We’ve all been there: a day before an exam, trying to cram everything, your brain addled with numbers and anxiety. With tears threatening to roll down your face, you pull an all-nighter, and pray to every God you know of - this is it, your moment of grave lamentation.
Okay, we may have dramatized it a tad bit. Don’t moments like these make you crave for a superpower that can help you learn faster? Maybe become someone like Ross’ Science Boy with a thirst for knowledge and ability to learn faster than anyone else.
Unlike Science Boy, though, you’re an ordinary human being with an average 3-pound brain that has heaps of information wired into it for processing. So how can you magically obtain the power to learn faster, constrained by your limited amount of time and energy?
Named after ‘The Great Explainer’, Richard Feynman, this technique is probably the best way to learn faster. It works in two ways: one, you’ll be able to instantly pinpoint your problem areas. Secondly, you’ll be able to learn by explaining it in a language so simple that even a toddler can understand it. This technique has 4 basic steps, and we’ll follow through with an example:
Simplify: If you’ve used a lot of technical terms, simplify it further, or use analogies to learn faster.
By using this technique, you’ll be able to gain a thorough understanding of your content, teach it to someone else, and learn faster.
Unlike school, where the teachers usually distributed handouts and notes, you’re on your own in college. With professors droning on during lectures, it can be difficult for you to remember everything and learn faster. For this express purpose, we ask you to bring out your notebooks - and jot down as if you were held at gunpoint. You can use different methods to make effective notes. This can help you retain information and gain a better understanding of the learning material. Besides, taking notes on a physical notebook can help you learn faster than on a laptop, because it limits multitasking and distractions. No more Solitaire for you now.
Remember high school trigonometry? Your teacher probably taught you the ratios using this sentence to help you learn faster: Some People Have Curly Brown Hair Turned Permanently Black. This tool is called a mnemonic device. Why use it to learn faster? Studies have shown that adults can only hold a limited amount of information at a time. So, grouping this information into a mnemonic allows you to hold larger amounts of information. Go wild with your mnemonics - the weirder the sentence, the easier it is for you to remember.
Admit it: Your bed is undoubtedly your ‘most favorite hello’ and your ‘hardest goodbye’. What if we told you that sleep can also help you learn faster? You’d probably dump everything and take a headlong dive onto the bed for some snooze time. Hold up, hear us out first.
You may have made clean, perfect notes, but in order to retain them in your memory, you’ll have to study. We’re not asking you to pull all-nighters and drown yourself into a dark abyss of exam stress. Instead, follow this pattern to learn faster: study - sleep - study.
In fact, a study has shown that, “getting some sleep in between study sessions may make it easier to recall what you studied and relearn what you've forgotten, even 6 months later.” Moreover, students who follow this pattern don’t just learn faster, but are also equally happier.
Finally, nothing can beat your study demon like some good ol’ classical conditioning. When you reward yourself for every minuscule achievement you make - like reading a page - your brain releases dopamine. This improves your memory function and helps you learn faster.
There are several ways to reward yourself; we’ll let you in on some secrets. If you’re stuck reading a book that’s too long or boring, place some sweets per paragraph across the pages. Every time you complete a paragraph and reach a sweet, eat it. This will keep you going, fill you up, and help you learn faster. Another trick can be jamming. Listening to some music while studying can not only help you focus and learn faster, but it’ll also reduce boredom. You earned it - treat yourself!
Studying smart and trying to learn faster is easier said than done. It doesn’t happen overnight; it’s a gradual process. In order to learn faster, you’ll need to develop good study habits and stop procrastinating in the first place. Remember that it depends on you and how determinedly you can take the initiative.
At SAIM College, we take it upon ourselves to help our students learn faster. Our BBA and MBA programs provide students with a sound conceptual foundation and practical skills in various areas of management. Our teaching pedagogy includes rigorous theoretical instruction complemented by case-based teaching, term-paper writing, seminars and project work, along with various project works and internship programs. This helps us push our students to surpass their limits, study hard and learn faster.