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These 10 Scientific Ways to Learn Anything Faster Could Change Everything You Know About Dramatically Improving Your Memory

Chunk your study sessions

Studying over a period of time is more effective than waiting until the last minute.

Distributed practice works because each time you try to remember something, the memory becomes harder to forget.

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These 10 Scientific Ways to Learn Anything Faster Could Change Everything You Know About Dramatically Improving Your Memory

These 10 Scientific Ways to Learn Anything Faster Could Change Everything You Know About Dramatically Improving Your Memory

https://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/these-10-scientific-ways-to-learn-anything-faster-could-change-everything-you-know-about-dramatically-improving-your-memory.html

inc.com

10

Key Ideas

Say it out loud

Learning and memory benefit from active involvement. When you add speaking to it, the content becomes more defined in long-term memory and more memorable.

Take notes by hand

Most of us can type very fast, but research shows writing your notes by hand will allow you to learn more.

Taking notes by hand enhances both comprehension and retention.

Chunk your study sessions

Studying over a period of time is more effective than waiting until the last minute.

Distributed practice works because each time you try to remember something, the memory becomes harder to forget.

Self-testing is highly effective

Regularly testing yourself will speed up learning. When you test yourself and answer incorrectly, you are more likely to recall the right answer after you look it up. You will also remember that you didn't remember.

Change the way you practice

Repeating anything over and over might not be the best way to master that task. If you practice a slightly different version, you will learn more and faster. For example, if you want to master a new presentation:

  • Rehearse the basic skill. 
  • Wait at least six hours to allow your memory to consolidate.
  • Practice again, but speak a little faster. 
  • Practice next by speaking slower.
  • Break your presentation into smaller steps. Master each chunk, then put it back together.
  • Change the conditions. It will prepare you better for the unexpected.

Exercise regularly

According to research, regular exercise can improve memory recall.

Exercise also increases a protein (BDNF - brain-derived neurotrophic factor) that supports the function, growth, and survival of brain cells.

Sleep more, learn more

When you sleep, most of the consolidation process occurs.

In contrast, sleep deprivation can affect your ability to commit new data to memory and consolidate any short-term memories.

Concepts in parallel

Interleaving - studying related concepts or skills in parallel - improves your brain's ability to differentiate between concepts or skills. It helps you to really learn and gain an understanding at a deeper level.

Instead of focusing on one subject during a learning session, learn several subjects or skills in succession.

Teach someone else

Research shows that those who teach, speed up their learning and remember more.

Even just preparing to teach means that you will seek out key points and organize information into a coherent structure. 

Build on what you know

When you have to learn something new, try to associate it with something you are already familiar with. Then you only have to learn where it differs. You'll also be able to apply greater context, which will help with memory storage and retrieval.

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Bring it back from memory

Retrieval is so effective is that it strengthens the neural pathways associated with a given concept.

When you're attempting to recall an idea, method, or technique from memory, you're retrieving. Flash cards are a great example: They force you to recall an idea from memory, unlike a technique like highlighting where you're not burning anything into your brain. 

Connect new ideas

... to what you already know.

When you try to put a new idea into your own words, you're elaborating.

For example, if you're in physics class and trying to understand heat transfer, try to tie the concept into your real-life experiences, say, by imagining how a warm cup of coffee disperses heat into your hands.

4 more ideas

Quiz yourself

This is an extremely effective way to speed up the learning process.

If you quiz yourself and answer incorrectly,  you are more likely to remember the right answer after you look it u...

Summarize and share

Even just thinking that you'll need to teach someone can make you learn more effectively.

Teaching means seeking out key points and organizing information into a coherent structure. 

Use associative learning

Connect what you just learned to experiences you previously had.

Associative learning is the process of relating something new to something you already know.

How Memories are Formed
  1. Create a memory. Our brain sends signals in a particular pattern associated with the event we're experiencing and creates connections between our neurons, called s...
Effective Ways to Improve Your Memory
  • Meditate to improve working memory. Take a pause to empty your mind and to reduce stress.
  • Although still debatable, drink coffee to help improve memory consolidation.
  • Eat berries for better long-term memory. Berries contain flavanoids,  which appear to strengthen connections in the brain.
  • Exercise not only to improve memory recall, but also to enhance cognitive abilities.
  • Chew gum to make stronger memories. It is proven that it increases activity in the hippocampus. It also increases heart rate which causes more blood to flow in the brain.
  • Sleep more to consolidate and easily remember memories.