool-proof.
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- Avoid the laptop
While it might be convenient to type things away in a laptop and avoiding the hassle of using a pen and paper; it is the latter which will help you process information more efficiently since typing leads to the processing of data at a shallower level. Writing gives you the time and space to analyse, re-frame the information in your language and then make a note of the essential things thereby facilitating retention of information.
Connecting the newly gathered information with the things you might already know is a beautiful way to learn faster. The process of association makes it easier to retain stuff concerning something you already know as opposed to learning and remembering something wholly new and unrelated.
- Different means of input
Using a combination of written material, audio-visual aids, tests, and lectures allows you to access the same information through various means. This stimulation of different parts of the brain while learning the same information quickens the process of learning. It must be remembered that using different methods at the same time is not as helpful as using different ways to review the information periodically. Multitasking may seem more attractive; it is not as effective. In this context, one must always remember that while cramming might look quicker, it is shallow and doesn’t allow the information to penetrate deep inside the brain. On the contrary, studying periodically embeds the info deep inside our long-term memory.
Testing yourself is a very effective way to not only process the information faster but also to find the gaps in the information that you have processed since it isn’t possible to retain everything at once. You can either sit for proper tests, or you can even teach others. Teaching others allows you to simplify the information and make it easily understandable thereby facilitating the learning process.
- Breaks and rewards
While studying non-stop may seem like the perfect way to learn something faster, it must be remembered that the human brain is not a machine and it requires regular breaks, and over-taxation might do more harm than good. Breaks allow your mind to refresh and become more focused and efficient. On the other hand, studying without break tires out the brain quickly. Don’t just move from the book to the phone or laptop, as they tend to distract and agitate the mind rather than allow it to relax. You can use your breaks to rewards yourself. Set an attainable goal before each study session and assign an award to each target and treat yourself to it once you have accomplished whatever you were supposed to. It could be something as simple as a walk or listening to some music or even ice cream. Concerning breaks, one must also remember to take short power naps. These power naps allow the brain to relax entirely and at the same time gives the information enough time to sink in.
Using acronyms will enable you to simplify and compress the data into easily memorable units. Tables, maps and sketches are equally helpful by visually portraying the information, thereby making it easier to remember.