Mastering a new concept takes time and dedication, but don’t you wish there was an easier way to get the hang of it? While cramming the subject doesn’t work in the long term, following good and effective learning practices helps you pick it up a little quicker. We’ll start with strategies for studying and reviewing concepts and move on to some lifestyle changes you can make so you remember things better!
Method 1 of 13: Take handwritten notes.
You’re more likely to remember something you’ve written down. If you’re in a class, listen carefully to the lecture and jot down the keywords and phrases you hear. If you’re learning something online or from a book, rewrite what you read in your own words since that can help ingrain it better in your memory. That way, you’ll be able to recall it more quickly.
- For example, if you’re trying to learn more about US history, you could write down a timeline of all the important dates and events.
- Give your full attention to your studies while you’re note-taking so you don’t miss any crucial information.
- Right after you take them, go through your notes and organize them in a more structured way so they’re easier to review.
Method 2 of 13: Say it out loud.
Hearing yourself repeat the information helps you remember it easier. Read aloud if you’re studying from a book, website, or your notes. Go slowly through the text so you don’t skip over anything important. Try pointing at the words as you read them to help you commit them to memory even more. The more you say the information out loud, the easier it gets to pull it off the top of your head.
- For example, if you’re trying to learn a new language, practice saying vocab words and sentences as you learn them.
- Since you’re actively speaking, the information stands out better in your long-term memory.
Method 3 of 13: Try self-testing.
Quiz yourself so you see what topics you still need to review. After you’ve read through or practiced something, test your memory by reciting everything you just learned. If you need to remember keywords or phrases, try writing down their definitions without looking them up. Make note of what you have trouble remembering so you can go back and practice it some more. That way, you aren’t wasting time focusing on things you already know well.
- For example, if you’re testing yourself on a textbook chapter, summarize everything that happened in your own words. Then check for any keywords at the end of the chapter and try to define them.
- You can also find many practice tests online for the subject you’re studying.
Method 4 of 13: Teach the information to someone else.
Explaining something helps you retain the main points. Have one of your friends listen to you as you try to teach them the subject you’ve been learning. Try to tell them everything you know in a clear and direct way so you don’t confuse them. Ask them if they understand or if they need a better explanation. If you have trouble remembering certain points, make sure you go back to review them as well. Since you have to actively recall the information you’re teaching, it’s easier for you to learn the subject more quickly.
- For example, if you’re learning about chemistry, try teaching someone about the periodic table and how the chemicals bond.
- If you don’t have anyone to help you out, try writing out the instructions or information you just learned. Use simple language so anyone who reads it can understand it.
Method 5 of 13: Use mnemonic devices.
Combine letters and nonsense sentences to remember complex topics. If you have to memorize a list of information or a more abstract concept, abbreviate the first letter of each item. You can also try making a funny sentence that’s easier to remember. Since you’re associating visuals and images with the concept, you’ll have an easier time remembering. Since you only have to remember shorter phrases, you won’t spend as much time on the difficult subjects.
- For example, if you’re learning music and want to learn the notes on a treble clef, you may use the sentence “Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge” to remember the notes E, G, B, D, and F.
Method 6 of 13: Make an analogy to something you already know.
You’ll remember complex topics if you relate them to something else. Tough subjects can be hard to wrap your head around if you can’t picture them. Try to compare what you’re learning to something else that you already know so you can visualize and recall it easier. Because you already have an association to another thing you know well, you’re going to recall it a lot easier.
- For example, if you have trouble understanding the structure of an atom, you might compare it to the solar system. The electrons rotate around the nucleus of an atom just like the planets go around the sun.
- As another example, if you want to remember that the glia cells in your brain hold neurons in place, you may compare them to a bottle of glue holding the neurons together.
Method 7 of 13: Space out your review sessions.
You’ll have better long-term memory if you practice frequently. Rather than trying to cram all of the information in a short amount of time, take your time learning. Always review information from your last practice session for a little while in the following session so you don’t forget about it. Since you’re going over the information multiple times, it’ll be a lot easier to recall and improve your memory.
- For example, if you’re learning Spanish, you may start by forming sentences with the vocab words from your last study session. For your current session, try adding some new words and using them in sentences as well.
- As another example, if you’re trying to pick up guitar, practice the basic scales and chords every day before moving onto more complex songs or techniques.
- Cramming only works in the short term, and you’re more likely to forget the information you learned.
Method 8 of 13: Change your practice technique each day.
Making slight adjustments while learning helps you pick it up quicker. Doing the exact same thing every day can make your brain fall into a routine. Instead, speed up your study session or add a slight variation, such as playing a learning game or upping the difficulty, so it challenges you in a different way. Since you have to adapt to the new situation, it ingrains the information faster.
- For example, if you’re trying to learn a new language, try writing the words and translations down on the first day. On the second day, make a game where you match each translation to the word.
- As another example, if you’re learning how to properly swing a baseball bat, you might do regular practice swings one day but then try a weighted bat the next day.
Method 9 of 13: Take a 5-minute break each hour.
Even a short breather gives your brain some time to refocus. Your brain gets tired when you overload it with information. Try to give yourself a few minutes every hour to rest and step away from what you’re learning. Take the time to get up, stretch, and do something relaxing. At the end of your break, focus back on your studies with a clear mind. Since you’ve given your brain some time to relax, it’ll be easier for you to pick up on the information.
- Try the Pomodoro technique. Stay focused and work hard for 25 minutes before taking a 5-minute break to step away completely.
Method 10 of 13: Stop multitasking.
Trying to do too much at once makes it harder to learn. When it’s time for you to study, get in the zone and only work on one subject at a time. Try to avoid watching TV, checking your phone, or studying other material while you’re learning since you’ll have a tougher time remembering the subject you want to focus on. Even though you might think you’re learning more at once, you’re more likely to get confused and have to go back to review the topics later on.
Method 11 of 13: Tell yourself you can do it.
If you think you can learn something, you’re more likely to succeed. We know that it can be a little daunting to learn something complex, but it gets a lot easier if you trust in yourself. Whenever you have a negative thought about learning, push it back and replace it with something positive instead. With a positive mindset, you’ll be more eager to learn so you’re able to get the hang of the new skill even faster.
- For example, rather than thinking, “I’ll never be able to understand this,” you can reframe it as, “If I put my mind to it, I can learn this.”
- Keep the benefits of what you’re learning in mind while you’re learning so you stay excited about it. For example, if you’re a figure skater learning a new maneuver, you’ll feel more motivated to practice if you think about how it will make your routine better.
Method 12 of 13: Exercise regularly.
Exercise gives a boost to your memory. Studies have shown that you have improved memory after doing aerobic exercises. It also helps increase your body’s production of a protein that supports how your brain cells grow and function. Try to get in about 20 minutes of exercise during the day to keep your body healthy and your brain stimulated. Since exercise stimulates your brain, you’ll have a lot better memory and learning ability.
Method 13 of 13: Get more sleep.
Your brain processes your memories while you’re asleep. Try to get a good night’s sleep in between your study sessions since it will help you retain the information better. Try to follow the same sleep schedule every day so it becomes a routine. Keep your room cool and dark so you get the most restful sleep. Since sleep helps you form long-term memories, you’ll pick up that new skill or topic even speedier!
- You usually need around 7–9 hours of sleep every night.
- Avoid cramming since you’re more likely to forget what you learned. Thanks! Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0