For sure you have been in the situation when you had to study a lot of information and you felt overwhelmed. Or you read some great book and wonder what’s the best and effective way to absorb all that data.
Did you realize you’re only in control of five percent of your brain’s activity?
Don’t despair. If you do the right things with your brain, train it a little you will break your limits and you will succeed mainly with your exams if you still have any. This step-by-step guide is good for everybody and it will help you accumulate more and more information.
In order to improve your performances you will have to:
- Learn and implement new study techniques.
- Study every day in a strategic manner and plan it
- Optimize your diet, sleep, and exercise habits.
One hundred billion neurons, one hundred trillion connections and we’re only in control of a tiny five per cent of it.
The study techniques
1.The spacing effect
The easiest way to absorb information is to use the spacing effect, a study technique that researchers have called one of the most remarkable phenomena to emerge from laboratory research on learning and acquire information.
Basically, when you learn new things, your brain stores that information in the neurons. After this it connects those neurons to existing neurons that contain information you already know, forming a network of associations.
The main problem is that your brain can only grow this network of associates so strong in one sitting. That bears repeating—it is physically impossible for your brain to grow neural pathways strong enough in one day for perfect retention.
That’s why if you force yourself to study the same information many times in one or two days you’ll have a hard time remembering it even though you studied for hours.
This means you must give your brain some space, a day or two, before reviewing that information again.
Surveying is a technique that helps you condense all the information into something more manageable. When you want to have success with this try to read the titles and the main information from a book for example.
Then highlight only the critical information in your textbook or other readings that isn’t already bolded, italicized or outlined in some way.
Very important is to take notes while you read or learn. Take concise notes by hand. Make sure to keep these notes handy so that you can review them at the same time you review your chapters.
Most of the key ideas in a reading are in the titles and whatever you highlighted. For instance, a topic sentence usually contains the main idea of a paragraph, and the rest of the sentences only elaborate on and explain that main idea.
So, if you have already read the chapter in its entirety, you should have an idea of what’s in that paragraph, and by reading only the first sentence in each paragraph, you’ll be reminded of what else is in the paragraph.
Plan your time, study every day and test yourself
If you study something or you are taking some classes, don’t forget to write everything in a notebook. By reading and reviewing the textbook, going to class, and doing your homework, you’ll be learning how to do these, but you’ll still need to tap into the power of the spacing effect in order to really memorize them.
By completely reading through this notebook every few days for the next few months, the spacing effect will help you memorize all the instructions.
Optimize your lifestyle
Studies have shown that people who go to bed before 10 pm average as much as a letter grade higher than students who go to bed at midnight or later.
There are a bunch of theories as to why this works, but you don’t need to take pills for example to make this work for you. Just make it a point to be asleep by 10 pm every night and try to get as close to eight hours of sleep as possible.
2. Eat proper
The American Journal of Medicine once published a study that showed how even one high-fat meal could reduce blood oxygen content by as much as 20%.
You don’t want your body all messed up by crappy processed foods. Your brain will suffer too, so look twice in your plate.
Eat only whole, unprocessed foods. Eat lots of whole grains, vegetables, nuts, and fruits. Drink a lot of water and stay away from any sugar beverages.
In the end
Spaced exposures is the key to have a marvelous memory. Use surveying to cut down on your reading time without missing important ideas. Create a notebook about how to solve all your equations and formulas.
Review everything in full as many times as you can. Test yourself and read again the info every 2 weeks. Always sleep well, eat well, and exercise at least twice a week.
What do you do to improve your performances? Do you like to read? What do you do to “keep” inside your brain the data you are trying to learn?