Wouldn’t it be cool if everything in life was as unforgettable as riding a bike? Science says using the right method may help!
According to a recent study, some learning methods work better than others. The summarizing method, for example, in which students write a few notes to summarize each page they read, has been poorly rated. Rereading (right after the initial reading), highlighting and underlining methods ranked even lower. Even conjuring up imagery while studying to help you visualize concepts as your read got a low rank, since its effectiveness decreases when longer sections of text must be read.
So what does work? Researchers point to the importance of signaling to your brain that the information is valuable. That’s why talking about it afterward, practice testing, or even using flashcards is useful. Re-reading the material or restudying one to two days after your initial studying is also a good way to reinforce learning.
Additionally, according to Benedict Carey, a science reporter for the New York Times, it is important to give the brain some variation. Long study sessions in the same place, for example, tend to take up so much brain energy just to keep concentrated that not much is left for the actual learning. So simple things like just changing scenarios can allow the brain to create new associations, which in turn can make recalling information easier.
Of course, everyone is different and these are just some ideas of what could work. But go ahead and try them out – given how much room there is in our brains, we better be making the most of it!