This article contains proven steps and strategies on how to learn anything fast and remember it.
Do you want to increase your creativity and memory? Is there a subject you need to learn, a book you need to memorize, or an article you need to study? Do you want to reduce the risk of getting Alzheimer’s and Dementia?
You will understand the basic fundamentals of how to control your brain and how to learn anything. You’ll go through step by step processes how to engage your brain to learn more.
Not only that, but you’ll learn “hacks”, tools and techniques I’ve learnt from the best in the world, to memorize and to learn at an incredible speed. You will also learn an ancient secret method to boost concentration, focus, and memory.
How The Brain Works
The brain is this gray matter in our heads which weighs between 1300 and 1400 grams (that’s about 3 pounds). It is made of brain cells, otherwise known as neurons. Neurons are attached to each other by connections called synapses. The neurons form billions of connections through your entire brain system.
Now what does this have to do with learning? Well, the brain “reads” the information from the neurons by looking at how they are connected to each other.
The stronger memories you have, the stronger synapses (connections) the neurons have between each other in your brain. Think of it like a rope. The more connections between neurons, the thicker the rope. The thicker the rope, the more durable it is.
How do new connections form and how to make them stronger? In other words, how can I learn new things and not forget them?
The connections between neurons are constantly changing. You meet a new person and memorize his or her name, or you forget your mother’s birthday. Connections are constantly being created and cut off. What determines which connections the brain wants to keep and cut off? The importance of them.
Logically your mother’s birthday may be really important for you, but for some reason the brain still cuts it off. If your mother’s birthday was a life or death matter for you, would you still forget it?
I bet you wouldn’t. Or, if you were reminded of her birthday every single day for 5 years, would you still forget her birthday? I bet not. Therefore we can conclude that the brain has 2 primary funnels to learn from:
- Relevance of information.
Repetition also correlates with the importance of the information, because if a certain fact comes up many times between a certain period of time, the brain interprets the knowledge to be important.
How To Learn Anything Fast And Remember It:
How To Change Your Emotional State To Learn Faster
The brain interprets the importance of the information you want to learn by the emotional state you currently are in. The stronger the emotional state, the stronger the connections between neurons get.
I’m not necessarily talking about positive or negative emotional states although they are powerful as well, but rather a strong emotional state of curiosity and passion towards the subject you want to learn about.
So basically to learn effectively you need to figure out how to change your emotional state to curiosity and passion. What determines your emotional state? It’s what you focus on. What determines what you focus on? Your RAS. How can you control your RAS? By asking questions.
Let’s give an example of a bad learner and a good learner. First off, I firmly believe that every single human being has the capacity to learn as much as others, they just have a different mindset towards learning.
A bad learner in class subconsciously focuses on “Why do I have to learn this since I won’t need it in the future anyway?” This thought just by itself associates a feeling of unimportance towards the subject.
A good student would probably think “How will getting an A from this benefit me?” and he would come up with all kinds of answers like “I will get a good grade, which means my parents and teachers will be proud of me.
With good grades I might get a scholarship and get into a good college and land an amazing job.
Learning this also increases my brains ability to process information and makes it easier for me to learn stuff related to this subject in the future.” It’s an endless loop. Start asking questions which make you focus on the benefits rather than the downsides.
What’s the fastest way to forget information? Simply by not using it. Let’s say you learn that the word “cat” means “chat” in French by reading it once, and never using it again for a year. What is the probability that you’ll remember the word after a year has passed? Yeah it’s pretty slim.
On the other hand if you repeat the word several times every day in both languages for a month. It’s very likely you’ll still remember the word in a year. Repetition is key for learning, and not using what you have learned is a good way to forget it.
Using State Based Learning To Achieve Maximum Results
Let’s say you have a big exam coming up and you listen to classical music while you study. Later on, when you listen to the classical music, it reminds you of the things you learned and subjects you were studying about. Then finally when the exam day arrives, you take a seat and start doing the exam.
You realize you can’t remember as much compared to when you had the classical music playing in the background. This is because the environment you learn in has an effect on what you remember.
When you’re studying for an exam, make sure the environment you study in is familiar to the actual exam environment.
If there’s no classical music playing in the background during the exam, you probably shouldn’t listen to classical music when you study. So basically make sure the environment is similar to the environment you’re going to have your exam in.
The Story Method
Now that you know the fundamentals for learning and how the brain creates curiosity and how to make a certain subject important for learning, it’s time to actually look at the ways and techniques which make the learning process faster and easier.
Let’s start off with Visualization.
Visualization is time consuming, but it’s also the most effective way to learn anything from small details to big concepts. When you successfully associate pictures and stories with facts and details you need to remember, it’s likely you’ll never forget the details.
Let’s say you need to remember a random set of words in the right order: boat, kite, pen, deodorant, panda, socks, helicopter, banana, iPhone, London, earplugs, dirty underwear, leaf, calculator.
These words are easily remembered in the right sequence by a technique I call “The Story”. Now before we get into learning the technique, give yourself 30 seconds to try and memorize all the words without any technique.
After 30 seconds close your eyes and try repeating those words in the correct order. Go ahead now.
Ok welcome back, how did you do? Did you remember all of them? If you did, great job. If you didn’t, which is more likely, keep close attention since I’ll be teaching you how to use “The Story” technique to learn all those words in the correct order without any problems.
The Story technique is based on Visualization and associating the sequence of words to visual cues attached to objects on a time line. Simply said, we use the words in a story we create inside our heads to remember them. Okay let’s start.
Imagine yourself standing in front of a small lake. Now imagine an empty gray wooden boat peacefully floating on a lake. Suddenly a massive red kite comes from under the water and tips over the boat. While the kite goes up towards the sky, you see a gigantic pen attached to it.
The pen smells like the best deodorant in the world. You can just smell the nice scent coming your way. Suddenly someone grabs your hand, you turn around and see a massive human like panda standing behind you. You notice it has these bright green socks on his ears.
The next thing you know a helicopter flies above you and the panda. It drops down these rope ladders, and the panda starts climbing them. As he climbs these ladders, he drops his iPhone on the ground.
The helicopter lifts off. You notice the iPhone gets a text from a guy called “London” and he’s asking if you know where his bright orange earplugs and dirty underwear are.
You get confused and throw the iPhone into a tree causing leaves to fall all around you. You sit down and realize you sat on a calculator.
It’s a story with totally random events happening in it. The key here is to visualize the story crystal clear in your head and to concentrate on all the tiniest details. Go through the story again and really make it crystal clear in your head. You’ve now connected the words with the time line of the story.
Whenever you want to remember the words: boat, kite, pen, deodorant, panda, socks, helicopter, banana, iPhone, London, earplugs, dirty underwear, leaf, calculator, you will remember the right sequence through the story we just created.
Do this for shopping lists or anything else you might want to remember.
Using The Pomodoro Technique
It has been scientifically proven that when you want to learn something new, it’s best to do it in cycles. One of the best methods I found to do this is the Pomodoro technique. It’s basically a technique where you set a timer to 25 minutes.
After the timer starts you start reading, studying, working or doing whatever task you have at hand for the next 25 minutes. After the 25 minutes has passed, and the timer rings, you have a 5 minute break.
This is easy to handle since it goes in equal 30 minute cycles. 25 minutes of learning and 5 minutes break. Easy as that. The Pomodoro goes in 4 cycles. So after the first 4 cycles, you get a 15 minute break. Then the cycle starts over again.
There’s also a law called the Parkinson’s Law, which basically says that if you are given a time limit, you will usually finish the task by the deadline.
For example, have you ever started to create a big school project just at the last day of the deadline and still passed? That’s the Parkinson’s Law in action.
Using the Pomodoro establishes a feeling of urgency to complete a task before the bell rings on the 25 minute mark. The Parkinson’s Law is one of the reasons why the Pomodoro technique is so effective.
Remember that it’s extremely important to eliminate all distractions when using the Pomodoro technique. The 25 minutes needs to be dedicated to 1 task only.
Whether that be writing emails, reading or studying. You’re only allowed to check your phone and do what you want on the 5 minute break. Remember: Do not multitask!
It’s a general misconception that multitasking is productive. No one can do many things at a time, your RAS can only focus on 1 main thing at a time. Multitasking is essentially rapidly focusing on different things in a short period of time, and in fact, it doesn’t get anything done properly.
The thing with multitasking is that it feels productive because it seems like you are doing multiple different things simultaneously, but in reality you will get much more done if you focus on one thing at a time until completion, and then switch to the next thing.
When learning, only concentrate on learning and avoid multitasking at all costs.
How To Use Pre-Reading
When there’s a book or an article you want to remember and understand, pre-reading comes in handy. Pre-reading is a very effective tool because it maps out all the important aspects of an article or a book you want to study.
It creates this structure and a first impression about the content, and from there it’s easy to connect the details from the text to the structure.
Pre-reading should happen at about 5 to 8 times faster as your usual reading speed. In the pre-reading phase read all the titles, first and last paragraphs, and skim through the entire content.
From the skimming you will notice certain key words in the text and will get a basic understanding around what the text is about.
It’s very important that while you pre-read the text, come up with questions about the text you want to get answered. This helps massively with creating curiosity. Create questions about the titles and try to figure out what you already know about the subject and wish to learn about the subject.
These types of questions make your RAS (1) focus on what’s truly important. So basically the meaning of pre-reading is to get your brain focused on the right things while getting a general idea of what the content is about.
Effective Way To Read A Textbook
Textbooks are filled with dense material which could be hard to digest. The system to go through a textbook is actually pretty simple, and it gives a massive boost on learning the textbook.
Start by pre-reading. Pre-read the whole textbook from cover to cover to get a bigger picture of what the book is about. Read the table of content very carefully, and skim through all the headlines and first and last paragraphs of each chapter for important words and phrases.
After pre-reading the book, you know the structure of the book and what it’s about.
Next step is to create a mind map about what you already know about the subject. This clears your head of clutter and sets a good frame for learning.
Now ask yourself “What don’t I know about this subject, and what do I want to know about this subject?” This helps to create the right kind of curiosity, and makes your RAS concentrate on what’s actually important in the text.
Now you can start actually reading the text. After you’ve read the first chapter of the book, write down what you remember after reading it. Don’t take notes while you read, take notes after you’ve read the chapter.
Now read the chapter again, and afterwards fill in the points you missed when you first wrote the notes. Do this until the notes reflect all the main points of the chapter.
After you have all the notes written down, revise them and repeat the above process again until you have learned the whole book.
The Right Way To Use Flash Cards
Essentially flash cards are double sided cards. On the first side there is a word or a fact you want to remember, and on the second side there’s information about the word or the fact written on the first side.
Flash cards really come in handy when you’re trying to memorize anything. They are really good because they can be made colorful and visually appealing. It’s also excellent repetition.
Remember, repetition is one of the keys to excellent learning as long as you have curiosity towards what you are trying to learn. With repetition, the content you want to learn will stick in your head very effectively.
Using flash cards is a great way to present and practice vocabulary and facts you want to remember. Flash cards can also be used to break down big concepts to smaller chunks to help memorize the information you need to learn.
The most effective way to use flashcards is to go through them 3 times per day. When you study, constantly create flashcards about concepts, words or facts you don’t understand or remember. After studying, go through them. Then go through all of them straight after waking up and just before going to bed.
How To Use Mind Maps
Mind mapping is one of the most powerful ways to get a clear understanding of subjects you want to learn about. A mind map is where there’s the main concept in the middle of a paper and from that concept branches smaller parts or areas related to the main concept.
It’s an excellent way to break down complicated concepts or events for example World War II.
With mind mapping you will see the whole structure of a subject you want to learn about. A good trick I use with mind mapping is I create a story about the parts of the mind map using “The Story” method.
By combining mind mapping and creating stories around it, it multiplies my ability to memorize the subject.
How to create an effective mind map?
- Choose a subject you want to create the mind map about
- Use a lot of colors since they increase visual recollection
- Make sure you have a big sheet of paper or good software
1. Use an image if you can for the center (if you can’t use an image, just draw a colorful name to the center of the paper). You can associate a lot of information to an image. “An image is worth a thousand words”.
2. Connect branches to the center idea, and write the main points about the subject to the end of the branches. Make sure you use many different colors to make the whole picture easier to recall.
3. Create a story using “The Story” technique I taught you earlier. Create the story around the main point, and connecting the different parts of the mind map as the story goes on. This will multiply your chances of remembering the concept.
How To Maintain A Good Long Term Memory
What I’ve learned in the past is that when I’m experiencing any strong emotions, I can remember it for a lot longer than when I’m feeling passive. Emotions trigger memory (2). I’m sure you have some faint memories of being a child and being super happy or sad about something.
More than that, people often remember events when they were afraid. Normally remembering through emotions works really well, but there still is the fact that if your brain registers a memory as “useless”, it will eventually forget it.
When you want something to stick long term, you need to time the memories in long enough intervals, where you recall the subject you want to remember just before you forget it.
How To Boost Creativity, Memory And Focus.
Meditation is an ancient technique that has been used for thousands of years. It’s where a person sits down in a comfortable position, closes his eyes, and only concentrates on his breath.
It’s very difficult in the beginning and your mind will start racing and thinking about all sorts of stuff. It’s like going to the gym for the brain. How long can you actually sit still and only focus on your breath?
Studies show that meditation has massive benefits not only mentally but physically as well. People who meditate have higher creativity and better memory.
I want to thank you for taking the time to read my article about how to learn anything fast. I sincerely hope its contents have been a good help to you.
You are now ready to embark on the epic journey of learning.