Did you know that it is possible to learn more from less studying? It seems implausible, but many people have aced their exams by studying less. Here are some facts that you probably didn’t know:
Smart people use a different learning strategy; they are not just gifted.
Your grades could improve if you did less studying.
You can train yourself to be smart.
How is any of this possible?
The key to learning more by studying less, according to Scott H. Young, is holistic learning. What is it? Basically, holistic learning is the opposite of cramming. When you cram, you fill your head with information, hoping that you will remember it later. Memorization treats the brain like a computer filing system. In holistic learning, you learn by making a connection between ideas. It’s actually a lot messier than it sounds because information is not filed away in neat boxes. Instead, it’s made into a web of interweaved concepts. This type of learning is closer to how the human brain works: which makes it a complete success.
How else can you learn by making connections? Here are several tactics that you can use to connect your ideas together.
1. Use mental pictures
Have you ever tried to remember something through visualization? Complex mathematical formulas are particularly hard to remember. Instead of memorizing them, you can break them into smaller components, and try to imagine them as part of a graph.
Metaphors are used to relate two things that are not, in fact, related. When you learn something new, try to think of similar concepts. The idea is that, by creating metaphors, you will understand new concepts by seeing them through understandable vantage points. You can learn an abstract process by comparing it to a more common event. For instance, you can compare derivatives to the speedometer on your car. Use metaphors that you can easily understand and relate to.
This tactic is used to memorize complex numbers; it’s mostly used by mental magicians. The basic idea of pegging is to attach digits to specific consonants. For example: 1=s 3=k, and 9=r. These consonants will form a jumble of letters. Insert a vowel between them to form nouns. This tactic will help you to remember big numbers.
4. Use diagrams
Recent research shows that drawing improves your concentration. If you are in class, and bored out of your mind, you should draw diagrams. Draw something that is related to the subject you are learning. Doing so will keep boredom at bay, and increase your concentration.
5. Teach someone else
What did you learn in class? If you can explain it to somebody else, your brain will create connections that will improve your understanding. Teaching will also force you to break down complex concepts; a step that will further increase your comprehension of the subject.
6. Avoid taking rigid notes
When taking notes, make them interesting. Better yet, you should write your ideas in connections and branches. Adding your personal thoughts and diagrams will make the notes easier to understand.
7. Dig a foundation
Have you ever noticed that early subjects seem easier once you advance in them? For instance, algebra looks like child’s play once you start learning calculus. Advancing in a subject means that you will struggle to understand the newer material. However, the old material will seem easier by comparison.
This tactic differs greatly from visualization. When you learn by visceralization, you create an experience by combining feeling, texture, image, and sound. Basically, you need to take an abstract thing and make it tangible. How do you do this? Start by forming relationships between different ideas and putting them on paper. Imagine what a certain concept would feel, smell, and sound like. Use your imagination to come up with different sights, textures, smells, and sounds for different concepts.