Learn to Learn


Admittedly, this research results do not apply to everyone equally, since we all do have different learning styles and nature (e.g. visual, kinesthetic, audio and all). So be free and open to explore all these strategies and see whether they really help one’s learning or not.

Personally, I find that explaining or summarising concepts/paragraphs/sentences in your own words can really show yourself whether you understand that what you are reading, and whether you can apply it as well. Cut the big words and simplify it as much as possible. It is not necessary to simplify it until a ten-year old can understand it, just as long as you yourself understand it well. Saying it out loud or teaching the concepts to your friends, or by writing it down helps reinforces what you are trying to say, ingraining it better into one’s memory. Because you tailor/phrase the concept into what you understand, naturally, you will just understand it (lols).

Practice testing, quizing, or recalling also helps one to remember a concept better. When you test yourself, without reading your notes or whatever, it forces you and activates all your funny memory organs and synapses and such. Like it reinforces the connections between synapses (?) more effectively than simply rereading. You can choose to develop the questions for yourself, or according to some syllabus, or just asking your friend to randomly bombard you with questions.

Alongside practice testing, distributed practice is a complement long-term strategy to help you remember and build up a strong foundation. It’s all written out simply and understandably in the link, so yeah. Alternatively if one doesn’t have a fixed curriculum with a major examination months away and is just learning something for fun, just do it “free-flow” (sort of). Revise every week, or if you are more hardcore, at the end of the day just before you sleep.

Interleaving (studying different topics/subjects one after another) is often recommended to help one better remember stuff in the long term, even though it may seem counter-intuitive at first. There are many researches supporting this, but I personally haven’t found it very useful. It differs yeah.

Of course, breaks are necessary while studying too.

Note that this is about learning, and not memorising. Mnemonics and imagery might work better if one has to memorise something. Preferably a funny and intriguing one.

P.S: one might be interested in checking out https://www.coursera.org/course/learning. It’s a coursera MOOC free-for-all yeah. I’ve watched the videos already in a previous session and it’s quite VERY useful okay. The lecturers are very friendly and passionate in enthusing these learning strategies to us. It’s very detailed and simple to understand!