Top Brain Hacks to Acquire Information Faster
Students and learners from all over the world are bothered with one kind of question: How can you learn faster? In the fast modern era, people strive to do everything faster, more efficiently, and more. This urge can be explained by the ever-growing desire for self-development and attainment of new skills that will help lead a more comfortable living on the whole.
Good news for such avid learners is that, according to the research findings, there emerge more and more of new ways that help people learn new information, terms, and disciplines with ease.
Regardless of whether it's a new foreign or programming language, advancement in skills, a new kind of technology or some manual job, it is important to be competitive in any field you specialize in. As such, you are encouraged to work on the improvement of your skills and self-development. According to sociological statistics gathered among the US population, approximately 2/3 of the US workers take additional training courses in order to move up the career ladder. Such courses allow workers to be more competitive when comparing to the new job applicants.
If you are deeply interested in how you can make your process of learning faster, check out the following tips that were suggested by researchers in the field:
Teach someone else or explain some material to another person
If you come to think that you have to explain some new material to another person, you will make the learning process much faster and will yourself get better understanding of the information that seemed previously confusing to you. Actually, such activity alters your mind set as you engage in approaches that are more effective for the learning process. If to compare two people during the test: one who has previously explained and properly discussed the learning material to a friend or a group mate and the other who has simply studied before the exam, the former one has more chances to score more. As you teach, you apply your analytical thinking and simultaneously learn how to pick out key points of the material and structure the information properly.
Do not cram everything into your head but learn in brief periods of time
When you learn some new material, it is crucial that you devote 30-50 minutes on learning it. If you spend less than 30 minutes, it won't surely suffice – this claim was put forward by experts from the Louisiana University Center for Academic Success. On the contrary, when you exceed the amount of time equaling 50 minutes, you will most probably be overloaded with information as it will be hard for your brain to perceive so much information within a single time span.
The most effective approach is to learn new material in portions and take a small break after each. For example, 5-10 minutes will suffice to switch from one kind of activity to another or to reboot.
Moreover, short and regular learning sessions are more effective than the long ones that take place really rarely. For example, if you are learning how to code and you are just in the process of mastering a programming language, it would be much better if you studies every day for 15-30 minutes instead of one day for 4 or 6 hours.
If you are short of time or do not always have an opportunity to learn at home, spend some time on planning and organization of your learning materials, so you could listen to some podcasts or read some articles while you are commuting or standing in a queue.
Take hand-written notes
Surely, with the modern era of technological advances, handwriting has become something dinosaur-like. When you tell a person that you are taking handwritten notes, you might probably be encountered with a reaction: "Whaaaat? Handwritten? Why do you need your gadgets and smart phones for then?" Despite all of the benefits that the technological era offers, some of the "old-school" strategies are still more effective. Here I mean handwritten notes that you take while reading some material or watching videos. When you are writing, you are more mentally and intellectually involved in the process. Besides, as you write, you repeat information in your mind, which thus better helps you memorize it. Note-taking on laptops or other gadgets is more mechanical: you are not actually involved in the process and just mindlessly transcribe some information.
According to the studies conducted at Princeton University by Pam Mueller, professor in psychology, it was found out that students who took notes on gadgets demonstrated worse performance as they were not actually involved in the learning process while transcribing the notes.
Use the mental spacing power
Spacing, or distributed learning, has been proven to contribute to faster learning. Benedict Carey, the author of How We Learn, states that the learning process can be compared to watering a lawn: you can water it once a week for an hour or you can water it every day for 15-30 minutes. The results will obviously be strikingly different and the grass will look fresher and greener in the latter case for sure.
To memorize and retain the learned information, it is advisable to review the information on a regular basis unless you fully understand it and integrate into your experience and learning processes.
Take naps while studying
It is often hard to maintain concentration on the material and the learning process on the whole. Occasionally, you are overwhelmed with sleepiness, tiredness, and emotional fatigue. Even if you struggle with yourself and your strong urge to sleep during learning, it won't be effective as your concentration span and productivity will eventually come to a halt and you will simply have a blank gaze into the book or video without actually perceiving the information. Therefore, taking "sleep reboot" for some 15-20 minutes is a really invaluable practice for restoring your energy and effectiveness. An important thing here is to set an alarm clock exactly for 15 or 20 minutes in order not to fall asleep deeply. At first, it may be hard for you to quickly fall asleep within such a short period of time, but sometimes it is not only about sleeping as such but about relaxing and getting rid of your anxiety.