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  • Whether you're headed back to school or just wanting to pick up a new skill like a language or an instrument, learning new things is amazing.

  • But is there a better way to learn something quickly and retain that knowledge?

  • First step is, skip the laptop.

  • Though you might be quicker at typing, writing with pen and paper is the way to go when taking notes.

  • Not only are there oodles of distractions online, but researchers have found that those who type process the information at a shallower level.

  • As opposed to simply transcribing verbatim, re-framing the information into your own words while writing out physically leads to better performance on tests.

  • And to retain those notes, study-sleep-study.

  • In a French experiment, two groups were taught the Swahili translation for 16 French words over 2 sessions.

  • Group 1 studied in the morning, then took a break and studied again in the evening.

  • But group 2 studied in the evening, slept for the night and then resumed studying in the morning.

  • Though there was the same amount of time between the 2 study sessions, the sleep group could recall 10 of the 16 words while the no-sleep group could only get seven and a half.

  • Learning a new motor skill?

  • Try modifying your practice slightly.

  • A study of 86 healthy volunteers were asked to learn a computer-based motor skill over 2 training sessions.

  • One group's second training session had them learn the task in a slightly altered way, while the other repeated the task with the exact same practice.

  • Those who used two different strategies nearly doubled the speed of accuracy of the task compared to the control group.

  • What does this look like in the real world?

  • Say you're perfecting your tennis game, try switching between rackets with slightly different weights between sessions.

  • However, researchers suggest you don't make the modification too big.

  • For example, switching between tennis and badminton shows no increase success in tennis.

  • Can't focus?

  • Get some exercise.

  • A study found that those who worked out for 15 minutes on a stationary bike, and then completed a memory task, completed the task significantly faster than the group that didn't exercise.

  • Even a quick walk around the block can clear up your mind.

  • Trying to memorize the electromagnetic spectrum in order of increasing frequency?

  • Who isn't?

  • Try a mnemonic device such as an acronym sentence like "Raging Martians Invaded Venus Using X-ray Guns."

  • This method has been proven in several studies as a way of committing information to memory.

  • Why?

  • Theory suggests that adults can only hold a limited number of items in our short term memory.

  • By grouping items into a mnemonic, it allows your brain to hold onto larger amounts of information

  • which can eventually aid into the creation of long term memories.

  • And the weirder the sentence is, the better

  • as unique sentences have a higher chance of sticking than boring ones.

  • And, say it out loud.

  • Test individuals were given a list of words where half were read silently, and the other half were read out loud.

  • When given a new list of words and asked to identify which ones they had already read previously,

  • they were able to recall the words read out loud with significantly more frequency than those read silently.

  • Here's a no-brainer.

  • Make sure you're hydrated.

  • In a study where participants fasted and abstained from fluids since the previous evening, they were asked to perform on a reaction test.

  • One group was given 500 mL of water right before the test while the other group wasn't.

  • The group that was able to hydrate before the test obviously performed significantly better.

  • This is because water helps improve overall mental processing and learning.

  • And after all that hard work, give yourself a reward.

  • One study found that reward motivated-learning

  • in this particular study it was monetary compensation

  • led to increased memory formation, and this effect even increased when the reward was of higher value.

  • This finding highlights how reward motivation promotes memory formation, via the release of feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine in the hippocampus prior to learning.

  • If you're really keen to learn faster, check out, who sponsored this episode and is one of the best places to do just that.

  • Like us, they believe that if you're excited, you'll learn quickly, that active learning is best, and that questions that spark curiosity are so important.

  • Whenever we want to build up our logical thinking powers or break down the physics of everyday experiences around us, we check out Brilliant.

  • It's a great way to challenge your mind on-the-go and you can master foundational concepts through guided in-depth problem solving quizzes.

  • Check them out at Brilliant dot org slash asapscience to sign up for free now and let us know how it has helped you learn faster.

  • And subscribe for more weekly videos every Thursday.

Whether you're headed back to school or just wanting to pick up a new skill like a language or an instrument, learning new things is amazing.

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How To Learn Faster

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    Sih Jing posted on 2019/01/15
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