It was found that people tend to forget 70% of the information that they have read/studied, or watched, or heard and that down the road, they will forget more. How to overcome this? What are the most effective study habits to accelerate your learning?
Whether you are studying in school or college, or you want to improve your professional skills in general, this article is going to be extremely helpful for you.
Throughout my life, I have spent a lot of time researching the most effective ways to study. I have been in the top 1% of the students in my school, and the University where I studied psychology for 5 years. I had to consume tons of information on my way to becoming a chess grandmaster.
Later on, as a coach, I also kept researching about how to transmit my knowledge to my students. All in all, I have accumulated lots of experience and I will share with you 4 most effective study habits that will accelerate your learning and save you tons of time down the road.
The Traditional Way of Learning
First of all, before going to the most effective way of studying, let’s talk about the most common way people consume information.
You consume a certain piece of information – whether you read a book, or watch a video, or listen to a certain lecture. After some time, it feels like you know it and there is no point to repeat it over and over again.
But when you are asked to take an exam or pass a test based on the information that you have studied, you mostly won’t pass it. Why is that so?
Because that’s passive learning, which is highly ineffective. After you read some information over and over again, it creates an illusion of knowledge; i.e. you feel that you know it, but in reality, if you are asked to pass a test, you will most likely be unable to do so.
What is the better way to study information effectively so that you can truly retain it in the long term?
1) Test Yourself For 5 Minutes After Studying A Piece Of Information
Let me share with you an experience that was conducted:
There were two groups of people who needed to remember a certain set of words. They were presented with the words, and one of these groups was asked to pass a test right after learning these words.
After some time, the two groups were asked to pass the test once again, and guess what happened. The group that initially passed the test did much better than the other group. Why is that so?
It is because they followed active learning! While passing the test, they tried to recollect what they have just studied, which made them remember it much better.
Let’s say that you have read a chapter of a book. After that, just take 5 minutes trying to recollect what you have just studied. For example, you can think about what the main takeaways are.
If you can’t remember something, then you can go look at the text in the book and see what you have missed.
These 5 minutes will help you save a lot of time down the road because there will be no need for you to repeat this information over and over again. You won’t forget this.
2) Repeat the Information the Next Day
Here’s another experiment:
A group of people took some classes and they were made to pass a test at the end of the lesson. It was found that they got better marks than those who didn’t take a test.
Let me highlight that I am not recommending that you just read the information passively, once again. Rather, I recommend that you test yourself.
This pushes you in the direction of active learning. Thus comes the next tip.
3) Practice Active Learning
When you learn passively, you just consume information. You are passive. And unfortunately, you forget 70%-90% of the information. And that is why most people cannot remember anything that they studied in school/college.
Instead, you need to practice active learning – you need to do something with this information. For example, if it something practical, go ahead and implement it in your life. Try to do it immediately, if not fully, at least a small fraction of it. That will help you remember it better.
If there is no way to implement it, at least try to share it with someone. Teaching is also a great way to make information active because you have to think about how to present it. You have to understand it deeply yourself and only then you can share it with someone else.
Funny Tip: If you have no one to share this information with, share it with your pet. Of course, I am kidding! Try that once, by the way – I have tried it and it was very demotivational for me as my cat fell asleep.
Anyway, you can share the information to yourself. For example, you can imagine as if you are a teacher who explains the subject to someone. You are not crazy if you talk to yourself from time to time.
4) Find A Way To Systematize The Information
We have a hard time remembering even the phone numbers, even though it is a very small piece of information.
Well, let me ask you this: How could you remember the colors of the rainbow? Probably, you used a certain trick that helps you to put this information together. For instance, the famous VIBGYOR code.
Similarly, you might have heard of S.M.A.R.T goals – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound – the advice for people on how to set goals.
I was able to remember this because each letter of the word ‘smart’ represents something, and they are united in a certain system. Otherwise, there would be no chance for us to remember these different tips.
Therefore, find a way to systematize the information that you study. Mind maps help you do this - it is the graphical representation of the way your brain consumes information.
You can create mind maps for yourself – try to put the different chapters that you study into a certain, single, united system. That’s the way your brain works naturally, and so you can help your brain to digest the information better.
If you follow these simple tips, I guarantee that the results will be a lot better. It may seem like a little bit of extra work, but in reality, it is going to save you a lot of time down the road.
P.S. In case you have any questions, please write them in the comments below. And if you have any friends who are studying something, share this