When learning, it is essential to retain the information. Students can do many things to help with this process in both classroom settings and group or personal study environments. While these methods may not work for everyone and may sometimes even go against what some teachers teach, they have merit and should be considered by anyone who wishes to improve their learning retention skills.
1) Maintain a positive attitude towards learning the material being taught
It is vital to feel a certain way about yourself before opening that textbook (or whatever information you were given). If one feels superior and as if they know more than their teacher, learning will be far easier than if one believes they cannot positively learn all the information. While motivation varies from student to student, this feeling of knowing more than one’s teacher will help lessen the amount of time needed to improve retention skills.
2) Make sure you understand the material before moving on
Often, students feel as if they must complete all assigned material before learning what is necessary for the next lesson to be done correctly. However, unless otherwise specified by teachers/instructors, there is little need to cover all material provided in class at once. Usually, it’s best to get an overall idea of what has been covered in your book or study packet and then move on when you are certain that you can answer any questions regarding what was discussed previously based upon knowledge of new information that has been provided.
3) Write out what you are learning
By taking notes while in the classroom, studying for a test, or reading your study packet out of class, you can entirely write down all of the information given by your instructor/teacher or shown on your textbook’s pages. Since writing requires much more concentration than listening or even reading silently, throwing extra focus into remembering what you learned will increase the likelihood that you will retain most if not all of this new information until its subsequent use.
It is also important to note that writing something down does not mean completely rewriting everything verbatim; summarizing key points and then just quoting those main ideas is just as effective as full copying when it comes to learning retention.
4) Ask questions and be engaged during class discussions
Sometimes, teachers/instructors will make comments that seem irrelevant to the lesson at hand; however, if a student should ask about these comments in an engaging way (one in which it’s not apparent that they are just asking for the sake of asking), the teacher/instructor may explain something very important or interesting that you would have otherwise missed had you not asked your question. Students often get far more out of class than they realize and therefore miss opportunities to improve their abilities by asking questions now and then.
5) Have someone quiz you over what was discussed while studying
If possible, find fellow students who are also interested in improving their learning retention skills and have them test you on your notes, textbook readings, or study packet chapters. This can be done by reviewing the material together in a group setting or flipping back-and-forth between quizzers while each reads aloud what was covered earlier. Even though this may not seem like an effective learning method for everyone (especially those who are shy when it comes to talking in front of others), having other people quiz classmates will help improve retention of new material through encouraging repetition.
6) Review/reread your notes frequently
There is much merit in rereading class notes after a brief period since they were originally written down. When doing so, any confusion regarding what certain words mean or how you derived something may be cleared up through a more extended review session than was initially needed. In addition, by reviewing notes before going over the same material again (in class or via your textbook/study packet), you will have a higher chance of remembering the information at hand for more extended periods.
7) Stay healthy and maintain good sleeping habits
It’s not easy to concentrate or learn anything new when you are sick, so it is crucial to maintain good health as much as possible. Drink plenty of water daily and get enough sleep every night so that you feel alert during class. Even though some teachers/instructors will allow students to bring cold medicine, cough drops, or other remedies to class to help them feel alert enough to learn, it is always better for students to have the energy/vigor before they enter the classroom.
Take the time to implement these learning retention strategies, and you will notice a massive change in how much you learn from your teachers, textbooks, or study packets. Retention of information (both in terms of what you hear/read and what you write down) is more effective for learning and easier when trying to remember something new as soon as possible. Use the tips above, and you can improve your learning retention in no time.