Henry Ford once said that we only grow old when we stop learning. And this is very true; once we think we know everything, our progress ends. We become ‘old’, or something that’s unchanging and permanent.
But the reality is never like this; at whatever age, we still need to learn. We continuously learn and we will improve even more. Be it how to use a new gadget, learning something for hobby and fun, or even from out of sheer academic interest, learning is vital in human life.
Like many things in life, learning is a skill that can be mastered. And by mastering learning, we’re enriching many parts of our life. From cooking better food, driving safer, and doing something more effectively and efficiently.
Learning is also healthy, it helps the brain stay active and functioning, preventing illnesses such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
It’s true, however, learning can also be a very frustrating activity. When you don’t understand what you’re doing, it can leave you with feelings of frustration and irritation. If you’re studying for a test, there’s a sense of anxiety thrown in, too. But fortunately, learning is a skill and like all skills, it can be developed.
Below are a few tips you can try to help you learn better.
Don’t Cram, Study More but at Shorter Times
If it’s not obvious enough, cramming isn’t healthy. You’re forcing a large amount of information into your brain, often by sheer memorization, that you end up not truly understanding what you just studied. Cramming also often involves staying up late at night, making you lose focus and concentration for the next day.
Instead of cramming everything in one night, study more often, but at shorter intervals. This is called ‘distributed practice’ and is a much more efficient and effective way to learn. You will retain more bits of information, and you won’t feel pressured to memorize something.
Proper Posture When Reading
Reading materials are the primary way we learn. We read books and instructional manuals, watch how-to videos, and consume online articles. However, we often do so with bad posture, resulting in horrible pain. This then leads to losing focus or not remembering crucial things.
One might think that this is simple advice, well it is but often overlooked. How many times have you experienced back pain and headache after cramming for a test? Maintaining proper posture is a simple task but can go a long way.
If you’re experiencing it already, consider visiting a doctor or a chiropractor for back pains. Treat it before it gets worse.
Write Down Notes
We live in a time when notebooks and other paper-based forms of communication are a thing of the past. We have tablets and e-readers instead of books, we use our smartphones to take down notes, and we use a computer for everything else. But when it comes to jotting down your notes and your ideas, it’s still best to do it by hand. Study shows that writing your notes by hand helps you with information retention and enhances comprehension. Because you’re left processing information longer in your brain, you tend to remember it more. So, you can write down important parts of your lesson, or an idea, and you help your brain remember.
Get Enough Sleep
A good night’s sleep is often overlooked. But sleep is connected to our general well-being, from physical to mental health, and even with studying.
Our brain processes and consolidates our memories during sleep, improving retention and recall. Lack of sleep can negatively affect your cognitive process as well, making you forgetful and unable to retain information.
Make it a habit to get a good night’s sleep, especially before the exams. The quality of sleep is as important as the length, so getting the right pillows and mattresses is crucial to getting the sleep you deserve.
Share Your Knowledge
Teachers have to constantly study and teach what they study. This cycle lets them memorize their field to efficiently share information with their students. An interesting thing to note is that this also applies to non-teachers.
Teaching something can count as studying, as the act of teaching involves organizing what we know of a topic into something coherent and easily understandable. This helps you refine what you know of a topic and understand it even better.
Sharing and vocalizing what you know also helps you in retaining what you have studied. So, for the next study session, consider joining a study group, and take turns teaching each other.