How to remember more of what you learn
In the modern world it is easy to look up any piece of information you could ever desire. This is great for learning, but it can still be hard to remember what you learn. Luckily, there are some simple steps you can take to start remembering more of what you learn.
Step 1: Take good notes
The first and most important step to remember what you learn is to take good notes. Whether you are learning from books, documentaries, lectures, or even from visiting a museum, taking good notes is essential. But even when people do take notes, most people don't do it very well.
Here are some good things to write down as you learn:
* Interesting facts
* Summarize concepts and ideas
* Draw diagrams illustrating important concepts
**Tip:** If you have questions it is best to ask right away if possible. This might be the case if you are in a lecture and you can ask the speaker. If you are at a museum, most museum curators love to take questions from visitors. If there is nobody to ask, write down your question to research it later.
Step 2: Review your notes regularly
Too often, even when people take notes they don't remember very much because they never review the notes. The human brain just doesn't remember most information after one exposure. In fact, some research suggests that it can take up to seven exposures to a piece of information before it starts to become part of long term memory. Review your notes often, especially in the first few days after creating them. Over time you can begin to gradually review them less frequently as the information becomes part of your long term memory.
**Tip:** This is where a tool like Lernabit Cards can help you. Lernabit Cards will remind you to review your notes and it will optimize the review schedule to help you remember the information more efficiently.
Step 3: Apply what you have learned
In addition to taking notes, applying what you have learned is perhaps even more important than taking notes. Our memories are formed as the brain creates "links" between pieces of information, and as more links are formed the memories become stronger and easier to recall. Using and applying what you have learned is one of the most effective ways to create new links and strengthen your knowledge.
Step 4: Teach it to someone else
While applying what you learn is a good way to strengthen your knowledge, another method that is even more powerful is to teach the concepts to somebody else. When you teach someone else you force your brain to recall the information and strengthen your memory of that information. Teaching others is also a good way to find out where your weaknesses are, because when you teach someone you will immediately begin to find out how well you know the information.
Step 5: Explore related topics
After studying, applying, and teaching what you know, the next step is to continue learning about other related topics. This is one of the benefits of teaching other. While trying to explain the concepts and ideas to someone else, you will learn which concepts you don't understand very well. These will be good places to start exploring more. Pick a concept you were unable to explain and now go back to step 1 and take notes.