Several key ideas to memorize and learn in the most efficient way possible.
Throughout the day we face a large amount of information, which continually bombards us and which we must process in order to adapt to the environment.
Much of this information is not excessively relevant except when it appears, but sometimes it can be useful to keep it in memory. For example, at an academic level, we are asked to capture, maintain and retain in memory the data we receive.
But to memorize something, it is generally not worth exposing yourself once to such information: just by hearing a few words or reading a few lines we will not retain them unless they have marked us deeply. It is also desirable that the memorization process does not last forever, but is efficient and allows space for our attention to be directed to new elements.
How to memorize fast? Throughout this article we are going to propose a series of different strategies that can help us speed up and facilitate the retention of information.
How to memorize fast: strategies and procedures
There are many elements that influence our ability to encode and retain information. And some of these elements can be manipulated in order to promote learning. Next we will see a series of possible methods or procedures to help us memorize.
1. Review the information
Something basic to get to learn and memorize something is to make this information enter our mind on several occasions. With a single presentation it is very difficult to keep something in memory, unless it has a profound emotional impact. The review and repetition serve to reinforce the imprint that such information leaves in our memory, in some cases to become something automatic.
This is especially useful for information that is disconnected from each other or that we cannot link with other knowledge of our day to day, such as a list of words or multiplication tables, but it is also applicable to other types of information.
2. Make outlines and summaries
Simply reading a text and waiting for it to end up being recorded in memory can be a slow and inefficient process. When it comes to speeding it up, it is advisable to make summaries of the content covered and even diagrams in which to synthesize and organize the information. This allows us to work at the mental level with the information, processing and manipulating it in such a way that we make it understandable to ourselves.
3. Read and repeat out loud
Various studies show that compared to mere reading in silence, it is more effective and efficient when it comes to memorizing the fact of verbalizing what we are reading, since we not only work on it at the level of visual representation but also at the auditory and motor level.
4. Explain it to another
It may be advisable to make a short presentation or explanation to another person of the content that we have to memorize. In a way similar to that of the previous point, the fact of mentally working with the information to put it in our own words and express it helps us to make sense of what we have learned, something that undoubtedly favors a faster and more efficient memorization.
5. Employ multiple avenues
When we think about studying or memorizing something, we probably get the image of someone staring at the same information always presented in the same way. Although repetition of information is necessary, it can be helpful for material to be presented through multiple avenues. Of course, with some constancy and caution, because if each repetition is different, this can cause damage when it comes to focusing on the content itself.
In addition, using different routes will make it easier for people with a specific type of memorization to increase their chances and the speed at which they learn (there are people, for example, who retain visual information more than verbal or vice versa, or at pictograms or pictures work better than letters).
6. Use metaphors, acronyms, and acronyms
A good strategy that facilitates the memorization of a content is not to limit itself to representing it as it is but to try to generate metaphors with the concepts or to put together the initials or parts of the words to be learned to form a new one that is shorter and more easily memorizable.
7. Create your own story
Another method that makes it easier to quickly memorize some type of information is to find a relationship between the different concepts to retain and develop a short story or even a single sentence that contains both. In this way the memory of one will elicit that of another.
8. Relate the new with the old
Another strategy for learning, and which in fact often occurs naturally during the learning that we more easily carry out, is to link the new information to be memorized with previous knowledge or experiences. This helps to make sense of the information and give it meaning.
9. Find a flattering place
Context is important in facilitating or hindering the learning process. In order to promote memorization, it will be advisable to find an environment with adequate light intensity and to be able to be natural, with a comfortable temperature and in which we can maintain a comfortable but not excessively lax posture. It is also important that there are no other distracting elements present (mobiles, screens or consoles out of reach) and that sufficient space is available.
10. Context-dependent memory
Various studies show us that the conditions in which we acquire knowledge also influence its memory: when we receive information in a certain place or in specific circumstances, it is easier to remember it when these conditions are recreated. For example, if we learned something underwater, it would be much easier to remember it again on a new dive than on the surface. That is why it is useful to always study in a space similar to the situation in which we are going to apply this knowledge.
11. Link the information to something you are passionate about
Although it is not always possible, it can be very useful to relate what we want to learn with something that generates interest and satisfaction. In this way, the knowledge to be memorized can be easier to retain when linked to the positive emotions related to our hobby. For example, people who like theater may do well to do a short theatrical performance that integrates what they have to memorize.
12. Take regular breaks
Many people spend long hours looking at and reviewing the material to be learned, and they may even spend sleepless nights to keep trying to memorize. Although kneeling elbows is not bad, the truth is that it has been shown that studying all at once for hours is not as efficient as taking small specific breaks of a few minutes in which we can disconnect and relax and then go back to studying.
Obviously it should not be abused either: perhaps a break every hour that lasts around five minutes could go well, although it will depend on the rhythm of work and on not breaking a specific moment of concentration.
13. Basic requirement: eat and sleep properly
In order to learn and maintain good functioning and mental efficiency, it is necessary to maintain a sufficient quantity and quality of sleep that allows us to regenerate and replenish our energies. The same can be said with regard to nutrition: eating well will help us to have energy and promote mental functioning.
- Sara, SJ (2000). Retrieval and reconsolidation: toward a neurobiology of remembering. Learning & Memory, 7 (2), 73-84.