A brilliant guide to learning better and faster

3 minutes of reading

Is there a universal trick to learn something quickly and painlessly? So we don't know yet. We know that our Focus will help you learn by increasing the productivity of your brain. But we also discovered some remarkable learning methods that are surprisingly effective. And of course we can't keep you to ourselves. Read on for what else will help you learn besides smart pills:

Imagination for better memory

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge, but imagination.” (Albert Einstein)

In schools of various types, one of the effective teaching methods is the so-called experiential learning . Students perform an experiment directly in the laboratory and see how particles interact with each other during Brownian motion. Thus, they will understand the basics of diffusion and entropy. But not only that. A complex image is formed in the brain. It includes the present classmates, what they are currently wearing, a strange joke that the teacher cracks at the beginning of the lesson, and the antenna that sticks out of her coat pocket, and no one knows why. The entire image becomes part of the memory, with which information about Brownian motion is written into long-term memory. What you experience and what you see with your own eyes, you understand better and remember it more easily.

This proven method can be transformed by imagination when learning at home . When you read about the heroic battles of Prokop Holý on the Lipan field, imagine that you are there with him. It is you, protected by a tin cuirass, who experiences all his thrusts, it is you who find yourself in orbit together with the satellite and see the conical curvature of Earth's space-time. You are currently living in Ghana and harvesting cassava on a sun-drenched plantation, you are preparing a party for your classmates in the garden and you need to calculate whether a table can fit between the chairs... Come up with your own examples in which you can use a specific mathematical formula, a chemical property of a material or other information, imagine yourself in the situations you are learning about.

Imagination facilitates the reproduction of memorized content . The described association method uses the advantages of contextual learning, specific information is connected and subsequently better recalled. If your problem is deeper in understanding the issue, YouTube, Netflix and other channels will help you with visualization - find a document that deals with the problem you are having a hard time with.

Imagination is better remembered and may get you further on the road to success than honesty.

Reflective testing and feedback
Try yourself!

Take time for reflective testing. For each paragraph you learn, write a question or two as you study. When you are done learning, go through the list of questions and answer them. Just by writing down the questions, you increase your chances of memorizing them. Come back for your "test" tomorrow and again in a week. Test feedback will boost your memory. Discussions with friends and classmates will also serve a similar purpose . Call, write and discuss topics.

SRS – split repetition system in the app
Not everything needs to be repeated

SRS (spaced repetition system) is a memory algorithm based on the so-called phased repetition . It is used with high success when teaching vocabulary and facts that you cannot derive logically. According to the Ebbinghaus curve of forgetting, we supposedly forget 50-80% of information within a few days. If we do not return to them, the brain does not consider them important and sorts them out as waste. But if we repeat them, we will convince the brain that they are more important to us, and it will retain them. How to consciously support this process?

This is exactly what the SRS method is designed for. It allows ideas to be efficiently stored from short-term memory to long-term memory by "backing up" at smart time intervals . The moment we barely remember the name or the year, we remember it again. So we actually spread our memory over time. You may know another learning method - flashcards. We write the questions on one side of the cards and the correct answers on the other. We then test ourselves using the cards. The SRS method is something similar, but the testing is done in a smart way. The algorithm returns us a second time only to what we still haven't remembered. And with what we remember, we don't waste time again. SRS thus optimizes learning time . Vocabulary, dates, states, patterns, names... we don't learn them all again. Their list gets shorter with each repetition. In addition, the inventor of the algorithm, Piotr A. Wozniak, ingeniously set the intervals for re-backing up the information, which makes the method even more effective, as confirmed by a number of studies - the long-term retention of learned knowledge improves by up to 200%.

Perhaps the best thing about this method is that today you can use it to the fullest thanks to apps with the built-in SuperMemo algorithm . The most popular of these is Anki , available in both Android and iOS versions. Based on your answers, the app predicts what will give you the most trouble, and this forces you to repeat more thoroughly. It is free and the tutorial is also available in Czech . It enjoys considerable popularity among university students – enthusiastic users claim to learn up to 20x faster with it. It is most often used in the teaching of foreign languages. If you want to do without the app, create test cards (flashcards), put away the cards with questions you can't answer yet, and come back to them every 7 and 20 days.

"When you can learn something, you can figure out how." (Terry Pratchett)

Feynman technique
"Now try to explain that to someone!"

Do you have a scapegoat at home to test how well you've learned something? The famous physicist Richard Feynman's method is mainly suitable for abstract subjects such as physics or mathematics. If you want to remember examples and specific phenomena in these sciences well, you need to understand them. But the method is not lost in other subjects either. You can easily find out if you have understood the subject well by trying to explain it to someone yourself. 

Defense against brain burnout

Do you also find it difficult to learn a topic because it is too monotonous? For example, the Thirty Years' War. It lasted thirty years, but perhaps every day something happened that you, at least according to historians, must know. Interleaving means "interleaving" and it's actually mixing different areas . You don't learn the same thing over and over again, but specific data makes more sense thanks to connections. The so-called contextual interference makes the information easier to remember and you can then use it better.

What does interleaving look like in practice? If you have to learn about the Thirty Years' War, for example, look at what you have in the curriculum about America from that time. Learn about what's going on in Europe for a while and America for a while. Put things in context, and from the overall picture, individual information suddenly emerges with greater certainty and is often more interesting. In mathematics, do not focus on one type of problem, but try to use three different procedures that you have mastered during the year to solve a practical problem.

Tutoring and collective simulation
You don't have to do everything yourself

If something really sticks in your head, there's no shame in hiring your own instructor. Everyone does it in the gym, so why not in math? Choose an active personality with whom learning will be fun. Someone who will give you immediate feedback. Learning is easier with your own teacher, and it is also harder to procrastinate with him. If for some reason you don't want to spend hours with another "professor", try to agree with your classmates and from time to time simulate tests or exams with each other. Consult and support yourself. Put together a funny math problem or your own knowledge test together.

Learning efficiency is also affected by what you eat, how you sleep or how you clean your house. Discover more tips to make learning easier !