How Can I Study and Never Forget?
Do you feel like you have to remember everything in class? Do you feel like you can never escape from studying? Can’t wait until the seminar presentation you are to deliver is over?
Everyone who has ever taken an exam has had the sickening feeling: why can’t I remember what I studied? This is especially true when looking at a question you’re certain you know the answer to.
Fortunately, there are several strategies that you can use to improve your memory and retention. Some key strategies used by memory experts include:
- Making sure you understand what you need to learn
- Making connections to information you already know
- Pomodoro technique
- Using the Memory Palace technique and more.
Forgetting important details can be frustrating and hampers your academic and professional growth. Hence, it’s no surprise many students and professionals seek ways to study effectively and retain information for a long time.
This blog piece will discuss strategies to help you effectively study so you do not forget what you’ve learned.
Let’s get started!
Is it possible to learn without forgetting?
It is possible to learn without forgetting, but it is not always easy. Various factors influence the long-term retention of information, including the quality of learning, the individual’s learning style, and the difficulty of the content.
You may enhance your retention abilities and recall more of what you learn by using effective learning strategies and constant practice.
Tactics such as active learning, spaced repetition, and using memory aids have all been shown to improve long-term memory retention.
And by actively engaging with the material, making it meaningful, and reinforcing it regularly, you boost your chances of remembering it over time.
Nonetheless, remember that forgetting is a normal part of the learning process. Because the brain has limited storage space, some forgetting is unavoidable to make way for new information.
Furthermore, some ideas may be more difficult to recall than others. But, by employing the skills discussed in this article, you will be able to remember for longer and better.
Things to do to facilitate your learning process
Many different learning techniques are available today, so it can be challenging to determine which is best for you.
However, no matter how difficult the content you want to learn is, the following techniques will help you learn faster and better and retain the information longer.
Approach studying in a positive manner
Studying can be seen as a chore; hence, getting swamped in the details of the material you want to learn and negative self-talk is easy. But if you approach it with the right mindset, it can be a productive and positive experience.
Here are some hints on how to study in a positive manner:
- Identify the purpose behind your studying.
- Embrace the learning process as an opportunity to gain new knowledge and skills.
- Take regular breaks and do something you enjoy to prevent burnout and make the studying process less daunting.
- Celebrate your successes to reinforce a positive attitude toward studying.
- Seek help when you need it.
- Use positive self-talk to help reinforce a positive attitude toward studying. Remind yourself of your strengths, past successes, and growth potential.
Need help in learning how to maximize your ability to comprehend and study passages fast? Check out our maximizing memory course.
Create and stick to a good study schedule
It’s the night before your exam, and you’re worried. You know you should have started studying sooner but didn’t have the time. Now you’re trying to cram everything into one night and wondering if it’ll be enough. If only you had created and stuck to a good study schedule!
Creating and sticking to a good study schedule is an intelligent strategy to help your learning process. This approach allows you to manage your time and increase your productivity efficiently.
Here are some pointers for developing and adhering to a study schedule:
- Identify your priorities and plan your study time accordingly.
- Set realistic goals for each study session, and break them into smaller, achievable activities.
- Make a study plan for each session, including breaks and time for other obligations. Use a planner or a scheduling tool to stay organized.
- Stick to a routine and study at the same time each day to help establish a habit.
- Avoid distractions during study sessions by turning off your phone and avoiding social media notifications.
- Regularly review your study schedule and adjust it based on your progress and changing priorities.
- Take regular breaks during study sessions to prevent burnout and improve retention. A good rule of thumb is the Pomodoro technique, which involves taking 5 minutes to break for every 25 of studying.
Pick a good place to study
Choosing the right study environment is crucial for studying effectively. Unfortunately, many students sabotage their success by choosing unsuitable study spaces, such as their dorm room, bed, or lobby, which can hinder their concentration and productivity.
To find a conducive study environment, it’s essential to prioritize factors such as quietness, minimal distractions, and a comfortable population level.
The library is a great place to start your search. Most libraries have a variety of study spaces, from quiet reading rooms to more lively areas with plenty of people around.
Strategies to never forget what you learn
Learning is a continuous process involving acquiring and retaining new knowledge for future use. However, forgetting what you’ve learned can be frustrating, especially when you need the information for exams or professional work.
Fortunately, there are several strategies you can use to study effectively and never forget what you’ve learned.
1. Make sure you understand what you need to learn
Understanding what you read is essential in determining if you remember what you studied.
Some good ways to ensure you understand what you want to learn are to ask yourself questions, summarize the information learned for a friend and see if the friend agrees with you, and ask the teacher questions.
It might seem obvious, but when the information makes sense to you, the easier it is to remember. When studying, prioritize comprehension over memorization.
If you come across information that is difficult to understand, take the time to learn it before attempting to memorize it.
2. Make connections to information you already know
One effective way to improve memory retention is to connect new information to prior knowledge. This can help you form a stronger memory of the new information and make it easier to recall later.
Materials not connected to other concepts are more difficult to recall than material related to other ideas. If you can’t find any way to link the information to something you already know, get creative and create an unusual association.
Sometimes, this is the most effective way to remember what you study.
For instance, let’s assume that you are trying to memorize that water at sea level boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit and 212 are the first three digits of your mom’s phone number. Link these two by imagining your mom throwing her phone into a boiling ocean. It’s an odd connection, yet it can help that information stick.
You may also like: How Do You Memorize Mind Maps?
3. Use the Pomodoro technique
Thousands of students have used the Pomodoro technique to manage their study time.
The Pomodoro technique is based on studying in timed intervals involving a 25-minute burst of focused study time separated by 5-minute breaks. After four consecutive study intervals, take 15 to 30 minutes of rest.
The Pomodoro technique works because it can be mentally exhausting when you are fully engaged in a task. And reading can be intensive, especially when preparing for a test or business presentation.
Therefore, taking breaks is vital to help your brain assimilate the new information you have learned and rest for the next round.
By practicing the Pomodoro technique, you will become more successful and improve your attention span and concentration.
4. Use mnemonics
Mnemonics are techniques and tricks that help people memorize information. The method involves using patterns, associations, or other techniques to help you remember.
For example, we were taught in school to remember the order of the planets in our solar system, using the acronym “My Very Eager Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas” (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto).
To learn more about how to implement the Pomodoro technique, check out: How To Remember What You Read Using Mnemonic Devices
5. Use the Memory Palace technique
This is another mnemonic memory strategy that was developed about 2,500 years ago and is used to remember large amounts of information in a specific order.
The Memory Palace involves creating a mental image of a familiar place, like the layout of your house and then placing the information you want to remember in different locations within that space.
To practice the memory palace technique, sometimes called the Method of Loci, visualize your surroundings (you can use your house, as it is one of the most familiar places for most people). Then visualize items from your grocery list in various locations throughout the space.
For example, you could associate the first item with your front door, the second with the coat rack, etc. The more vivid and unusual your mental images are, the easier it will be to remember them.
For instance, if you’re trying to remember the word “apple,” you could visualize a giant apple bouncing down the stairs.
The Memory Palace technique can be helpful for remembering lists, speeches, and other information that needs to be recalled in a specific order.
Mastering this technique can take some time, but once you do, you will learn faster and be more productive with your studies.
Check out our Personal Productivity course. This course teaches several strategies to get more reading done and more.
6. Write new information down
Writing helps us more effectively encode information we are trying to learn since there is a direct association between our hands and brain.
Research conducted by Professor Kuniyoshi L. Sakai, a neuroscientist at the University of Tokyo, Japan, and corresponding author, shows a stronger brain activity after writing on paper than on a tablet or smartphone.
Try taking notes by hand during a lecture or rewriting and organizing notes or material by hand afterward. The process of writing helps you engage with the material and encode it into your memory.
Also, when writing down a thought, you want to remember, try saying it out loud and visualizing it as well.
7. Practice interleaving
Interleaving is a study technique that involves mixing or alternating different types of problems or subjects that you want to memorize. Instead of focusing on a single topic at a time, interleaving involves studying and practicing multiple subjects or skills together.
For example, spend some time studying one type of math problem and then immediately switch to memorizing vocabulary words for your science class. Follow that up with studying historical dates and names for your history class and then switch back to studying the math problems.
The idea behind interleaving is to make learning more challenging and to enhance long-term retention.
When you practice interleaving, your brain has to work harder to distinguish between different types of information, which can help solidify the information in your memory.
This strategy may seem strange at first, but it produces better outcomes than merely spending long periods of time on the same subject.
8. Use distributed practice
Distributed practice is a technique in which a student divides their study time in a given course into several short study sessions. This is comparable to mass practice (cramming), in which the student undertakes a few lengthy study sessions for a certain subject.
This technique is effective because it allows the brain to absorb and retain information better, compared to a single lengthy study session.
To use distributed practice, you should create a study schedule to review and practice the material in smaller chunks over an extended period.
For example, if you have a test in two weeks, you can divide the study material into smaller chunks and schedule study sessions regularly over the two-week period.
In addition, it is important to review the material from previous study sessions during subsequent sessions. This is known as spaced repetition.
Repetition is key to transferring information from your temporary working memory to your long-term memory. In order for key concepts to be retained, they need to be both memorable and repeated.
There are various techniques you can use to repeat and reinforce the information you are trying to learn, such as using flashcards, employing the memory techniques outlined in this post, and testing yourself.
9. Review and repeat
Repetition is key to retaining information in your long-term memory.
After studying, to help you retain the information learned, it’s essential to review the material regularly, preferably within 24 hours, to help cement the information in your memory.
A tool that you can use in your review and repeat sessions is the AccelaReader Speed reading tool. This tool can help improve your reading speed and memory retention.
10. Quiz yourself
While studying, do not simply reread notes or a textbook of a material you are learning; instead, test yourself periodically by actively recalling the information you have learned.
You may be tempted to think you remember a material just because it is familiar when you reread it. However, to improve retention of the information, we recommend that you try to remember the information without looking at the answer or material.
This will allow you to pinpoint areas where you are having difficulty. Then, you can use one of the memory tricks to help yourself memorize it.
Additionally, avoid quizzing yourself shortly after trying to remember something. Wait a few hours, or maybe a day or two, to see if you have been able to commit it to memory.
11. Self-test in environments similar to the exam environment
Testing yourself in settings similar to your exam conditions is also helpful. This method, known as context-dependent memory, is based on the premise that the environment in which you acquire and study material might influence your capacity to recall that information later on.
When you study in a setting similar to the exam environment, the likelihood is high that you will remember the information learned because the context provides hints that aid remembering.
For example, if you study for an exam in a quiet library, taking the exam in a calm room helps you remember the information better.
To apply this strategy, aim to simulate the exam atmosphere as much as possible when studying. This could entail studying in a quiet location, using a timer to simulate the length of the exam, and avoiding distractions like music or social media.
You can also take practice exams in a venue similar to the actual exam environment, such as a classroom or testing center.
It may surprise you, but regular exercise can have a positive impact on your ability to learn, retain and recall information.
Exercise increases blood flow and oxygen to the brain, which can improve cognitive function and memory. Additionally, exercise can reduce stress, which can interfere with learning and memory retention.
But do not take our word alone. An article in Harvard Health Publishing stated that multiple studies say people who exercise have larger areas of their brain that control thinking and memory than people who do not.
So, what form of exercise is better for the brain? It’s hard to tell. Thus far, practically all of the research has focused on walking. But other forms of aerobic exercise that get your heart pounding may have equal benefits,
To incorporate exercise into your study routine, you can take a quick walk or jog before starting your study session to help clear your mind and prepare yourself for learning.
You can also take short breaks during your study session to do some stretching or light exercise to refresh your body and mind.
Additionally, balance exercise with other healthy habits, such as getting enough sleep and maintaining a balanced diet, to maximize the benefits for your learning and overall health.
13. Get enough sleep
Getting enough sleep after studying can help with memory retention. This is because sleep plays a vital role in consolidating memories and transferring information from short-term to long-term memory.
A recent study has led scientists to postulate that sleep, specifically REM sleep, can enhance problem-solving skills and creativity, which can be helpful when studying for exams or remembering complex information.
Thus, if you’re having trouble remembering something you’ve learned, taking a break or sleeping on it allows your brain to rest and consolidate the material, which may help you recall it better when you return to studying.
To make the most of this technique, getting enough sleep and creating a consistent sleep schedule is essential. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night and maintain a regular bedtime and wake time, even on weekends. This can help ensure you are well-rested and ready to learn and remember new information.
Takeaway: Effective study tips to help you remember what you studied
How can I study and never forget? This is a question that has been on the minds of students for centuries. The simple answer is that you can’t – at least not entirely.
Forgetting is a natural part of the learning process. However, there are a number of things that you can do to improve your memory and retention, as discussed in this post, including:
- Making sure you understand what you need to learn
- Making connections to the information you already know
- The use of the Pomodoro technique
- Using mnemonics
- Using the Memory Palace technique.
Some of these strategies may take some time to master. The more you practice them, the easier and more natural they will become, and the more information you will be able to remember.
Also, keep in mind that you do not have to implement every suggestion on this list. Try a handful of them to see which ones work best for you.
Want to learn how to study and never Forget? Check out our Speed Reading, Memory, and Productivity Courses, which are Ideal for students and professionals.