Get a cup of coffee and read the best guide on how to read and assimilate faster.
It is disheartening to hear stories of people who study hours and yet get bad grades in school. After I heard such awful story again recently, I thought of making a post to help people study and assimilate really fast and better understand written materials. I initially do not believe one could study thoroughly and still not do well. I stopped to believe one just have to read a material and understand it after studying some students with different academics performances for a semester. These students happen to be friends and study for similar hours each day, yet they performed differently. Well, I am not disputing that there are factors such as genetics that makes two students with similar efforts to perform distinctly. However, I am of the opinion that everyone could do well irrespective of genetics. It is all about discipline and the right study techniques.
If you do not assimilate after studying a material, you are not different from that guy who didn’t study at all. Don’t worry; I am here to help you. If you are meticulous to follow this guide, you should be Albert Einstein soon. I am not here to bore you with guides that do not work. I am sharing ten (10) ultimate, tested and pragmatic tips to help you assimilate written materials faster and better.
HOW TO READ AND ASSIMILATE FASTER: 10 TIPS
- Study in a quiet environment
- Scan the material for keywords before studying
- Take good diet and not junks
- Create an outline of the material before studying
- Teach yourself by reading the material out
- Take notes or make a new note
- Highlight the complex parts and revisit later
- Use the spaced repetition learning method
- Take breaks in between studying
- Study in group and teach others what you have learned
Tip 1: Study in a quiet environment
One important factor that determines how well we assimilate and understand written materials is the environment in which we studied. To assimilate better, make it a habit to study in a quiet environment devoid of noise and distractions. To further avoid distractions, you could switch off your phone or silent it and turn off internet connection in order to stay away from social media. Studying in a quiet environment increases your concentration and helps you assimilate the material you study.
Tip 2: Scan the material for keywords before studying
Before you begin reading the material, scan the text for keywords. Keywords are words that appear in a text or written materials frequently. Scanning for keywords would help you understand the material when you begin reading it properly. In the case where you don’t understand the keywords based on the information provided in the text, make use of the dictionary or the internet to check its meaning. Understanding keywords help to better digest the material and retain the information since you are familiar with the essential words in the text.
Tip 3: Take good diet and not junks
The role of meal or diet in assimilation cannot be overemphasized. Eating good foods and not junks helps us assimilate better. According to a research by scholars at the University of Bristol, a diet which is high in sugars, fats as well as processed foods in early childhood may result to lower IQ, however, a diet that contains vitamins and nutrients may increase IQ. Sarah Hughes who is a nutritionist therapist at Yorktest laboratories suggests some foods to help the brain. She suggested eating eggs, healthy snacks, good fats such as avocados, oily fish like sardines, and dark chocolate if you are a chocoholic. This helps you assimilate rather than eating junks.
Tip 4: Create an outline of the material before studying
Creating an outline is another study hack that helps to digest texts that include facts and statistics. Just like identifying keywords before studying, scanning a material to get an overview and creating an outline could help you understand it. For instance, you are taking a course in the history of economic thought and you want to study the neoclassical economics. You can create an outline with headings and subheadings as below:
Having an outline like the above will make studying the material easier and helps you understand it better. Endeavor to have subheadings. For instance, under the overview, you could have members of the neoclassical economics and their contributions. In the further developments of the neoclassical economics, you could have indifference curve and the theory of ordinal utility.
Tip 5: Teach yourself by reading the material out
Reading a material out helps you calm down and pay attention to each word in the text. I particularly use this method during my undergraduate days when I am jaded but yet to complete reading the material. Reading out the text makes it engaging. Similarly, I teach myself by standing in front of the mirror or being alone in a room.I suggested teaching others what you know. This helps you to better internalize the material being studied.
Tip 6: Take notes or make a new note
When I see students studying school materials without pen I am usually astounded. Who studies without a pen? If I must tell you, that is not how to read. While studying, you need to have a pen to highlight and underline important points. Highlighting text is awesome, but don’t be tempted into highlighting almost all text in the material. Highlighting too much text could contrast the purpose of highlighting. It makes it difficult to identify the sentences which are important. Also, you can make short notes in the margin. In the instance where you cannot write on the material, get a notebook and make an abridged version of the material. While making an abridged version of the material, begin by asking a question and then answer it. I use this method when I am acquainted with the material and exam is near.
Tip 7: Highlight the complex parts and revisit later
Just like in tip 6, where I suggest highlighting the important text, you could also highlight complex parts and revisit it later. This method helps you to save time you would have otherwise spent rumbling about how complex the material is. Highlight the parts you find difficult. Then, make a short note on the margin about the reason for highlighting the text.
Tip 8: Use the spaced repetition learning method to assimilate
You don’t really need to memorize the material. All you need is to read the material over and over again to understand and assimilate it. Don’t try to study a 500 pages text in 5 days studying 100 pages a day. That is not how to read. I doubt you would retain 50% of the material after studying. Instead, have a timetable and study the material in bits. After studying the material, you could go over it again using other tips explained in this article until you are confident that you know the material.
Tip 9: Take breaks in between studying
Try to break your studying into shorter periods and make sure you take breaks in between. You could adopt the 50/10 strategy by studying for 50 minutes and taking 10 minutes break. This way you would be able to absorb convoluted materials.
Tip 10: Study in group and teach others what you have learned
Reading in a group is another way to better assimilate and understand materials better. By studying in a group, you have the opportunity of being correct about things you didn’t notice were wrong hitherto. Discuss what you have learned with friends, teach them or get taught by them. This method particularly helps auditory learners.
Are there still great tips that help assimilate faster that I didn’t include on the list? Use the comment below to inform me, I would be glad to learn from you.
Don’t forget to sleep well. It really helps your brain to process what you have read. I am not telling you to sleep for 15 hours a day. If you sleep for 15 hours each day, you do that at your own peril.
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