Whether you're headed back to school or just wanted to pick up a new skill like a language or an instrument, learn new things is amazing, but is there a better way to learn something quickly and retain that knowledge?
First step is, skip the laptop. Though you might be quicker at typing, writing with pen and paper is the way to go when taking notes.
Not only are there oodles of distraction online but researchers have found that those who type process the information at a shallower level.
As opposed to simply transcribing verbatim, re-framing the information into your own words while writing out physically links to better performance on tests.
And to retain those notes, study-sleep-study.
In a French experiment, two groups were taught this Swahili translation for 16 French words over 2 sessions.
Group 1 studied in the morning then took a break and studied again in the evening.
But group 2 studied in the evening, slept for the night and then resumed studying in the morning.
Though there was the same amount of time between the 2 study sessions, the sleep group could recall 10 of the 16 words while the no sleep group could only get seven and a half.
Learning a new motor skill? Try modifying your practice slightly.
A study of 86 healthy volunteers were asked to learn a computer based motor skill over 2 training sessions.
One groups's second training session had them learn the task in a slightly altered way, while the other repeated the task with the exact same practice.
Those who used two different strategies nearly doubled the speed of accuracy of the task compared to the controlled group.
What does this look like in the real world?
Say you're perfecting your tennis game, try switching between rackets with slightly different weights between sessions.
However, researchers suggest you don't make the modification too big.
For example, switching between tennis and badminton shows no increase success in tennis.
Can't focus? Get some exercise.
A study found that those who worked out for 15 minutes on a stationary bike, and then completed a memory task, completed the task significantly faster than the group that didn't exercise.
Even a quick walk around the block can clear up your mind.
Trying to memorize the electromagnetic spectrum in order of increasing frequency? Who isn't!
Try an mnemonic device such as an acronym sentence like "Raging Martians Invaded Venus Using X-ray Guns."
This method has been proven in several studies as a way of committing information to memory. Why?
Theory suggest that adults can only hold a limited number of items in our short term memory.
By grouping items into an mnemonic, it allows your brain to hold onto larger amounts of information, which can eventually aid into the creation of long term memories.
And the weirder the sentence is, the better. As unique sentences have a higher chance of sticking than boring ones.
And, say it out loud. Test individuals were given a list of words where half were read silently and the other half were read out loud.
When given a new list of words and asked to identify which ones they had already read previously, they were able to recall the words read out loud with significantly more frequency than those read silently.
Here's a no brainer. Make sure you're hydrated.
In a study where participants fasted and abstained from fluids since the previous evening, they were asked to perform on a reaction test.
One group was given 500 mL of water right before the test while the other group wasn't.
The group that was able to hydrate before the test obviously performed significantly better.
This is because water helps improve overall mental processing and learning.
And after all that hard work, give yourself a reward.
One study found that reward motivated learning. In this particular study it was monetary compensation.
Led to increase memory formation and this effect even increased when the reward was of higher value.
This finding highlights how reward motivation promotes memory formation, via the release of fewer neurotransmitter dopamine in the hippo-campus prior to learning.
Like us, they believe that if you're excited, you'll learn quickly.
Whenever we want to build up our logical thinking powers or break down the physics of everyday experiences around us,
It's a great way to challenge your mind on the go and you can master foundational concepts through guided in depth problem solving quizzes.
Check them out at Brilliant.org/asapscience to sign up for free now and let us know how it has helped you learn faster.
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