8 Tips to Learn Faster
We all know studying and learning something new such as a skill or a new language can be challenging, but did you know you can trick your brain into learning faster with these genius brain hacks? All based on neuroscience, these learning tricks and tips can help you boost your memory, learn faster and retain information longer. By engaging your senses and using brain-building techniques, you can find the “backdoor” into your brain that lets you learn faster without working so hard. Check out these science-based memory tricks below!
SMELL – Did you ever catch the scent of a perfume and suddenly remember a certain teacher? Or smell baking bread and remember your grandmother’s house? That’s because smell is intimately involved with making memories. The part of your brain that processes smells is located very near to the amygdala and the hippocampus, which process experiences and information into memories. So you can use smell to help you learn!
HOW TO USE IT: Next time you are studying, put on a strong smelling lotion or light a scented candle. You could also try eating something strong smelling, since taste and smell are intimately linked. The smells can engage the areas of the brain near the hippocampus and help you learn more with less effort.
MUSIC - Use music to help you learn new things and remember them long term. MRI imaging has shown that listening to music “lights up” multiple areas in the brain all at once, showing that music processing is a “whole brain phenomenon”, according to the National Institutes for Health. Music engages multiple areas of your brain that deal with auditory processing, motor planning, emotional response and memory. Music makes your brainwork and you can use it to your advantage!
HOW TO USE IT: You can listen to a song a song that contains the information you want to learn. You can also make your own song and sing it to yourself. Another method is to put on an instrumental music and speak or sing the information out loud with the music, since it will stull stimulate the brain. Try it a few times and you’ll master your memory in no time!
CHANT – Ever wonder why you can remember every word of the chants you sang as a child in the schoolyard even many years later? It’s because chanting is one of the best ways to memorize new information. Rhythm engages the brain’s motor processing powers in the parietal lobe, which helps you remember and recognize the information far into the future.
HOW TO USE IT: If you want to remember something long-term, chant it repeatedly out loud to yourself, especially while clapping or beating the rhythm with your hands.
HEAR YOURSELF – We all know that we can learn information by hearing it, but what about passively listening to your own voice while you do other things? Turns out, that’s a great way to trick your brain into learning more! There’s evidence suggesting that hearing your own voice out loud mimics “hearing” your internal dialogue, tricking multiple parts of your brain into focusing on the words. There’s also evidence that you pay more attention to the sound of your own voice than to others’ voices so you can sustain your attention longer without getting distracted. This trick could be helpful for those with short attention spans, such as people with ADHD or people who must learn a lot of information in a short time. Many actors and actresses who need to learn lines or learn a monologue use this method of memorization because it’s so effective.
HOW TO USE IT: Use a voice recorder to record yourself saying the information you need to say. Then play that recording several times a day, over and over for a few days. Before you know it, you’ll have lodged that in your mind.
MNEMONIC DEVICS: Mnemonic devices are techniques you can use to help you recall complex information easily. The trick is to associate the information with something else, such as words, sentence, a little story, a rhyme or a joke. A good mnemonic should be short, easy to recall and even funny. An example of a mnemonic device includes a trick people use to remember the lines of the treble clef when learning music: EGBDF becomes “Every good boy does fine.”
HOW TO USE IT: Simply the information to a format you can remember. You can use an acronym, such as taking the first letters of the words you need to remember and make them spell a word, then you only need to recall the word. Or take the first letters of each word you need to remember and make up a little sentence.
TASTE: If you want to remember something tricky, you can try eating your words. This works on the same principle as smelling, since the taste and smell are closely associated in the brain. The smell and taste of the food will be processed in the limbic system near the hippocampus and the amygdala, and the information associated with those tastes will be more likely to get set in your brain. This also lights up the “reward” focused centers of your brain that are associated with good tastes. Although simplified here, taste is processed in the thalmus, a small structure in your brain located just above the brain stem between the cerebral cortex and the midbrain. The thalmus has extensive nerve connections to both parts of the brain, so getting it involved in learning stimulates multiple parts of your brain and activates your memory centers, according to Dartmouth University.
HOW TO USE IT: Try eating something with a strong smell or taste while studying. You can also try quizzing yourself on info and then rewarding yourself with a little snack, such as a sweet piece of chocolate or a salty nut, when you get a right answer.
GET EMOTIONAL: Think of a few things you have vivid memories of. Perhaps you recall laughing very hard with your friend, or maybe it was the fear you felt from being in an accident. Maybe it was the fright of being called to the principal’s office or the excitement of a first date. All of these memories are associated with strong emotional responses. The limbic system deals with your most basic emotions, such as aggression, fear, anger, laughter, motivation, attachments, sexual attraction and other emotions. Since the emotional centers are co-located with the hippocampus and amygdala which help us make and store memories, it makes sense to use this to your advantage. That’s why funny mnemonics are especially helpful and why you remember emotional movies about history but forget dry, unemotional lists of dates and names.
HOW TO USE IT: Try to provoke an emotional response within yourself while remembering something. For instance, while studying, take a break to read a couple of jokes or watch a short, funny video. Study and then look at photos of someone you find attractive. When learning history, try and visualize the information as a short movie in your head, complete with the emotional responses of the people involved. In short, get your own emotions involved and you’ll have much better recall later.
WRITE IT DOWN: Writing is a great way to learn and retain information, especially for visual learners. But when you’re writing, it’s not only the parts of your brains that process vision working. You are also using the parts that process motor coordination and muscle movements. The right and left motor cortex in your frontal lobe, the cerebellum and the basal ganglia are all associated with managing your movements, according to the University of California – San Francisco Medical Center. That means the front, back, base and areas of your brain in between are all engaged just by writing! Physical therapists use the method of moving a person’s body in repetitious movements in order to engage “muscle memory”. You can use your body and your mind together to promote better learning.
HOW TO USE IT: Taking notes is always an easy way to remember information, but try other means as well. You can draw pictures or graphs. You can write outlines or write flashcards for yourself. For an extra memory boost, use bright colors to really “light up” your brain.
We hope you liked this article about how neuroscience can help you trick your brain to learn faster, to boost memory and improve study habits using these simple techniques. If you like our articles, don’t forget to share and check out more articles for better tips on building your brain power and intelligence.
Riddle of the day: A prisoner is told "If you tell a lie we will hang you; if you tell the truth we will shoot you." What can he say to save himself?