Learning the easier way with fun hacks!
Learning the easier way with fun hacks!
Have you ever had a problem memorizing something? Have you ever stuck on a very complicated math formula, thinking how many ‘x’s and ‘y’s were there in it? Have you ever spent hours on a chemical equation because you mixed up their chemical makeup? We all have experienced the different phases of human learning. We all started with simple letters and progressed to complicated words. But the problem is, we have run out of ideas to memorize a simple sentence. We mix up one component of our literature with the other. We tend to forget 3 out of the 13 points we learned. We all have, in some point in our examination history, made something up because we got ‘blank’ when we saw the paper. In a nutshell, each and every student has had a moment in his life when he, stopped for a second and thought, ‘What did I just read?’ or ‘What was it that I read in the book about xyz?’
What to do when this happens? Does this mean that one’s memory is faulty? That’s not the case.Your mind never deserts you. It’s just that you do not know where exactly did you store that information. You also sometimes don’t know what was it that you stored. Sometimes the information you feed to your brain, is not something it is familiar with. Its like you are copying Chinese alphabets from a chart. You can copy it well enough; everyone can draw. But can you understand? Absolutely not. That’s what happens when you feed something unfamiliar to your brain. It copies or it tries as much as possible, to do so, but when you wish to recall, you are not sure what you are looking for. The only way you recall is by looking at a keyword again. That kick-starts your brain to give you everything you stored under that keyword.
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Human brain is a curious object. You may not remember your childhood completely, but you may remember something scary that happened when you were still 3. That’s because our brain is designed to store our experiences. Human beings are adaptive, flexible, creative and innovative because they learn from past experiences. The brain is designed to store everything new we provide it with. Yet, as it chooses to store our experiences, it fails to store a new principle I learned about Carnot’s engine. Is there a difference? Why is there a difference? Yes, there is a difference. A difference of technique. Something we all can apply to help us memorize the basic of things in the tiniest of times.
There are plenty of life hacks one can employ to improve one’s memorizing techniques. Here are a few tips:
Trust your interests
Basically what you need to know is you have the capacity to remember it. What you lack is the proper interest. For example, its your first day in a new class. You are sitting on a bench and you are observing every new student entering the class. You see a guy wearing blue jeans and a black shirt. He has this angry look on his face. A girl in a pink dress comes in. Her long hair is in a braid and she looks nervous. You don’t know their names, nor anything about them. Just the description you observed. Now, when you find out their names are Yaseen and Sonia, a picture is going to float in your head whenever you hear their names. Do you know where Sonia is? That tall girl with her long hair in a braid? The one who doesn’t talk at all? Yes, she is right there standing with her friend.
That is the interest and observation you need when you start studying. Don’t think of it as something you need to know. Think of it as something you want to know. Think of it as a living entity. Think of what its wearing (an image to see what it looks like), what type of features does it have (what is the composition/ makeup/ structure), what is the type of its personality (what is its function/role/working), is it a good person (advantages) or a bad one (disadvantages)? Answer these questions and you will have a picture of the relevant object you are storing in long term memory.
Familiarize-its gets easier!
That’s not the only thing you need though. You need to have a grasp of the affiliated terms. We all have a grasp on terms affiliated with human. Tall, short, mean, caring, angry, stupid, hungry, bully, doctor, lawyer we all know what these words mean exactly. We can easily incorporate them in our daily life. But can we say the same for something like phenylethylamine or emetic or amyloidosis? These also describe the various objects that we are desperately trying to convert to memory. But then again, we are not fluent with them as we are with other words.
So the next step involves developing this fluency. It involves creating concept of the basic methodologies. Incorporate them in your life like you would a normal new word of the same language. For example, let me convert a simple information into this idea:
A mast cell degranulates under three conditions; trauma, inflammation and when its IgE antigen is cross linked.
Here’s what you are going to say:
‘Hey mast cell. Do you degranulate this often? Or do you degranulate in trauma, inflammation and cross-linking of your IgE antigen?’
This is how you familiarize yourself with your books.
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Let the Hand speak for itself!
Lets take the proverb, ‘Actions speak louder than words’ to a whole new level. Sometimes, it so happens that reading and re-reading the same sentence gets you nowhere still. You ponder over it for long hours and still fail to understand it. That’s where your hand comes in handy. Write the sentence once or twice. You will see that writing the sentence provided a better, individual focus on each word you wrote and clarifies the meaning.
That’s not the only advantage. The hand has a mind of its own. This is something I learned from my cousins and friends who apply mehendi designs on eids. Their hand movements are not coordinated to the rest of their body. They don’t need to specially focus on the job, they are laughing, talking and joking along with the rest of us, all the while their hand is making intricate patterns. In medical terms, the hands have the highest motor activity; they have the greatest muscle movement capacity. They are designed to handle the greatest reflexes. And thus when you write something with your hands, a part of it becomes part of your memory. Something that pays off when your mind is unfocused, blank and diverted, especially in exams.
Revision is the key
This is an old school technique that requires more patience than skill. It involves everyday revision. and by revision I mean,revising the lecture you took in class the same day. It does help if you provide small pieces of information everyday than the whole book in a night. You can’t give time to every chapter or topic individually if you do it in a hurry. The main advantage of revising and understanding what little literature you have read earlier is that you are allowed to question the knowledge you are gaining. You can focus on individual terms and do suggested further reading related to it. You can not question anything when you have the pressure of completing your course in a week or day. You just want to get it over with.
So I suggest a day to day revision and understanding of the topics at hand.
Enhance your visual memory
Did you know that 80% of our memories are determined by what we see? Well, of course you do, that is why we read. But did you know that, we learn more from pictures than text? Bet you didn’t. So it is time to upgrade your learning methodologies-from words to pictures! Try looking for videos that explain processes rather than plainly reading it from a text. Look for pictures of the things you have only read about in a book and have no visual record of. And when in doubt, draw!
As you learn new words, let your brain gather new pictures.
So, whenever a big boring book looks you in the face again, tell it, ‘you don’t scare me, anymore.’ every person has a different mind; he has a different take on things. He may not be able to try everything and succeed with all of it, but he may be able to do something and learn from it.
Life is a dynamic and diverse process that provides one advice, applicable on so many fronts. These are just a few life hacks from a few examples of daily life. There are so many others that will hi further improve your outlook.
Article by Kashmala Adil QaziShare