Most of us would like the ability to absorb information and knowledge faster than we can right now. Within limits we can actually improve the rate at which take in and retain information. In this article I will give you tips and techniques on how to learn fast. This is not a magic bullet but by using some or all of what I describe below you will be able to absorb more knowledge in less time than you could before.
Learn in short time bursts
Louisiana State University’s Center for Academic Success research has found that there is an optimum time window for ingesting and learning new material. It appears that 30-50 minutes is the best interval to learn fast. Less than 30 minutes hinders taking in the new material. More than 50 minutes is too much information to take in at one time for the brain. The optimum time between these sessions is 10 minutes. Follow these intervals if you want to learn fast.
Take your notes by hand
Using a pen and paper will help you learn fast and learn more thoroughly. A laptop is quicker but absorption and comprehension is lower. Lecturers and researchers discovered that students taking notes with pen and paper listened more actively and could identify important concepts faster than the laptop users. They also found that laptop use lead to mindless transcription rather than knowledge absorption and comprehension.
Princeton and UCLA research also discovered that distractions like email and messaging on laptops and tablets lead to lower absorption and comprehension.
This is a weird one but it works – use exaggeration. This takes advantage of our brains attraction to drama. Anything big and ‘over the top’ appeals to the brain and it perks up and pays attention. So how do you use this. Here’s a simple simple example.
If you’re always forgetting where you leave your keys, try this. Put your keys down next to any object… lets say in this case a flower pot. Now imagine that flower pot enormously big. Like as big as a house maybe. Keep that image in your brain for a few seconds and you’re done. Next time you want your keys your brain will know exactly where they are.
Teach It to Somebody
This is a really great way to learn fast and improve your memory. Tell yourself that you need to teach the material to somebody else at a specific time in the near future (if you can find somebody to teach… even better). You will then start to ingest the material in a different way. This is because you know that you have to present the material in a simple and clear fashion to somebody in the immediate future. You will start to ‘digest’ the material as opposed to just memorizing it. Brilliant!
Your learning environment
We are often told told to dedicate a specific area to studying. Science now suggests this might not be right. Turns out the brain actually gets bored and stops paying attention when you are in one place for too long. It now appears that the more environments where your brain rehearses something, the better and more persistent the memory of it becomes. You need to exercise the brain in different physical environments so that those memories are not associated with any specific place and are more deeply ingrained as a result.
Use these tips to learn fast and improve your comprehension abilities. You will be surprised at the results.
Get the definitive job interview guide here