It’s not unusual to forget unfamiliar and new topics. If you’re trying to learn something new, utilize the following strategies:
1. Be flexible – Utilize various learning strategies. Refrain from relying on outdated learning methods and attempt to use more efficient ones.
2. Overlearn – To learn something new, you must constantly work on new problems. One successful strategy many students have employed is talking and writing about new concepts they have learned. This is a useful way to instill new information in the brain. Students learning new languages often utilize this strategy.
3. Schedule – Plan and set aside time to study. If you don’t have a set time, it’s easy to skip studying. Avoid studying in distracting environments and mimic test day conditions as close as possible.
4. Rephrase and explain – Teach the new concept you’ve learned to a peer. Explain the new concept and use examples to illustrate it. Seek constructive criticism from the peer you’re teaching. You’ll have a better understanding of how clearly you comprehend the concept after teaching it.
Students frequently select answers on tests because they have a good feeling about it. Many students have adopted this attitude from years of multiple-choice and true and false testing. As a result, students spend more time looking for answers that seem correct, rather than working through the problem.
Although many instructors assign tests that do not require students to memorize a lot of information, refrain from looking for answers that seem or feel right. After studying, take time to test yourself on the new concepts you’ve learned. If you can adequately explain newly learned concepts, you are well prepared for an exam requiring memory retention.
5. Eliminate accidental and unrelated associations – Study in distraction-free settings. Silence your phone when studying and refrain from doing anything that will hinder your train of thought. Do not watch TV or listen to music while studying.
6. Eliminate previous mistakes – Learn from past mistakes. Take time to brainstorm these mistakes and develop steps to eliminate them. Research has shown that tracking past mistakes and analyzing what went wrong enables students to perform better on future tests. This is known as negative practice.
7. Prioritize – You’ll have to spend more time studying for demanding classes. During lectures, identify the main points teachers are empathizing and spend more time studying these concepts. Develop outlines of key concepts.
8. Get Emotionally Involved – Become passionate about what you’re trying to learn. Even if a class is not entirely relevant for your future career, work hard and try to master the course content since you’ll improve your study skills by doing so.
9. Utilize Mechanical Memory Aids – If you’re studying complex topics that are hard to learn, utilize mechanical memory aids. For example, if you were learning about specific organ system functions for a human anatomy class, you could list the name of specific organs on one side of a flash card and on the opposite side list a brief summary of the organ’s function. If you struggle remembering the names of the organs, create another set of flash cards with names listed on one side and the first two letters of the word listed on the other.