In today’s article you’re going to learn everything you need to know about how to be good student.
Effective learning is essential for our self-development and career. A hunger for knowledge should accompany us all the time. Whether we have already completed our formal schooling or not.
However, despite our willingness, sometimes our attempts to learn something are ineffective or ineffective. We have no time to learn in the crowd of duties. We fight against the constant distraction of attention. New facts that we are trying to assimilate are escaping from our heads at a fast pace.
Have you ever wondered how it happens that the best students can easily assimilate knowledge? Not only do they learn quickly, but they are also able to keep it in their memory for a long time and make use of it. There is nothing magical about their methods, but many of them use methods that are conducive to learning and acquiring knowledge. You can also use them to improve your learning efficiency.
Explore 10 experience-based, proven ways to help you learn faster and become a better learner.
Here are 10 ways to learn faster and how to be a good student
A common problem faced by students of all ages and stages today is the ubiquitous distractions. Today’s modern and dynamic world is full of noise and disturbances. We are surrounded by a whole bunch of things that are constantly bombing us and competing for our attention. In such an environment, our ability to focus on one thing for a long time has been weakened.
Don’t give in to the pressure of multi-tasking. Multi-tasking destroys your ability to concentrate. Research shows that people who do many tasks at once spend much more time doing them. They also make many more mistakes than those who focus on one particular activity. By doing several things at once, our brain has to switch from one task to another, which is not effective. Focus on one thing at a time. Do it right and then take on the next tasks.
Technology, especially the smartphone, which we practically do not part with, kills our focus. It causes distraction, increases the risk of procrastination and wasting time on low-productivity activities. To improve your focus, turn off all notifications. Notifications about new emails, social media and other applications. When you want to work in focus, it will switch your phone to airplane mode, or it’s best to turn it off while you’re studying or doing some important task that requires concentration.
2. Determine your WHY
What is the purpose of your studies? Why do you study? What do you want to achieve with this knowledge? What do you want to learn?
It is difficult to learn if you are not sure what you want to learn and why. Define the goal of your learning. Whether it’s personal development or professional development. If you have a WHY, you are more motivated to learn. It’s also easier to stay focused and combat distractions.
Research shows that attitudes to learning are one of the main factors predicting academic success. A positive attitude towards learning is a combination of motivation, clear goals and self-efficacy. It is a belief in one’s own abilities and skills to achieve one’s goals. It is also about surrounding yourself with people who support you in your educational goals, support you and expect you to achieve them.
To learn better, know WHY.
3. Develop a learning plan and stick to it
If you see a sense in your learning and know your WHY, set clear educational goals for yourself.
Long-term goals should be aligned with your long-term personal or professional development plan. A long-term goal may be, for example, to complete a post-graduate course of study. Also set your medium and short-term goals. Build your learning plan based on these. All this so that you know what you want to learn and when you want to learn.
Also remember about the plan for each learning session. Each learning session should have a goal and something should be the result of it. This will increase your concentration. You will also save time because you will know exactly what material you need to learn, when and why.
4. Use every learning opportunity to learn
Especially when you have finished school, it is difficult to find time to learn and develop yourself. We are busy with work, family and we have many other commitments that result from “adult” life. But don’t let lack of time be your excuse. We live in beautiful times, in the age of information, where access to knowledge has never been so easy in the history of mankind. Thanks to technology you can learn anywhere without having to carry heavy books or visit a library.
You can access the wealth of knowledge with a single click on your smartphone or other mobile device. The choice is huge from e-books, audiobooks, YouTube videos and entire courses. Many of these sources of knowledge are available completely free of charge, not counting the cost of Internet access. Use your time to study and read when you’re going to and from work or college. You wait at the post office to pick up the letter, you stand in line for shopping.
Reserve time for learning and development in advance in the calendar. If you don’t do this, there will always be other activities to keep you busy. If something is important, you need to find time to do it. And learning and self-development is important.
5. Get enough sleep
Do you want to know which is the easiest way to learn faster and more effectively? It’s easy – get a good night’s sleep.
Sleep is the time when our brain processes and “arranges” for itself the information we have experienced and learned during the day. Sleep is key to consolidating newly acquired information.
The length of sleep required is different from a person. Some people need less hours of sleep, others need more. It is generally recommended that a healthy working adult sleeps between 7 and 9 hours per day.
6. Exercise regularly
What does science have to do with exercise? Exercises improve blood flow to the brain, increase concentration, efficiency and mental clarity. They improve the ability to remember new facts and improve learning and associative processes.
Exercises in particular have a positive effect on your concentration, which makes it easier for you to solve various problems and acquire knowledge. Research shows that exercises make you more concentrated even a few hours after training.
If not for your physical and mental health, plan regular exercises so that you can learn faster and be a better student. Even if it is a half-hour walk at a fast pace a few times a week. It is important to make the body move, and your mind will also benefit from this.
7. Make notes
There is no way to learn effectively without repeating the material. The first step to remembering what you have learned is to reach for your own notes.
Making notes that capture the essence of the material you are learning and writing them down yourself, in your own words, not only facilitates repetition, but also facilitates the process of creating connections in the brain, which is crucial for deeper learning. In order to better remember what we are learning, it is worth making your own notes.
Write down all important dates and names, definitions, arguments, conclusions and examples. If you are learning for practical purposes, e.g. to solve a specific problem in your company, write down what is important for you, what should be taken into account. Use examples from your life to illustrate your concepts.
There are many systems and methods for taking notes. One of them, very effective, is mind mapping.
8. Fight the forgetting curve
The student’s biggest enemy is the “forgetting curve”. It is a curve that shows the relationship between the amount of information stored in memory and the time that has elapsed since they were remembered.
Historically, the concept of the forgetting curve was developed by the German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus. The diagram of the forgetting curve shows how quickly we forget what we have learned, if we do not cultivate and use our knowledge. Although there is some controversy about Ebbinghaus’ research, it is worth remembering about it.
As a result of the research, it turns out that the vast majority of the remembered information is forgotten within the first few days from the moment of remembering, reaching the level of about 25% on the fifth day (this is the phase of quick forgetting). At the same time, the further decrease in the amount of remembered information is no longer so sudden – on the 30th day from the moment of remembrance it reaches the value of slightly more than 20%.
To make sure that your newly acquired knowledge does not evaporate from your memory, plan repetitions of the material and re-learning sessions and write them into your calendar. It can be as easy as browsing notes or browsing and scanning titles and chapters in a manual. Choose the most effective way to replay your notes. It is important that you remember about them.
The influence of science on the shape of the forgetting curve
Successive reminders in the learning process change the shape of the forgetting curve. The decrease in the amount of remembered information after successive repetitions is decreasing.
What is the best way to help you remember?
The most effective strategy to better remember what we have learned is to implement, as soon as possible, our newly acquired knowledge or skills. Practically applied knowledge is best remembered.
Adults best learn the things that are important to them. When the acquired knowledge and skills can solve real problems. The ability to carry out a practical project, even a short and simple one, provides excellent opportunities for immediate application and implementation of the learned theory. This significantly increases the effectiveness of learning and remembering.
9. Do not worry about the learning style, but take into account the context
The theory of learning styles (e.g. visual, auditory, kinaesthetic) is still quite strong. In reality, however, the scientific evidence supporting its effectiveness is ambiguous and controversial.
You can use any method and style of learning you prefer, but more importantly, consider the learning context.
If you are listening to an audiobook from which you want to assimilate and keep a lot of information, it may be better not to listen to it while driving a car. First of all, you will not be able to concentrate fully on driving and listening. Secondly, you will not be able to take notes. Choose something less demanding. If you are going to read on a train, consider taking a notebook with you or taking notes in your application or the reader you are using to read.
If you want to learn practical skills such as knitting or dancing, it would be better to watch a video tutorial or sign up for a course instead of reading a book or article on the subject, even if it contains pictures. These materials can of course complement your knowledge, but the most important thing is to see how it is done and experience it personally.
10. Establish your learning routine
Learning routines are a powerful way to improve your learning skills and abilities. As Aristotle used to say: “We are what we repeatedly do”. With your routine you act like an “autopilot”. You don’t have to remember that you should learn now, you don’t have to fight for motivation, you just start working calmly and benefit from regular and systematic learning.
Start even with a short time you can spend on learning, but be practical. 5 minutes may not be enough to learn something effectively. The easiest way to get involved in regular learning sessions is to take advantage of the time already available in our schedule. Time for commuting, time for exercise, lunch breaks or time for various duties and homework can all work well here. Just add reading, listening to an audiobook or watching a series of educational videos and don’t forget to take notes to increase your learning efficiency.
Another great advantage of having regular learning slots in your calendar is that you can also plan your “repetitions”. If you’re reading about Emotional Intelligence today, for example, summarize the most important findings from today’s reading tomorrow – to consolidate your knowledge.
So plan your learning sessions and determine in advance when you will be learning. Enter these sessions in your calendar to have the time reserved for this purpose. Keep these appointments! If he acts in this way consistently for a long time, you will see how much you are able to learn and how much you can develop.
You are motivated to lifelong learning and self-development. You put your time and effort into learning. Now you need to maximize the return on investment in learning. Use these 10 ways to learn effectively, based on evidence and practice, to take your learning outcomes to a higher level.
Apply these strategies in your life and over time you will see the difference they can make to you. Your “brain power” will increase, your memory will improve. You will become a better, more efficient and more effective student. Let’s do it!