Some Things You Can Do Every Day To Benefit Your Brain

e3A mind is a valuable thing to waste. You’ve heard the saying many times, but it truly does ring true. Your mind is your most valuable asset. You need to take care of it. So here’s a list of 10 things you can do every day to benefit your brain:

1. Take a nap.
Refreshing your body can also help you improve brain function, increase memory, and improve your mood. Even just 15 minutes can make a huge difference in your day-to-day life. So take a nap, feel refreshed, and help your brain all in one. Naps improve your brain performance, so why are you still awake?

2. Do something creative just before going to bed.
When you’re tired, your brain can be more creative. Take advantage! Whether you’re writing the next great American Novel or dusting off the old paint brush and canvas, finding your creative outlet just before going to bed can yield great results. So tap your inner Picasso and create something beautiful. Just don’t fall asleep with the brush in your hand.

3. Focus on one task at a time.
Did you know that it’s literally impossible for your brain to multitask? By focusing on one task at a time, you can keep your brain working at maximum capability and accomplish more than you imagined. Find a task you need to finish and focus solely on it. Leave the phone in the other room, turn the TV off, and focus. Your brain will thank you.

4. Do cardio. And exercise.
You’ve heard that cardio leads to a healthier, better body. But it also helps the mind. Find 15-30 minutes a day and get moving! You don’t need a gym membership or any fancy equipment. Just a walk around the neighborhood can do wonders and benefit your brain.

5. Write. Like on a real piece of paper.
Computers, iPads, tablets, smartphones and the connection to the internet everywhere means it’s becoming less and less likely that you will pull out a piece of paper and write. But research suggests handwriting makes you smarter. So leave the computer on your desk during your next meeting and write your notes.

6. Take a multi-vitamin daily.
Your car needs oil, your smartphone needs a battery, and your brain needs nutrients. A daily multi-vitamin will ensure that you get your body what it needs. And it will help your brain according to research from the British Journal of Nutrition. Pro-tip: Take your mutli-vitamin with a healthy smoothie to get your day off to a great start.

7. Learn a new language.
Learning a new language is one of the best ways to benefit your brain. It forces your brain to adapt. Learning a language can enrich your life and help you explore new culture, but also has great benefits for your brain. So grab your Rosetta Stone or use a free service like Duolingo and learn something everyday.

8. Play Words With Friends.
The hit game Words with Friends is addictive, yes, but also has great benefits for your brain! Research has found that Scrabble or other word games help increase your IQ and improve your brain power. So play your favorite variation of “jabberwock” and have fun with your friends while benefiting your brain.

9. Meditate.
Meditation is one of the best, oldest forms of relaxation. But it also helps your body and mind! The benefits for your brain found in this study show that meditation benefits nearly every part of the brain. So spend time every day in meditation! You’ll feel more relaxed and truly will be in a better state of mind.

10. Be optimistic.
Being optimistic not only helps you enjoy life, it also does wonders for your brain. When you think positively, research suggests that your brain can be a huge beneficiary. So start taking life with the glass half full approach and help your attitude and your brain.

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Tips Steps to Read a Book Every Day

e2The universal reason people give for not reading is that they don’t have time. Since most people read around 200 words per minute (wpm), about as quickly as they speak, most people can take a week or two to finish one book. If you’re only finishing a book every few weeks, it hardly seems like a good use of time.

Luckily, anyone can learn to read a book every day. If you could read 5 times faster, you could theoretically get through 5 times as many books. You could learn new things much quicker, be more cultured, get through the news quicker in the morning, and more.

The problem with normal speed reading is that it can be very hard to apply above certain speeds. You have to turn pages, or wait for them to shift on your e-reader, and moving your eyes around the page slows you down. But there’s an excellent solution that I use to get through a new book every day or two.

Step One: Learn to Speed Read
First you need to start training yourself to speed read. The easiest way is to simply start using Spreeder to practice (I’m not affiliated with them in any way). They have a few articles on how to speed read most effectively, but it can be distilled to these main points:

Don’t speak the words as you read them. You can read faster than you can speak, so mouthing each word as you go slows you down.
Don’t try to read each word in your head, but rather create a mental picture of the overarching message being conveyed. Your mind also has a speed limit for speaking individual words.
Keep your eyes fixed on the center of the page and read from your peripheral vision. Be sure that you’re far enough from your screen for this to work.
You don’t remember everything perfectly when you read slowly, so don’t expect to remember everything perfectly when you speed read.
When you use Spreeder, start the application at 250 wpm. That’s a little above the 200 wpm rate that most people read at. As soon as you feel comfortable, add another 50-100 wpm. Keep going up in increments until you hit a ceiling that’s hard to get through–after a couple hours of practice I was able to hit 1,000 wpm.

The important thing is to not only increase your wpm, but also your chunk size. This means reading 2, 3, or 4 words at a time instead of just 1. Trying to read just one word at a time at 1,000 wpm is very difficult, but when there are 3 words it’s not so bad. You’ll learn to absorb blocks of text at a time instead of specific words. When you can get to 4 or 5 word chunks, you’ll be able to read most book pages in 2 or 3 chunks, which means you have to move your eyes significantly less than if you were reading each word individually.

Step Two: Find Reading Materials
To use Spreeder, you need plain text that you can copy in to the application. This is can be kind of tricky. Amazon has heavy digital rights management (DRM) on their books, as does Barnes and Noble, so you can’t simple open the file up in Notepad and copy the text. There are a ton of free books online that are out of copyright (meaning they were published before 1942), and there are also places you can buy books in formats that are easily convertible to text (such as PDFs).

However you get the texts converted to plain text, make sure you are doing so legally. Piracy is illegal, and unfair to the author who spent his time and energy creating the book.

Step Three: Create the Environment
Once you’ve taught yourself to speed read at a decent pace, and have some books you want to work through without Spreeder, you need an ideal reading environment. Speed reading at high paces is mentally taxing and after an hour you’ll likely find yourself tired. In addition, since it requires perfect attention and focus, any distraction (including music) can mess you up. You need as little sensory stimulation in your environment as possible.

Here are some additional tips to creating the perfect speed reading environment:

Set aside at least an hour to read, and only to read. Don’t let other distractions interrupt.
Get noise canceling headphones or go to a quiet place. Playing white noise through headphones can help as well.
Make sure you have the screen at an optimal distance. Tablets are great for this because you can hold them right where you want them.
Have a way to take notes! When you burn through a book in an hour, you’ll naturally forget things. Taking notes along the way is very helpful
If you take the time to practice, and make yourself go slightly faster each time, you’ll quickly become a reading machine. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you can learn new things, and absorb concepts that would have taken days or weeks before. At the same time, sit back and read in your normal fashion from time to time as well! Speed reading is mentally taxing, so if you want to read to relax you shouldn’t feel pressured to speed through it.

Tips To Memorize Things Quicker Than Other People

e1People like to joke that the only thing you really “learn” in school is how to memorize. As it turns out, that’s not even the case for most of us. If you go around the room and ask a handful of people how to memorize things quickly, most of them will probably tell you repetition.

That is so far from the truth, it’s running for office. If you want to memorize something quickly and thoroughly, repetition won’t cut it; however, recalling something will. The problem is that recalling something requires learning, and we all learn in different ways. Below are some universal steps to mastering the art of recalling so that you can start memorizing a ton of data in a short amount of time.

Before we start, you need to establish something: are you an auditory, visual, or experiential learner? If you’re an auditory learner, then the most effective way for you to grasp information is by hearing it. As you can imagine, visual learners favor seeing something in order to learn it, and experiential learning types are more akin to learning from events and experiences (or, doing something with the material). Most of us are a combination of at least two of these categories, but I will denote which step is most favorable to your most agreeable learning style so that you can start to memorize things quickly and efficiently.

Step 1: Preparation
To optimize your memorization session, pay close attention to which environment you choose. For most people, this means choosing an area with few distractions, though some people do thrive off of learning in public areas. Figure out what is most conducive to your learning so that you can get started.

Next, start drinking some tea. I could link you to mounds of scientific studies that confirm green tea as a natural catalyst for improving memory. Mechanically speaking, our ability to recall information comes down to the strength between neurons in our mind, which are connected by synapses. The more you exercise the synapse (repetition), the stronger it is, resulting in the ability to memorize.

As we get older, toxic chemicals will damage our neurons and synapses, leading to memory loss and even Alzheimer’s. Green tea contains compounds, however, that block this toxicity and keep your brain cells working properly a lot longer.

Step 2: Record What You’re Memorizing
This is especially useful if you’re trying to memorize information from a lecture. Use a tape recorder to track all of the acquired facts being spoken and listen to it. If you’re trying to memorize a speech, record yourself reading the speech aloud and listen to yourself speaking. Obviously, this is most helpful for auditory learners, but it’s also handy because it ensures that you’re getting more context from a lecture that will help you learn the information faster.

Step 3: Write Everything Down
Before you start trying to recall everything from memory, write and re-write the information. This will help you become more familiar with what you’re trying to memorize. Doing this while listening to your tape recorder can also help you retain a lot of the data. This is most useful for experiential learners.

Step 4: Section your notes.
Now that you have everything written down in one set of notes, separate them into sections. This is ideal for visual learners, especially if you use color coding to differentiate between subjects. This will help you break everything down and start compartmentalizing the information being recorded in your brain.

Step 5: Apply repetition to cumulative memorization
For each line of text, repeat it a few times and try to recall it without looking. As you memorize each set of text, be cumulative by adding the new information to what you’ve just learned. This will keep everything within your short-term memory from fading. Keep doing this until you have memorized that section and you are able to recall the entire thing. Do not move on to another section until you have memorized that one completely. This is mostly visual learning, but if you are speaking aloud, then you are also applying auditory.

Step 6: Write it down from memory
Now that you can recall entire sections, write everything down from memory. This will reinforce everything you just have just learned by applying it experientially.

Step 7: Teach it to someone (or yourself)
The most effective method for me when I was in school was to teach the information to someone else. You can do this in a variety of ways. You can lecture the knowledge to someone sitting right in front of you (or the mirror, if you can’t convince anyone to sit through it) and explain everything extemporaneously. If what you’ve learned needs to be recited verbatim, then do this in front of someone as well in order to get a feel for what it will be like to recite the text to the intended audience.

My favorite method for this is creating tests for other people. Take the information and predict what questions will come out of them. Use multiple choice, matching and so on to present the data in test format, and see how someone else does. All of this is experiential learning, since you are actually practicing and manipulating the concepts you’ve learned.

Step 8: Listen to the recordings continuously
While doing unrelated tasks like laundry or driving, go over the information again by listening to your tape recordings. This is certainly auditory learning, but it will still supplement everything you’ve shoved into your short-term memory.

Step 9: Take a break
Finally, let your mind breathe. Go for a short time without thinking about what you just learned and come back to it later on. You’ll find out what you really know, of course, and this will help you focus on the sections you might be weakest at.

Tips To Remember 90% Of Everything You Learn

Whether you’re learning Spanish, a new instrument, or a new sport, we could all benefit from accelerated learning. But the problem is, there’s only so much time in the day.

The key to accelerated learning is not just putting in more hours, but maximizing the effectiveness of the time spent learning.

The Bucket And Water Analogy
Let’s say you were to fill up a bucket with water. Most buckets should not have any problem retaining the water inside, until it starts overflowing at the top.

But in reality, this isn’t how our brains function. In fact, most of the information that enters our brain leaks out eventually. Instead of looking at our brain’s memory as a bucket that retains everything, we should treat it for what it is: a leaking bucket.

leaking-bucket

While the leaky bucket analogy may sound like a negative connotation, it’s perfectly normal. Unless you were born with a photographic memory, our brains weren’t designed to remember every fact, information, or experience that we go through in our lives.

How To Remember 90% Of Everything You Learn
The development of the Learning Pyramid in the 1960’s — widely attributed to the NTL Institute in Bethel, Maine— outlined how humans learn.

As research shows, it turns out that humans remember:

5% of what they learn when they’ve learned from a lecture (i.e. university/college lectures)
10% of what they learn when they’ve learned from reading (i.e. books, articles)
20% of what they learn from audio-visual (i.e. apps, videos)
30% of what they learn when they see a demonstration
50% of what they learn when engaged in a group discussion.
75% of what they learn when they practice what they learned.
90% of what they learn when they use immediately (or teach others)

Learning-Pyramid-synap (2)

Yet how do most of us learn?

Books, classroom lectures, videos — non-interactive learning methods that results in 80-95% of information going in one ear and leaking out the other.

The point here is that instead of forcing our brains on how to remember more information with “passive” methods, we should focus our time, energy, and resources on “participatory” methods that have proven to deliver more effective results, in less time.

This means that:

If you want to learn how to speak a foreign language, you should focus on speaking with native speakers and gain immediate feedback (instead of mobile apps)
If you want to get in shape, you should work with a personal fitness trainer (instead of watching Youtube workout videos)
If you want to learn a new instrument, hire a local music teacher in your city
Ultimately, it comes down to this…

Time Or Money?
How many times have you heard someone say, “I don’t have time to do X…”

I’m certainly guilty of this myself, as I’ve made excuse after excuse about the lack of time I have in my life.

But time is the greatest equalizer of all. No matter who we are, where we are in the world, or how much we strive for efficiency, there are only 24 hours in each day. Every single minute is unique, and once it’s gone, it can never be regained, unlike money.
“You May Delay, But Time Will Not.”
― Benjamin Franklin
So if we all have 24 hours in a day, how do we explain the success stories of young millionaires that started from nothing, or a full-time student going from beginner to conversation fluency in Spanish after just 3.5 months? They learned how to maximize for effectiveness instead of only efficiency.

Let’s say person A spent one hour learning a language and retained 90% of what they learned. And person B spent nine hours learning and retained 10% of what they learned. Doing simple math, person B spent 9x more time learning than person A, only to retain the same amount of information (A: 1 * 0.9 = B: 9 * 0.1).

While the exact numbers can be debated, the lesson is clear. The way to have more time is not to go for small wins, like watching 5-minute YouTube tutorials instead of 15-minutes, but to go for big wins, like choosing the most effective method from the beginning. Or constantly relying on free alternatives, when investing in a premium solution can shave off months, if not years, worth of struggles, mistakes, and most importantly, time.

It’s making the most out of the limited time we have by focusing on solutions that deliver the most impact, and saying no to everything else.

The ability to retain more knowledge in an age of infinite access to information and countless distractions is a powerful skill to achieve any goal we have faster.

By learning how to remember more information everyday, we can spend less time re-learning old knowledge, and focus on acquiring new ones.

Tips to Improve Memory

The human brain is one of the most mysterious and powerful tools in the modern world. This magical organ interprets reality through synapses and neurons, forming subjective thoughts, qualities, and memories, which form our identities. Using up to twenty percent of the energy we consume, our brain is always working and always changing. As we grow, the connections between regions of the brain reinforce each other, fortifying our memory, until a certain age at which, either naturally, through “disuse,” or through memory loss diseases such as Alzheimer’s, we begin to lose control of our memories. But we are not necessarily doomed to forget our brief passage through this life before our brain finally shuts down: here are three ways you can enhance your memory through lifestyle changes.

1. Self-Awareness
Understanding how your brain makes memories is crucial to improving memory function. As you experience the world, the sensory information received is encoded through your short-term memory—visually, acoustically, and semantically—and stored in various regions of your brain with your working memory. Through the long-term process of recollection, your brain reconstructs the memory from storage, meaning that the more times you access a memory, the more likely it is to change (the opposite is true of “commonplace” memories which you rarely revisit, such as this morning’s shower, yesterday’s commute, etc.).

The act of recollecting is a helpful exercise in improving memory itself. What you notice in certain memories upon recalling them also affects their ability to be recalled. Becoming aware of what draws your attention to certain memories and choosing to focus on different points of view can force your brain to make new associations, thus strengthening your neural network and placing the memory in a context. Keeping a journal is possibly the best way to improve self-awareness, but literal self-awareness with mirrors, cameras, microphones, or audiences also improve the accuracy of memory.

Our memories fade with old age because our brain becomes less effective at encoding and retrieval as we discontinue learning. Learning and socialization arouse various parts of the brain—language, perception, problem-solving, motor coordination—all at once, and are undoubtedly the cornerstones of a bright, sharp, longitudinal memory.

2. Stress Reduction
Stress has a significant detrimental effect on memory formation. If any strong emotion is present during an event, the neurons active during this event produce strong connections with each other. When the event is recalled, the neurons will more easily and speedily make the same connections (which can be disastrous for those suffering from PTSD or drug addiction withdrawal). These memories also tend to be warped or focused on extreme details rather than the greater context of the scene—another way self-awareness can promote healthy memories.

Get plenty of sleep! Neuroimaging studies have shown activation patterns in the sleeping brain which mirror those recorded during the learning of tasks from the previous day, suggesting that new memories may be solidified through such rehearsal. Coupled with a nightly recollection of the day prior, or even a dream journal, sleep can be a very powerful tool for managing memories.

Meditation, a form of mental training to focus attention, also seems to increase the control over brain resource distribution, improving both attention and discipline. The changes are potentially long-lasting, as meditation may have the ability to strengthen neuronal circuits as selective attentional processes improve.

Playing music also improves various aspects of memory through abstract connections in the brain between acoustic, semantic, and language-processing regions. Research shows that children who participated in one year of instrumental musical training showed improved verbal memory, whereas no such improvement was shown in children who discontinued musical training.

3. Diet and Exercise
Exercise has been shown to improve cognitive performance on encoding and retrieval of information, and has been found to regulate hippocampal neurogenesis, which promotes the survival of newborn neurons and helps form new memories. Physiological activity also provides the brain increased blood-flow and oxygen levels, which, along with the right diet, keep the brain healthy.

There are many “brain foods,” but only a certain group of fruits and vegetables provide direct benefits to the facilitation and maintenance of memory processes—flavonoids. Flavonoids are photochemicals found in plant-based foods and valued for their antioxidant properties, and are found in onions, leeks, broccoli, parsley, celery, soybeans, citrus fruits, berry fruits, tomatoes, green teas, red wines, and cocoa. Glucose also plays an important role in improving memory, as it can pass from blood to the brain, providing energy and boosting neural metabolism.

Excess intake levels of fat and calories are harmful to memory function. Saturated fats and cholesterol are especially high-risk foods for the onset of Alzheimer’s, not to mention the myriad other health risks associated with these food groups.

7 Hobbies Will Make Your Brain Works Smarter And Faster

All parts of our body age. And our brain does too. We’ve all witnessed the natural deterioration of brain functions in older relatives. Unfortunately, they lose their short-term memories and they gradually lose the executive functions, as the right frontal lobe loses gray matter and gets “mushy.” Even without the dreaded Alzheimer’s, our brains just age. Now; however, neuroscience tells us that we can delay this process. In some instances, we can reverse brain deterioration by engaging in some pretty specific activities, most of which we would consider hobbies. Here are 7 of them.

1. Read Anything
Whether you love old classic comic books or the New York Times, brain researchers tell us that reading actually increases brain function in several areas. It stimulates the growth of new neural pathways as we absorb new information. Reading flexes those parts of the brain that deal with problem-solving, seeing patterns, and interpreting what others are saying to us about their feelings. It also improves memory, builds on prior learning (more neural connections), and exercises parts of the brain that allow imagination. Some research also points to speedreading as a method to increase synapses (electrical connections between regions of the brain), since the brains must process sensory information quickly. Indeed, for many students, speedreading is a valuable skill.

2. Learn to Play a Musical Instrument
For years, neuro-scientists have conducted research on the benefits of music instruction for children relative to improved cognitive functions – memory, problem-solving, sequential processing, and pattern recognition. Playing an instrument (the voice is also an instrument), increases gray matter volume and makes neural connections between the two hemispheres of the brain. For this reason, scientists believe that early musical training allows students to be better at both linear math work (algorithms, equation solving) and mathematical problem-solving (modeling, optimization, problem research). Playing an instrument ensures both sides of the brain work together much better.

Now, researchers tell us that taking up a musical instrument as an adult – young, middle-aged, or older – can produce the same neurological effects as it does in children.

3. Exercise on a Regular Basis
Here’s what the science tells us. Exercise produces a protein (BDNF) in the blood stream. As blood travels through the brain, cells absorb this protein, which is responsible for both increased memory and focus. One of the most notable experiments was a photo memory test given to experimental and control groups. The experimental group exercised before the test, while the control group did not. The experimental group’s test results were overwhelmingly better. Members were able to focus on the photos and then recall them after a period of waiting.

4. Learn a New Language
Several areas of the brain are used as we take in sound, give it meaning, and then respond to it – 4 areas in all. Bilingual people have more gray matter in their language centers. They can focus on more than one task at a time because parts of the brain that relate to reasoning, planning, and memory are more developed. Again, scientists began to study this in children first, looking at those in whose households a foreign language was spoken, but in whose schools only English was spoken. Being forced to take in sounds from two different languages and “sort out” which language was being heard forced these areas of the brain into greater functioning. Now, it is also known that learning a language at any stage in one’s life has the same forceful effect on the brain making it smarter.

5. Engage in Cumulative Learning
Cumulative learning is defined as that process by which we take what we already know and layer new information of the same type on top of that. For example, math is cumulative learning. Children first learn basic functions. Then they learn how to use those basic functions to solve word problems. Next, they learn algebra, using basic functions to solve equations. Every layer goes on top of what was learned before. As we age, and especially as we leave the workforce, we tend to cease cumulative learning activities. However, research says if we continue to engage in them we sharpen memory, sequential ordering, problem solving (executive functioning of right frontal lobe), and language. Maybe we should all take a math or writing class in our senior years!

6. Exercise Your Brain with Puzzles and Games
We need to think of our brains as both computers and muscles. The more information we put into our brains, the more functions they can perform. Likewise, the more we exercise our brains, the stronger they function. Brain plasticity is a term that is used to refer to the continually new connections that are made when we take in information, engage in thinking, and force ourselves to remember things. Crossword puzzles, deductive thinking activities, and strategic games such as chess or even some video games, force our brains to take in new information and make new connections.

7. Meditate / Practice Yoga
Meditation is no longer something that can be thought of as “that thing that Hindu and Buddhist monks do.” What research says about meditation is actually pretty astounding. First, it allows better control of one’s thinking when not in a meditative state. This control allows focus, concentration, and better memory. In fact, students who meditate do better on tests, and adults who meditate have better memories. Meditation increases gray matter in areas of the brain that control learning and memory. Senior citizens who meditate keep more gray matter than those who do not. For students with behavior problems in school, meditation has been shown to improve behavior and school attendance because it reduces stress and anxiety. It would appear that meditation is a great thing for all ages.

All of these hobbies are things that we can easily incorporate into our daily lives. Given what science now tells us, they will keep our brains wonderfully healthy.

Effective Tips To Make You A Faster Learner

The importance of learning cannot be underestimated. Learning empowers us to fulfill our ideas and realize our full potential. The speed of gaining new knowledge is practically as important as its volume. Who wouldn’t love to remember tons of information as quickly as possible? If you want to start learning faster, you need a new approach towards the process which would enable you to comprehend the essence of the matter and relate it with new concepts you encounter. The following 10 tips will help you do that.

1. Analyze your learning style.
Before you can start experimenting with different studying methods, you need to understand what type of learner you are.

Is your memory associated to sound? Maybe you can remember what you were reading when a particular song was playing? If this is your case, then you fall into the category of auditory learners. If you want to start studying more efficiently, then it would be wise to record the lectures and listen to them instead of reading textbooks.
Do you relate information to visual content? If you are a visual learner, you should implement images, graphs, charts, infographics, colorful lists, flashcards, and other types of visual content when you study.
If your learning style is not auditory or visual, then you might be a physical learner. Some students have too much energy; they tap their feet or play with a pen during lectures. A walk before a lecture will calm your nerves down. You can try studying/listening to audio lectures during a walk. That will help you remember the information more quickly.
2. Use the right EdTech tools.
Technology has the power of making everything easier. There are plenty of websites, online tools, and smartphone/tablet apps that will boost your skills of planning, writing, time management, brainstorming, etc.

One way of improving your productivity is using flashcards. You can make your own cards, but you can also download pre-made kits online. StudyBlue is one of the best online destinations when it comes to creating and discovering flashcards from all areas of study. If you are looking for a tool that makes the process of brainstorming more effective, then you should try PapersGear. You also need the SelfControl app, which will eliminate all distractions when you need to stay focused. Quizlet is another website you should bookmark; it offers study tools that will transform the learning process into a fun activity. Notella is an app that will help you take quick notes at any time. Brainscape is an educational platform that makes complex subjects easy by relying on cognitive science. Finally, you should also try Dragon Dictation, especially if you are an audio learner.

3. Train your brain to accept new information.
Efficient studying is a habit. Your brain needs constant training if you want to improve your focus and complete complex tasks without taking breaks. One way to achieve this goal is to create a private learning space in your home. You’ll also need a specific time of day that you’ll devote to studying. That will make your brain ready to accept the information it gets, so you’ll notice you’re starting to learn much faster by the day.

4. Get some exercise.
You are aware of the fact that physical activity is good for your body, but your brain needs it too! Light exercise, such as yoga, can help you learn much faster. If you are inactive throughout the day, your body will want to move, so it will be difficult for you to stay focused. If, on the other hand, you canalize your energy through light training sessions, you will be ready to study productively.

5. Work on the ambiance.
If your roommate constantly invites friends over for a beer, you won’t be able to study no matter how hard you try. Students who want to learn quickly need a quiet, distraction-free environment that won’t disturb the mind in any way. Such a peaceful place will set you in learning mode as soon as you find yourself in it.

6. Take a lot of notes.
Only few people are capable of remembering information as they read it. If you don’t belong to this category of privileged learners, then you absolutely need to start taking notes. This simple learning method will force you to think about the essence of the material, but it will also give you a nice framework that will help you review the things you’ve learned.
Write down only the most important information. That will help you remember all the other things you’ve learned.

7. Make mind maps.
Mind maps are among the best tools to speed up the learning process. Your mind will process information effectively if you create a visual representation of the things you’re about to learn. You can create a nice mind map in the old-school way: take a large sheet of paper and organize all facts and explanations. Use pictures, note-cards, and other symbols you can think of. Group similar items together and connect them with colorful pens. Of course, you can also use an online mind mapping tool if you want to save yourself some time.

8. Experiment with memorization methods.
Memorizing is often misused in the process of studying. Some students memorize whole sentences, paragraphs and lectures without grasping their essence. However, memorization can also be useful when you need to learn definitions and classifications really quickly. Don’t avoid this technique if you want to fill your brain with information without wasting any time.

9. Find the right context.
Memorization works solely in times of urgency. If you want to learn in the most effective manner, then you need to have context for information. Find an aspect that’s interesting for you; try to research for related information, and you’ll discover the joys of learning. With time, this practice will make you a faster learner.

10. Study every day.
It will take some time before you get used to a daily studying routine, but your mind will eventually grasp the habit. The more frequently you study, the less time it will take for you to remember the things you read. If you start studying as soon as possible after you cover new concepts in class, it won’t take long at all for you to get ready for an exam. Now that sounds really good, doesn’t it?

Know More About 13 Signs You’re A Pretty Quick Learner

According to a study it is discovered that fast learners (specifically language learners) have more white matter and less symmetrical brains. Learning fast or being a quick learner depends on how we use our brains. Sometimes what seem so sophisticated needs the simplest solution. Here is how to know if you are a pretty quick learner.

1. You are not afraid to say “I don’t know”
Pretty quick learners accept that they do not know it all. They keep their minds open and are willing to ask questions and quiz for answers to know more. While some are reluctant are hesitant to show their ignorance on a subject, quick learners are not.

2. You use the Pareto principle
Quick learning has productivity attached to it. According to Vilfredo Pareto you get 80% of your results from 20% of the things you do. Quick learners make use of this principle by focusing on the fundamental and the most used items in a series of difficult tests. They don’t chase after the whole bunch at once but major their strength on the most necessary ones first.

3. You are able to visualize it
When dealt with problems, quick learners are multidimensional. They take advantage of how to deal with it with all their senses. They visualize it by taking advantage of their mental powers to drive solutions and learning.

4. You simplify
Quick learners know that difficult problems do not need a difficult approach. Many great minds from Thomas Edison to Henry Ford and even Steve Jobs looked for ways to address challenges with simple solutions. They simplify and immerse themselves in their goals to find the easiest and simplest way out of a hole.

5. You take action
After all is said and done, at the end of the day it is up to you to take action. If you are learning a new language you really cannot make so much progress if you do not speak the new language, whether you get it right or not. Quick learners learn by doing and taking decisive action.

6. You are selective
You do not go after all the possible explanations or solutions to a problem. Rather you take your time to broadly consider those that are worthy of your attention and assessment. Through this you are able to go after the most promising solutions available.

7. You use Parkinson’s Law
Tim Ferris, author of The 4-Hour Work Week points out that much can be gained by combining the use of Parkinson’s law and Pareto’s principle to achieve solutions and learn faster. While Pareto’s principle means streamlining to get more out of your time, Parkinson’s Law means you limit the time for learning so as to gain only the most important things. Quick learners only allocate enough time to grasp only the most important part of a topic and waste no time on the less important parts.

8. You know when to stop
Quick learners know when to stop and not to proceed. If something is not going in an answerable pattern, they retreat. They understand the law of diminishing returns and focus on only things that provide a return on their investment.

9. You know how to anticipate the future
What becomes old and stale is of no use to a quick learner; rather they have to be able to adapt and anticipate future trends and situations. You can focus on the future and how you can apply every topic you are learning to it.

10. You understand that many questions have no answers
Through selection you already have a sense of not going after the wrong questions or topics. You already know that when a question is complicated and has so many threads attached to it, there probably is no solution for it.

11. You can explain it to a kid
After immersing and absorbing yourself in a topic, you can communicate your thoughts and opinions on the subject matter (even to a kid).

12. You are positive
Quick learners do not show any negative attitude to learning what is important to them. They are positive even when they are faced with setbacks and challenges.

13. You can seek the opinions of experts
You know there are people who are better than you on a subject. Nobody learns so much without dedicating themselves to the tutelage of a master!

Best Techniques to Study Effectively

Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave. It is without doubt that we all have to study, and many of us never stop. However, there are techniques that are pivotal to know in order to study effectively and properly. These techniques could be the deciding factor as to whether we pass or fail. These 6 techniques to study effectively are extremely practical and will aid you in your studies.

Note Making
In order to study, a person is required to understand what he or she is learning. A great way of understanding/learning is by making notes of the content you are reading. Note making comprises of linear notes, diagrams, charts, and so forth. The key to any note making is that you make points of the work you understand and not simply rewriting everything you read. An exceptional note making style is using summaries. Summaries are a written record of all the important points in a short and concise version. They’re excellent for using when an exam is fast approaching.

Practice
Studying is meant to enable you to apply your learned knowledge to real life situations. If you’re in the accounting field, the best way to study is by practicing with examples and questions. Answering questions and past year exam papers equips you with knowledge on what to expect from an exam. It’s important that you have all the necessary tools at your disposal, such as a calculator so you don’t waste time on simple equations.

Study Environment and Room temperature
Often enough, we study in a place that we feel comfortable in, but this has both pros and cons. Make sure that the room you’re studying in is not too cold or too warm. A cold room will make you feel uneasy whereas an overly warm room will make you feel lethargic and lazy. Be sure to have a proper ventilation system or simply open up a window. Choose a room/place that you’re well accustomed to, a place you feel comfortable in with good lighting.

Distractions and Interruptions
You may need to decipher between a distraction and an interruption. A distraction is something like your computer or Facebook whereas an interruption is something like a phone ringing or a noisy person. Keep all distractions away from yourself while you’re studying, and choose a time when you’re alone or it’s quiet enough for you to study. It takes a lot of concentration to study properly, and there’s no guarantee that you can focus again once your train of thought is disturbed.

Goal Setting
In order to make progress with your studies, it’s great if you set mini goals or objectives for yourself. Set out an allocated amount of work you want to complete for a day and make sure you do it. Every time you accomplish a mini goal, reward yourself with some free time. This will assure that you’re properly motivated and certainly won’t suffer from a burn out from over-studying.

Sleep, Diet and Supplements
To end this post, I’d like to emphasize that a healthy routine is important to your success with studying. Your body needs to brace itself for intense studying, which is why you should get at least 7 hours of sleep, keeping in mind that the time you get to bed before 12 counts the most. Have a proper diet, including not living off energy drinks or takeout. A proper diet consists of 3 to 5 meals a day with average portions and food that is lean and clean. In order to keep up your strength and mental vitality, you could try out a multi-vitamin, provided that you check with your GP first. The greatest obstacle to face is having a balanced lifestyle, as studying is very time and energy consuming, which is why an overall healthy lifestyle is highly recommended.

Easy Tips to Study Smart and Save Time

I recently got my marks back from University. My grade point average was a 4.2 out of a possible 4.5, resting between an A and a perfect A+. In itself, this isn’t an incredible achievement. But I managed to do this while spending only a fraction of the time studying than many of the people I knew.

Is it just natural talent? Perhaps. I’ve always had a knack for understanding concepts and learning new ideas. But I also believe the way I learned the information played a role. Instead of cramming last minute or memorizing details, I try to organize information in a way that makes it easier to recall.

This strategy of organization I label holistic learning. Holistic learning is simply the process of organizing information into webs, that interconnect ideas. Instead of forcing ideas into your skull, you focus on the relationships between information. Linking ideas together to see the whole, instead of just the parts.

Building an Understanding

Learning is a process similar to building a house. You aren’t fed the complete picture. Limitations on communication prevent the instantaneous transmission of knowledge. Instead you listen to lectures, read textbooks and take painstaking notes to try and comprehend a subject.

You are fed building supplies, bricks, mortar and glass. It is up to you to assemble the building. Unfortunately, most learning strategies fall into two basic types:

Memorization – Instead of building anything you simply stare at each brick for several minutes trying to record its position.
Formulas – This is the equivalent to being blind, fumbling around a new house. You can’t see the building itself but you learn to come up with simple rules to avoid walking into walls.
There is nothing particularly wrong with either of these strategies, assuming they aren’t your entire strategy. The human brain isn’t a computer so it can’t memorize infinite sums of knowledge without some form of structure. And formulas no longer work if the questions they are designed to solve change scope.

Learning Holistically

The alternative strategy is to focus on actually using the information you have to build something. This involves linking concepts together and compressing information so it fits in the bigger picture. Here are some ideas to get started:

Metaphor – Metaphors can allow you to quickly organize information by comparing a complex idea to a simple one. When you find relationships between information, come up with analogies to increase your understanding. Compare neurons with waves on a string. Make metaphors comparing parts of a brain with sections of your computer.
Use All Your Senses – Abstract ideas are difficult to memorize because they are far removed from our senses. Shift them closer by coming up with vivid pictures, feelings and images that relate information together. When I learned how to do a determinant of a matrix, I remembered the pattern by visualizing my hands moving through the numbers, one adding and one subtracting.

Teach It – Find someone who doesn’t understand the topic and teach it to them. This exercise forces you to organize. Spending five minutes explaining a concept can save you an hour of combined studying for the same effect.
Leave No Islands – When you read through a textbook, every piece of information should connect with something else you have learned. Fast learners do this automatically, but if you leave islands of information, you won’t be able to reach them during a test.

Test Your Mobility – A good way to know you haven’t linked enough is that you can’t move between concepts. Open up a word document and start explaining the subject you are working with. If you can’t jump between sections, referencing one idea to help explain another, you won’t be able to think through the connections during a test.
Find Patterns – Look for patterns in information. Information becomes easier to organize if you can identify broader patterns that are similar across different topics. The way a neuron fires has similarities to “if” statements in programming languages.

Build a Large Foundation – Reading lots and having a general understanding of many topics gives you a lot more flexibility in finding patterns and metaphors in new topics. The more you already know, the easier it is to learn.
Don’t Force – I don’t spend much time studying before exams. Forcing information during the last few days is incredibly inefficient. Instead try to slowly interlink ideas as they come to you so studying becomes a quick recap rather than a first attempt at learning.

Build Models – Models are simple concepts that aren’t true by themselves, but are useful for describing abstract ideas. Crystallizing one particular mental image or experience can create a model you can reference when trying to understand. When I was trying to tackle the concept of subspaces, I visualized a blue background with a red plane going through it. This isn’t an entirely accurate representation of what a subspace is, but it created a workable image for future ideas.
Learning is in Your Head – Having beautiful notes and a perfectly highlighted textbook doesn’t matter if you don’t understand the information in it. Your only goal is to understand the information so it will stick with you for assignments, tests and life. Don’t be afraid to get messy when scrawling out ideas on paper and connecting them in your head. Use notes and books as a medium for learning rather than an end result