Updated: Oct 4, 2022
We all know practice makes perfect. While it does take repetition to achieve and master a difficult skill, it is helpful to get into a mindset of learning effectively. When we are learning a new subject, it might feel overwhelming and difficult to learn all the information at once, but over effective refinement, learning will become easier. Here are some of the ways to learn more effectively.
Always Be Curious
Whether the subject interests you or not, gaining knowledge will only benefit you, if applied correctly. When you have learned something, think of it as gaining another piece of insight that will help you navigate this world. Over time, you are collecting these pieces, enhancing your skills, and strengthening your brain. What helps me stay curious is always asking the question “why”? When you understand where the concepts you are trying to learn come from, then it becomes easier than the “how” or the specific steps. For example, as we learn Algebra, it might not appear to be apparent why we need to solve for X in an equation. After figuring out that you have to solve for X in an equation, we learn that it can help us find the missing variable in a math equation that gives us everything else but X. We are also able to plot the points where an equation meets the x-axis on a cartesian plane. This can be used for mathematical and graphical purposes. That was an example of practicing being curious about learning. This can be applied to other types of subjects as well.
Difficult Things are Good for You
Learning a new concept might be challenging and difficult to retain, but understand that once you learn them, it will benefit you in the long run in several ways: build a better memory, reduce mistakes, and build better study systems. There are definitely times when you will encounter a difficult math problem or a difficult science memorization exercise, but understanding that once you push through in your learning journey, your complex reasoning skills regarding that certain subject matter will increase. When you work with flashcards, it will be difficult to memorize everything in the first review. However, over a few reviews, the time it takes for each review will decrease exponentially. Accomplishing difficult tasks serves as a confidence builder and is an investment in your future self.
Take it Step by Step
The first step to learning effectively is to focus on the main points that you remember most when learning a subject. Learning those topics will help you connect to other concepts, words, or problems a lot easier. For example, when you learn physics, you will understand the equation for weight is W = mg. This means the weight of gravity is equal to mass multiplied by gravity. Once you learn and understand this equation, it will help you learn the velocity equation, the force equation, and more. When you encounter the next physics problem and you have no idea where to start, you want to focus on the fundamental concepts or any patterns that you have learned initially within the harder concepts.
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