To adapt more quickly to the constantly changing environment we live in, we need to learn more effectively and efficiently. You can help your brain absorb information in this way many times by just taking care of your body. You can also use some easy study tricks, which will make you feel smarter before you know it.
Part 1 of 4: Preparing your body
Step 1. Get enough sleep
There's often nothing wrong with you or how you study or learn: your brain just can't retain the information because your body isn't getting what it needs. Sometimes he just needs sleep. Secure your sleep hours if you want your brain to be alert enough to absorb information. Having an extra cup of coffee will not work. It's good to stop late night study sessions. Instead, go to bed early, get enough sleep, and get up early to study more with a well-rested brain.
- Studies have revealed that when we sleep, the brain is flushed with a fluid that cleans it of toxins. When we don't get enough sleep, our brains get so full of junk that it's hard to function properly.
- How much is enough in terms of sleep depends on you and how your body works. Sleeping for seven to eight hours a night is the general recommendation for most adults, but some people need less sleep and others need more. You should be able to feel awake and alert for most of the day without the help of coffee. If you get tired before four or five in the afternoon, you're probably not getting enough sleep (or too much sleep).
Step 2. Eat well
When you're hungry, your brain has a hard time absorbing any information. It's hard to concentrate when your whole body feels like your stomach is empty. Eat enough for all main meals. You can even choose something healthy to snack on while you study and during classes or tests.
It's also a good idea to check that the food is healthy. Eating junk food doesn't provide the nutrients the body needs to function well. Eat some almonds or carrots for lunch to feel alert and focused, rather than bloated and tired
Step 3. Drink lots of water
Your body works best when it's well hydrated. Without enough water you won't be able to concentrate. You can easily get distracted by your thirst, sometimes without even realizing it. Dehydration can even cause symptoms like headaches, making it harder to learn.
Different bodies need different amounts of water to stay hydrated. The "eight glasses a day" recommendation is only a rough estimate. The best way to tell if you are getting enough water is to look at the color of your urine. If it's clear or transparent, you're well hydrated. Any darker shade means that drinking more water is beneficial
Step 4. Exercise
Of course, you know that exercise is good for your body in many ways, but did you know that it can also help you learn faster? Some studies have found that light exercise during study can help to learn faster. For physically active people, being forced to stand still for too long can also make it difficult to stay focused, so exercising during study can also be helpful in this regard..
For example, try walking around a room while reading your book. Record your lectures and listen to recordings while using the elliptical trainer at the gym. There are many options. Just remember to choose light physical activities and practice while you study
Step 5. Teach your brain to learn
Learning fast is a habit and you may need to train your brain to replace bad habits with good ones. Improve your focus by doing complex tasks without breaks (even if they are unrelated). Book a time and place just to learn and keep this sacred place. Perhaps most important is finding a way to make learning fun for you. This will make your brain want to study more and you won't have so much trouble saving the content.
For example, try to learn about subjects you like. Eventually your brain will master the learning skills and you will be able to use them in areas you don't like very much
Part 2 of 4: Learning to learn
Step 1. Have a goal
Check the changes you would like to make in your life. What goals require you to make the changes you would like? Choose one that can get started right away. In this article, the goal chosen as an example will be taking care of your own body. So let's make it easy: what would make our goal easier?
- Study as soon as possible.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Eat healthily.
- Drink lots of water.
- Work out.
Step 2. Ways to learn
Choose the best way.
- Start thinking about the options that would work best for you. Do you like searching the internet? Would you like to talk to a nutritionist, read magazines? What would work?
- Trust your intuition. If a path doesn't seem ideal, don't follow it. If you start reading about ways to sleep better but realize you don't plan on following them, stop. Reading is probably not an efficient way for you.
- Refine your goal through research. As you look for ways to take care of your body, you may discover an element you really want to focus on. This can result, for example, in a change from "I want to take care of my body" to "I want to take care of my body by feeding myself better".
- Find someone who is following a plan similar to yours and ask to see them. If you know someone who changed their life by starting to exercise or eat properly, talk to them. Find out what he did, how he did it, and what information he followed.
- Search the internet, take a class, interview others and find a teacher. Try out different ways to find which one works for you.
Step 3. Choose the best option
- Choose something easy to do where you live and where you can work in your spare time. For example, it's no use choosing to take a nutrition course if you don't have time to go to class. In that case, following a nutritional plan would make more sense.
- Take into account time, geographic and mental limitations. Don't stress yourself beyond what is necessary trying to do something beyond your means. Learning should improve your quality of life, not make it worse.
- Take time out of your day to practice what you've learned. Doing so will motivate you to continue with the process.
Pay attention to what you are trying to learn. If you're researching exercise but you're not in the mood, what causes it? There is always a reason.
- Don't be surprised or cowed by too many choices. Sometimes we want the "right choice", but it might be interesting to pick one and try it out. There is no right or wrong: only what works for you. Choose one, try it, and if it doesn't work, try another one.
Step 4. Experiment with the learning mode
To do this you will need to have a plan, a way to assess whether the experiment is working, and time to reflect on the results.
- Setting a criterion allows you to check whether you have met it or not. For example, if the idea is a nutrition plan: will I eat three meals a day or several smaller meals?
- You must have a way to follow your own progress. Use the tools you have to do this. Notebooks, phone, applications, computer, internet, calendars, etc.
- Keep reflecting on your progress. "Do I still need more information or do I have what I need for my new sleep routine?"
- Set goals and follow them. For example, how about finding three new recipes for your healthy diet?
Step 5. Evaluate the results and goals achieved
- Did you reach them? Learned enough to create and follow an exercise plan? Found ways to improve your diet or sleep?
- Mark your calendar or cell phone alarm to alert you of the day to check on goals achieved. Check that everything went well. If that's not the case, try to find what got in the way.
Step 6. Improve your approach
If your approach worked, stick with it. If not, choose and start a new experiment.
Part 3 of 4: Learning Like a Professional Student
Step 1. Pay attention when learning something for the first time
The best way to learn faster is to pay attention when things are explained to you for the first time. Even the slightest loss of concentration can cause the brain to not retain information properly. Unfortunately, there are few tricks to deal with this: you'll need to learn to maintain your willpower.
Try to listen thinking that you will have to answer a question right after the explanation, as if your teacher is asking or repeating the information. In fact, if you're alone, repeating the information to yourself (paraphrasing and in your own words) can help to record the information in your brain
Step 2. Take notes
This is another great way to stay focused when learning the subject for the first time. Notes make you think about the topic and are also useful for studying later.
It is not to write down everything that is being said. All you need to do is write a general structure with important specifics. Write down the main facts and any explanations that you have difficulty understanding or that you know you won't remember because they are complicated
Step 3. Join the class
Stay active in your learning experience. This helps maintain focus and also helps the brain absorb information better as the experience becomes multi-sensory rather than just listening to someone talking. There are many ways to do this, from being active in group work to asking questions during class.
- Try to answer questions when the teacher asks. Don't worry about being wrong: this is a learning experience and making mistakes is sometimes part of the process.
- When the class is divided into groups for activities, reading, or discussion, get involved in the experience and participate. Don't sit silently doing as little as possible. Get involved with your colleagues and ask questions, give opinions and enjoy the experience.
- Ask questions when you don't understand or want to know more. Asking questions is another great way to stay focused while learning, and it also helps ensure you really understand what you're learning. When you don't understand what the teacher is saying or when you find something interesting and want to know more, don't be afraid to ask.
Step 4. Create an enabling environment
If your lab buddy bothers you or your home study location is in front of the TV, it's probably no surprise that you're having trouble learning. You need a quiet environment to study if you want to increase the chances for the brain to retain information. Choose a quiet, distraction-free place so you won't get distracted. Having a private place to study and learn can also help because it encourages your brain to work in a certain way.
If your classroom environment is a problem, ask your teacher for help. You may be able to move or work with someone else. If your home environment is the problem, look for specific places to study. You can go to a library if there is one close enough. You can also study in the bathroom or early in the morning if you have noisy roommates
Step 5. Work according to your learning style
Learning styles are the different ways our brains better absorb information. There are many different styles and we can all learn using them all, but there are usually one or two that work best for an individual. You can take quizzes online to help you figure out what style you are, but if you have a teacher available they may be able to help you figure it out. You can even talk to him about including more of this learning style in your lessons.
- For example, if you think you learn best when you look at charts and graphs, you might be a fan of visual style. Try to study by creating your own infographics to retain more data.
- Do you think you remember the sounds and clearly remember what you were reading when listening to a certain song? This is the listening style. Try recording your lectures to listen to before and after you study or even while you study if the information is basically the same.
- Do you sit in class feeling like you're going to explode because you have to run? Do you tap your foot absently while listening to lectures? Your style can be physical. Try playing with a small object during class or going for a walk while studying to learn faster.
Step 6. Learn the right way for the type of material being studied
There are different ways to learn different types of subjects better. You may not be studying the subject you want to learn in the most practical way. Adjust your study form to learn the right skills that work for your brain.
- For example, our brains are designed to learn languages through interactions, listening and using. You'll learn English much faster by immersion and speaking and not just looking at memory cards. If you need more help learning English fast, read the wikiHow article about it.
- Another example is learning math. Instead of simply solving the same problems and looking at the same examples over and over, analyze and solve several different problems using the same skills. Solving problems with related and different skills can also help solidify your understanding of what you're trying to learn.
Step 7. Take a learning disability assessment
If you really find that you can't concentrate on studying or that your brain doesn't seem to absorb all the information, even with help and different techniques, it might be a good idea to take an assessment to identify learning disorders. There are many types of difficulties and many are quite common. This does not mean that you are stupid or that there is something wrong with you, it does mean that you learn in a slightly different way. The most common learning disorders include:
- Dyslexia, which causes problems with reading. If you find that your eyes cannot follow the text around the page properly, you may have dyslexia.
- Dyslexia-related disorders, such as dysgraphia and dyscalculia, cause similar problems with writing and math. If you find it difficult to write about something but find it easy to talk about it, you may have dysgraphia. If you have difficulty recognizing numbers or doing things like estimating costs, you may have dyscalculia.
- Central auditory processing disorder is another common learning disorder that makes it difficult to process sounds. It is similar to deafness but without any hearing loss and can lead to problems following conversations and concentrating in the presence of background sounds.
Part 4 of 4: Efficiently Reviewing the Story
Step 1. Study as soon as possible and as often as possible
Of course, the more you study, the more you'll learn, so studying often is a good idea. And the sooner you start, the easier it will be to remember everything. This means you shouldn't start studying two or three days before an exam. Start work at least a week before the exam and consider studying continuously throughout the quarter if you feel the need.
It's a good idea to review old information and at the same time review this week's topic as well. This will help keep older ideas and skills fresh in mind to use as a foundation
Step 2. Get help from a tutor or teacher
There is nothing wrong with asking for help and advice from experts specific to your situation. This can help a lot to learn faster. Let go of shyness and pride and ask your teacher for help. If he doesn't have time to help you, he can at least appoint a tutor.
- If you don't have the money to pay for a tutor, the teacher can refer you to someone in your class who is doing well and who can help you.
- Many schools also have monitoring centers; check if they are available.
Step 3. Make a mind map to speed up studies
A mind map is a great way to record all information directly into the brain. It is a visual representation of what you are trying to learn. Use cards, pictures and sheets of paper to write organized facts, explanations and concepts. Post the items to a wall or lay out on the floor, placing the similar items together and using strings or other items to indicate connected ideas and issues. Study from this map instead of just looking at notes.
When you take a quiz or write an article, you'll be able to think back to your mind map and remember information based on where it was and what it was connected to, just as you remember where things are on a geographic map.
Step 4. Memorize efficiently to retain information fast
Memorization is not always the most foolproof technique, but it can help if you need to learn certain types of information very quickly. It works best for lists of things, such as the order in which actions should be performed or vocabulary words. Systematic memorization of more complex material is unlikely to succeed.
- Try using the mnemonic technique to store information faster. It uses phrases or words that act as a key to a greater amount of information. For example, the mnemonic phrase "Bela Margarida married Senhor Bartolomeu Ramos", used to record the 2A family of the periodic table.
- Focus on small parts at a time. When you're learning and studying, it's a good idea to get comfortable with small sets of information before moving on to new ones. You may feel this slows the process down, but it's actually faster because you won't have to go back to review data. This is particularly important when you are trying to memorize vocabulary, lists and other similar types of information. Work on sets of no more than five to eight words at a time before moving on to the next group.
Step 5. Use a context that you find interesting
When you have the context for the information, it's much easier to process it. When that context is really interesting to you, it also makes the information easier to remember. Do your own research and look for experiences that can help you contextualize what you are trying to learn.
- Let's say you are trying to learn English. Try watching an interesting movie that addresses a subject similar to the specific vocabulary area you're currently studying. So, for example, if you're learning travel vocabulary, try watching the Meets and Misses movie.
- Another example would be if you were trying to study for a history class. Look for a documentary on the subject of the class or just showing the country you are studying. Even visuals to accompany the stories will help you remember the data because it's easier to imagine.
- Don't settle for the first option for learning. Explore all options before making your choice.
- One way of thinking about what counts as "learning" comes from renowned psychologist Robert Bjork: "Learning is the ability to use information after significant periods of disuse and use it to solve problems that arise in a different context (even slightly) from the one in which the teaching originally took place".