How envious we are of fast learners. They always seem to catch onto everything at a glance while we, the common folks, seem to struggle through the same materials for weeks — at best.
Well, believe it or not, there are always ways to improve your overall learning capabilities and speed. Here, we will present you with 8 tips to help you learn faster and better. Master the following tips and shy away no more when facing any difficulties in your learning.
1. Find a Suitable Environment
An environment creates atmosphere, and an atmosphere changes the world from one end to the other — including our learning experience. That’s not to say that there’s only one ideal environment that is considered the best for learning. We all respond to each environment differently, for the better or the worse.
Find a place that suits your rhythm. If you are not sure where to start looking, then don’t think about it — just start altering your places of study! You can also picture yourself learning in different places to get a general idea of where you should head first.
2. Write it Down
You have been reading through the material, over and over again, for over 45 minutes, when finally you say “Oh! I think I got it!”.
You ponder on whether you should write it down for yourself, and then you finally conclude: “It’s okay, there’s no way I can forget it now…!”. And with that, you flip the page and continue onto the next subject.
The next morning you wake up and get ready to head out to class. The exam is handed to you and your eyes land on a single question — the one you were preparing for yesterday. You scratch your head and realize… nothing. Everything is gone. So you attempt an answer and hope for the best.
It happens to us all, and there’s one conclusion that can be made. If you want to learn faster, to memorize a concept without going through the material over and over again, you should write down notes of what you just learned, preferably by hand. When you do that, this gives your brain a chance to rehearse what you just learned and help it really sink in.
3. Association of Ideas
In order to learn, particularly something long and complicated, you are always advised to use every tool at your disposal. One of these tools is Mental Associations. Although a complex brain function, the concept is rather simple really. All you have to do is to link new gathered information to information that you already have.
For example, if you consider red an “urgent” or “important” color, you can mark new information that you consider critical with it in your mind. Another example would be to use rhymes for memorizing or even creating a chronological story in your mind. The more you practice, the better you will be at it, making it easier for you to learn new information.
4. Hit the Brain Gym
Although not technically a muscle, the brain also strengthens the more you use it, in terms of memory, cognitive abilities, and speed. These all serve as enhancers for the next time you sit down and learn.
You can train your brain by learning new things (which is kind of a paradox), so you should pursue new and interesting subjects to study just for fun. Another method is to try online resources that claim to improve your brain function (mostly in the form of fun games).
5. Read… A Lot
It is no secret that many, if not most of our studies, revolve around reading. So it is not strange that a person who reads on a regular basis will also be quicker to read through and understand difficult material than a person who doesn’t share that same habit.
The reason for it is that the more you read, the easier it is for you to absorb written information. Take that plus the fact that you read faster the more you do it, and you are already three times a faster learner than what you were previously.
The tip here is fairly simple. Want to learn faster? Read… a lot.
6. Make Practical Use of What You Learn
Like everything in life, you do not truly know something until you put it to practical work. You can’t be a doctor just by going through the books, no matter how many times you do it. Want to master the German language? Go live in Germany for a year and communicate with locals using only your rusty German.
In order to truly learn something, you will always need to go out there and utilize that new absorbed information.
7. Learn in a Way That Works For You
There are several ways of learning, or to be more exact, several learning modalities. They go by visual, auditory, reading/writing, and tactile learning. Each of us is more comfortable with some over the others.
Visual learners will prefer visual presentations of the material, either in the form of graphs, pictures, or watching demonstrations.
Auditory learners will prefer lectures, audiobooks, podcasts, and even interviews.
Reading/Writing learners will prefer to read the information and write down notes for themselves.
Tactile learners will learn best from practicing the material with their own hands.
Adjust yourself to one of these learning modalities and you will find a vast improvement in your progress.
8. Pass Down The Information
“No one learns as much about a subject as one who is forced to teach it.” — Peter F. Drucker.
Just as the above quote says, you learn and absorb information best when you pass it down to another learner. When you teach someone else what you’ve learned, especially if you do it immediately after learning it, you’ll find that you absorb more information. What’s more, you will also discover the gaps in what you absorbed and be able to go over them accordingly.
Another upside to this habit is that you will also help another person while doing so. And that’s a good reason in itself.
Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com