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4 Keys to Learning and Better Memory
There is no “correct” way to learn, some students prefer daily routines to absorb new information whereas others prefer hitting the books at the last minute. And the outcome of both does not depend on the method used but on the student’s level of concentration and mental capacity.
People have different preferences when it comes to learning new information. Some like to learn in solitude whereas others prefer social interaction or group studies. Other popular ways are through visual presentations, audio or aural medium and by taking notes and memorizing them. Everybody has at least one main method and might have multiple secondary learning and memorizing preferences. The key to learning is not to enforce a certain method upon yourself, but to respectfully understand and imply the method that yields more results and less mental strain.
1. Understanding Your Way
If you still haven’t figured out which method you are comfortable with yet, then try practicing newer ways and observe the outcomes. Notice if you absorb more information by listening to it or by discussing it with others or just by locking yourself up in a room. You can also practice the following test to analyze different methods.
Daily pick a new method to study a different personality profile in a subject that interests you and then try to rewrite it. Studying people’s profiles involves a lot of dates, locations and names, which for the most part are the most difficult to memorize. The profile that was the most fun and the easiest to learn, provided it was a thorough profile, is the method that you should stick to most of the time.
Unlike bicycling and swimming, you will eventually forget pieces of information or techniques if you don’t practice enough. “Use it or lose it” is a common term used to explain the importance of keeping your mind active. The more you practice something, the gray matter in your brain increases leading to better learning and memory. So if you are learning a new language or skill, it is imperative that you practice daily even if only for a couple of minutes in order to refresh your memory and retain the knowledge.
3. Teach What You Have Learned
This method is known to be very successful. As Albert Einstein put it, “You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.” So try to explain and teach what you have just learned to somebody else, perhaps a fellow classmate or colleague, as this will help you fully understand the topic. If you can’t find somebody then try writing your newly gained knowledge in your own words, or write a blog. So if you are confused or can’t explain a certain point, you’ll know that your concepts aren’t fully clear.
One common mistake people make is to overwork their brain. There’s only so much that it can absorb.
After a point, you will only be stressing your mind without absorbing any new pieces of information. It is important to develop a routine where you take a break and relax your mind. People generally mistake relaxation for distraction. A distraction is involving your brain in a different activity whereas relaxation means giving your head that much needed rest. Meditation is a great way to snooze your brain for a little while and is known to have substantial affects on improving your memory. A daily 10-15 minutes meditation routine will greatly help in relaxing your mind and boosting your memory.
The ultimate key to learning is to not stress your mind more than it can take. It is important to respect your mind’s limitations and saturation points, as by overworking your brain you will eventually just be straining it without getting any productive results.