How To Improve Memory & The Best Ways To Study (Superlearning & Speed Reading Techniques)
What if you could get do twice the amount of work in the same amount of time as everyone else? What if you could read a book a day without struggle? What if every paragraph you ever read, you retained the information without a hitch? Learning is something that, while innate to some degree, can…
What if you could get do twice the amount of work in the same amount of time as everyone else? What if you could read a book a day without struggle? What if every paragraph you ever read, you retained the information without a hitch?
Learning is something that, while innate to some degree, can be trained. Those who are superior learners and who have terrific memory recall are typically better prepared to excel at both educational endeavors as well as throughout their career.
If you’ve ever felt that you aren’t getting that promotion because you just aren’t working fast enough or when push comes to shove and you need to recall vital information during that professional meeting and you can’t, this is for you.
With the right training techniques, you can build a ‘super brain’, if you will. You can recall information that will others would never remember and blow your boss, co-workers, and anyone else you are working with away.
Check out the video below where I share with you some of my favorite tips on speed reading and superlearning.
Now that you have an excellent starting point to work off, let’s go over some additional strategies that you can use to improve memory, improve your studying practices, and help read faster than ever before.
How To Improve Memory
When it comes to improving your memory, you need to take a broad focus. Most people think that the most vital component of improving memory has to do with what you do immediately after gaining some information.
And while these critical moments after you’ve first received the info can definitely solidify it in your brain, there’s more to it than that.
By looking at what you are doing while you get information, how you are eating, your lifestyle behaviours, and the strategies you use to process and recall information, you can bring your memory into overdrive.
Here are some tips to get you started.
Check Your Diet
That’s right, let’s start with nutrition. What you eat has a pivotal role on your brain function, so you must, must, must be consuming the right foods.
First, get those omega-3 fatty acids in. Wild caught salmon should make a regular appearance in your diet plan as it’s loaded with these healthy fats and also dishes out a good level of protein as well.
Next, start eating more fresh fruits and vegetables. Blueberries in particular are often touted to be the ‘brain berry’ as they can help boost brain function, enhance memory, and improve your learning capacity. Additionally, they may also help reduce age-related cognitive decline.
Finally, be sure that you are staying well hydrated. Your brain needs water to function and even slight levels of dehydration can impair thinking and memory recall.
Hit The Treadmill
Okay, so maybe it doesn’t have to be the treadmill exactly, but regular exercise is another important thing that you must be including in your day if you hope to boost your memory capacity and improve brain function.
Exercise increases blood and oxygen flow to the brain, two key components of healthy thought processes. What’s more is that studies suggest that those who engage in exercise on a regular basis may notice an increased brain memory center to the tune of around 1-2% per year.
Now this may not seem like much, but do keep in mind that most people will notice their memory center decrease with age as it does naturally as the years pass by.
So if yours is increasing, this gap between you and everyone else is only going to grow greater and greater each and every year.
Focus On The Task And Only The Task
Another tip to help boost your memory recall is to stop trying to do five things at once. In today’s busy age, many people are so focused on trying to ‘get it all done’ so to speak that they are left multi-tasking left, right, and center.
If you are dividing your brain up between two or three (or five!) things, how much actual focus are you giving to each one? And, how well do you really think you are going to remember what you need to be remembering?
The answer is not well at all.
One great way to help prevent your mind from drifting while you are attempting to focus on a task is to practice meditation on a regular basis. Meditation can help train your brain to hold your focus better, thus you’ll experience superior memory as a result.
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Once again, we come back to sleep. The importance of good sleep cannot be stressed enough when it comes to almost anything related to good health. Memory is no exception.
Interesting research has illustrated that you may be 33% more likely to make connections between two mental times after sleeping even though you may not recognize the fact that your memory and mental processing has improved.
So even though you may not feel smarter after a good night’s sleep, it is there.
Those who shun sleep, getting just 4-6 hours at night will notice a direct influence no their ability and speed of cognitive processing and will also notice lower levels of memory as well.
Learn Something New
Sometimes, it isn’t so much about focusing on remembering something as it is about making your brain learn new skills or information. The key to ongoing brain health and development is continual learning.
The trick to ensuring that any new learning you do is going to pay off in terms of boosting brain function is to make sure that whatever you are learning, it’s important to you.
What’s mentally stimulating for one person may not necessarily be mentally stimulating for another, so be sure that you are taking this personalized factor into account.
Figure out something that interests you greatly and then set out to learn it. This could in time lead to transfer over benefits on your ability to remember other information as well.
Consider Using A Probiotic
Ever think that your gut health could be impacting your learning capacity? Well, it can.
Those who are suffering from poor gut environments with not enough of the right type of bacteria in the gut can notice declines in their memory and cognitive abilities.
So there you have just a few of the many ways that you can make a few small changes in your lifestyle to help improve your overall cognitive ability and memory capacity.
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Honing Your Studying Skills
Now let’s talk about the best way to study. If you are currently in an educational program or you are simply learning to expand your knowledge base to help advance your career, learning how to study effectively is key to your success.
Sadly, many people are not studying as optimally as they could be. We all only get 24 hours out of the day and if you only have 1-2 hours for studying, you’ll want to get the most out of those minutes as possible.
Play Background Music
While you definitely don’t want today’s latest pop hit playing in the background, adding some classical or nature sounds to the background while studying may help increase your cognitive processing.
Light music like this that is not distracting can help you stay focused longer, leading to greater consolidation of the information you are trying to take in.
Make Your Own Study Notes
While you can purchase study guides that virtually have the notes already written out for you, or if you are in a university class, you may be able to print the notes out before class, refrain from using these.
Actually taking the time to read the information and then write your own notes (in your own words) can help improve cognitive recall and memory of what you have just learned.
Plus, by writing these notes in your own words, you’ll also use language that makes it easier for you to remember what you wrote as you are speaking to yourself. This too can aid with retention.
Moral of the story: don’t borrow someone else’s notes! Show up to class and take your own.
Use A Mind Map
Not everyone learns well by reading, so use your own learning techniques to optimize your cognitive development. Mind mapping, where you visually diagram what you are learning and make connections between items can be one of the best ways to help boost your learning capacity.
Don’t be afraid to break out that notebook and start scribbling.
Think In Practical Terms
Sometimes, the best way to get your brain to consolidate what you are learning is to think more in practical terms. This is the reason that many text books often give you ‘case studies’.
By applying the information to ‘real life’, you’ll be more likely to utilize the information as it’s been given.
Teach Someone Else
Often, one of the best ways to really solidify something in your mind is to teach it to someone else. When you can do this, you know that you’ve really got a strong grasp on the information at hand.
While you definitely don’t want to go teaching invalid information to others, if you feel like you do know the information, try explaining it to a friend, co-worker, or family member.
If they can learn from you, this is a good sign you are ready to move on and learn new information.
Getting ready for an all-nighter? Many students think that studying for hours straight before an exam (cramming) is a good way to prepare for their test.
Nothing is furthest from the truth. Not only is highly condensed learning like this for hours at a time not productive, but you’ll be shunning sleep, which as we learned before, can also decrease your memory capacity.
If you are going to study for longer than 30 minutes or so, take a short break at the 30-minute mark.
Even 2-3 minutes of walking around can give your brain the break it needs so that when you get back to it, you are better focused and ready to continue on with your learning.
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Some people use a light highlighter as they are studying to highlight the importance concepts. They figure this will help them retain the information better and make it easier to come back to that page to re-read the information at a later time.
Often however, by highlighting, you are just telling your brain that it doesn’t need to really learn the material because not it is picked out later for reference.
If you don’t highlight, you’ll force your brain to truly learn the information that you want to be comprehending.
If you really feel like you need to come back to re-read information that is of particular importance, put a sticky note on the entire page. This works the same way but won’t cause your brain to virtually ‘shut off’ like a highlighter may.
Use Mnemonic Rules
Finally, one last way improve your studying skills is to utilize mnemonic rules. This could be something like a word that contains the first letter of every word of a series of words that you are attempting to remember.
Or, it might be a saying that helps you remember what you are trying to learn.
Various memory devices like these can help you with your studying however do keep in mind that if you forget the saying/word association you used for this purpose, that may decrease the chances that you recall the information.
So while helpful, it may be a temporary fix.
There you have a few of the top studying techniques to help you make more of your time spent studying.
Now let’s give you a few speed reading tips that will help you take your studying one step further.
Speed Reading Techniques For Success
Wish you could read faster? Slow reading is only going to hamper your learning capacity because the slower you read, the less information you have available to retain.
Of course you can’t just race through reading without comprehending what you are reading, but if you can utilize a few speed reading tips while maintaining comprehension, there’s no question his is going to teach you how to increase productivity.
Let’s take a look at some of the best speed reading tips that you can start using right away.
While you may not think about reading first thing in the day (as you are too busy rushing around trying to get everything else done in your day), the fact is that for many people, your best reading time is done early on in the day.
If you have some important studying to do, rather than burning the midnight oil and trying to do it all before bed, consider going to bed earlier and waking up an hour earlier to get it done in the morning.
Skim First, Read Second
Another way to improve your reading speed is to begin with a brief skim of the material and then dive in and read from there.
How does this help? It might seem to add an extra step, thus taking you away from faster reading.
But the fact is, by skimming first, you will form a structure of the material that you are about to learn, which will then help your brain process it faster as you begin reading.
The end result is that you can dramatically boost your reading speed. This trick can also help increase your overall comprehension of what you’ve read as well.
Choose Your Environment Carefully
It’s also a must that you are selecting your environment for reading carefully. You want a distraction-free environment that’s well light and comfortable – but not too comfortable.
If you are reading on the sofa for instance in a reclined position, the chances that you nod off and fall asleep may be quite high.
Sit upright in a desk that’s comfortable but still keeps you feeling alert.
Turn off all distractions and make sure the room is well-lit so you don’t experience any eye strain.
Follow The Lines With Your Fingers
One instant way to boost the speed of your reading is to actually trace over the lines in the book with your fingers.
Move your fingers from side to side, following it with your eyes as you read the words on the page.
This direction from your hand can speed up the rate in which your eyes process the text, allowing you to get through the page quicker.
As you get better and better at this, pick up the pace in which you move your finger. This can in turn help increase the speed that you are reading at.
Soften Your Gaze
While following your finger, also consider softening your gaze slightly. Don’t focus too hard on each individual word as you read.
Instead, take a visual step back. See the sentence more as a whole rather than these unique individual words and this may help you actually ‘take in’ more overall, reading faster.
So there you have a few quick tips and tricks that you can use to help you get through information faster as you go about your speed reading practices.
Keep in mind that speed reading does take time and work. Don’t expect yourself to be doing it straight off the bat right away.
Keep working at it and you will slowly get faster and faster until you are at the speed that you want to be.
Cognitive process, learning, and memory are all things that you have control over. While it may feel like you are either born smart or, well, not, the fact is, those who are truly brilliant often employ strategies that have helped them become so over time.
While there’s no question some people simply have the ability to learn and process certain information better than others (and much of this depends on their actual interest in the information), don’t ever let yourself believe that you cannot improve your memory and learning.
Use the strategies we have discussed here and you’ll be amazed at what your brain can do.
Do you have any memory tricks that you use? Share them with us below.
Rhyu, I. J., et al. “Effects of aerobic exercise training on cognitive function and cortical vascularity in monkeys.” Neuroscience 167.4 (2010): 1239-1248.
Ellenbogen, Jeffrey M. “Cognitive benefits of sleep and their loss due to sleep deprivation.” Neurology 64.7 (2005): E25-E27.
Li, Wang, et al. “Memory and learning behavior in mice is temporally associated with diet-induced alterations in gut bacteria.” Physiology & behavior 96.4 (2009): 557-567.
Want to learn more about how you can boost your brain function and improve your health? Be sure to check out my complete course where you’ll learn everything from optimizing your gut environment to the best form of exercise to torch body fat.