Learning requires studying. Studying requires effort. These are two facts that are hard to disagree with. Learning any subject requires a decent amount of effort since passive studying is not the best plan of action for those who wish to absorb a subject. Cramming and forcing oneself to learn the material, however, is a horrible approach that so many believe works. At some point, “learning overload” leads to diminishing returns. Shorter durations and targeting studying would be more helpful to learning.
The First and Last Theory
The common mistake people make when studying for a test or just trying to learn in general is they opt to read an entire chapter of a book from the first paragraph to the last. Upon finishing the chapter, the process is repeated. What ends up happening here is the first and the last paragraph ended up being retained. All the material in the middle ends up being forgotten or only remembered in fragments.
The mind does seem to focus on the first thing read and the last thing. The memory just seems to work this way. Interestingly, there is a way to use the memory’s actions to one’s advantage.
Studying in Shorter Bursts
Breaking up the reading and reviewing of a chapter would assist the cause of improving memory retention. Instead of reading the first paragraph of a chapter all the way to the last. Read one or two pages and then stop. Rereview those first two pages. Then, move onto the next two pages.
The potential to retain more material and internalize it could increase with this path to studying and learning. The first and last theory is still in effect, but the material reviewed is broken into several different segments.
Studying in shorter bursts is a simple and reliable means of improving memory. More than just helping with memory and regurgitating material, the short burst strategy really could assist with internalizing the material.
Relying on Study Aids
One of the biggest impediments to learning from reading a textbook is the boredom factor. Long sessions of reading prose that is a bit dull do not exactly help the cause of learning. Relying on study aids definitely can help. A study aid could come in the form of watching YouTube videos on a subject. Any source of learning is going to be a help. Entertaining sources may lend even more of an assist.
Fun study aids such as online flash cards may support the “study in short bursts” approach. Flash cards target specific material with no fillers. Turning flash card study sessions into a game of sorts also adds a level of fun that keeps things from ever being boring.
Giving Enough Time
One point should be repeated. Attempts to “cram” and “force feed” the brain through intense, long study sessions at the last minute are likely going to fail and fail miserably. Pace out study sessions long and give the mind enough time to absorb things. Anything else would be a really weak process.