Reading or learning something and forgetting it afterward, are a difficulty most of us face. It is a common problem in the students which affect in a direct way. It is troublesome for the people who are preparing for an exam or the people who needed the facts and data to be remembered.
Studying and learning are two very different things. We come across a range of students some of whom study less but learn more whereas some of them who study too much yet fail to learn in the same proportion. The general misconception is that the people who study less and learn are the genius and an average person cannot do it. Sorry to break it to you, but they are not on some other mental level from you. The only thing that is different in them and you is that they study smart. Being a smart learner increases your efficiency and your chances of success. You can speed up your learning immensely by tweaking the way you study to make full use of what cognitive psychologists know to be effective.
Today we are going to tell you how to study smart:
Do not Wait
The ‘interruption’ of working in your favor is termed ‘Zeigarnik effect’ by Psychologists. Once your brain has started working on something, it will want to continue. So make sure you let it get to work straightaway.
Start your projects as early as possible and give yourself permission to walk away. There is a difference between deliberate interruption and quitting.
Go beyond your preferred learning style
Everyone has one preferred way of learning. Research suggests you learn better when you ’go wide’ drawing on all your aptitudes and resourcefulness, than when you limit instruction or experience to just one style although people do have multiple forms of intelligence to bring to bear on learning. Engage in the material using as many different ways as possible in order to learn it. This broadens the horizon of thinking and mind and helps in better learning.
Keep away the illusions of knowing
The most common reason for bombing your preparation is the illusion of fluency. Mastering the lecture or the text is not the same as getting the full grip of the concept behind them. Don’t let yourself be fooled by the illusion of fluency even after repeated reading.
The fact that you can memorize the text or your lecture notes is no indication that you understand the significance of the concepts they describe, their application, or how they relate to the subject. Retrieval practice is a great way to counteract this tendency to fool ourselves.
Don’t procrastinate, solve the problem immediately
The tendency to solve the problem immediately without knowing the solution is a very good practice which increases the learning process. Whenever you take on something new to learn, try your best to solve it before you even start learning about it. In virtually all areas of learning, you build better mastery when you use testing as a tool to identify and establish your areas of weakness. Researchers call this the “testing effect”. Testing immediately after a lecture or testing yourself at spaced intervals is far better than re-reading at spaced intervals. Repeated retrieval of concepts and the subject ‘ties the knot’ in your memory.
Break up sessions
The practice of dividing your studies into two or three sessions is far more effective than concentrating on one. These forces you to re-engage with the material, dig up what you already know and restore it – an active mental step that reliably improves memory. The added effort in the process actually makes the learning stronger.
Massed practice is good for short term memory but such a practice does not lead to durable learning. For something to get into long-term memory, you need to re-engage with the material several times.
The Practice of Interleave
This means practicing two or more subjects or two different aspects of the same subject. Linearity isn’t effective in the learning process. You shouldn’t study one aspect of a subject completely and then move on to another subject and so on. Interleaving of various topics gives a richer understanding.
It makes the understanding very durable and long lasting.
The practice of writing or expressing something learned in your own word is known as Elaboration. The more you can explain about the way your new learning relates to your prior knowledge, the stronger your grasp of the new learning will be and the more connections you create will help you remember it later. You don’t fully understand a topic until you have to teach it. Elaboration is sort of like teaching the concepts to self.
Reflect and Use Memory Cues
Several cognitive activities that lead to stronger learning powers: retrieving knowledge and earlier training from memory, connecting these to new experiences and visualizing and mentally rehearsing what you might do differently next time are the practices of reflection. Take some time to reflect on what you’ve learned and what you’ll be doing with the knowledge later.
The use of memory cues is also very helpful in the process of learning.