4 Brain Hacks To Help You Learn Anything Efficiently

By Kanyi M

We know you’re busy. We also know that while cramming might work for a test or an exam, it’s not the best way to acquire knowledge. Besides, who needs to remember facts when Google can tell you anything you need to know? How do we learn, then?

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1. Starting from known to unknown

The most successful students in the world use a learning strategy called “desirable difficulties,” which means that you should spend more time understanding the material and trying to find patterns, and less time just memorizing it. The author of “A Mind for Numbers” calls this method “staring at an ant” – constantly looking for connections between new information and information you already know.

2. Take study naps

Just after lunch, for about 20 minutes, take a nap. Sleep does not interrupt learning, and in fact, it speeds up learning. A short nap can also help you learn better than you would by not taking a nap. Researchers found that even if total sleep time is the same, naps are better at enhancing memory retention than simply studying longer without napping first. So next time you have a final in the afternoon, wedge in a little siesta between lunch and dinner.

3. Teach it to someone (or pretend to)

You learn better when you teach what you’ve learned. In fact, a recent study found that just thinking about teaching something can boost your memory. But if you want to double your learning speed, try combining the two: not only do you double the learning speed, but you also double the retention of what you’ve learned by teaching it to someone else.

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4. When in doubt there is a question mark

Sometimes trying to solve a problem or learn something new can leave us frustrated and confused. Many of us assume that we’re stuck and there’s no way out, but all too often this feeling simply reflects an incomplete or missing understanding of the topic. Fill in the gaps and you’ll find that the answer is surprisingly simple.