This newsletter is dedicated to all the teachers that told me I’d never amount to nothin’. Students, we feel you. Having your bedroom as your new homeroom makes staying on track harder than ever. So, this one goes out to you. If you’re part of the #WFH tribe, your time will come.
Man I Love College
And referencing oldies. We all wish we could download Powerpoints directly into our brains, but, we’re out of luck. (@Elon any leads on this?) We usually feel like we got Neuralyzed after every zoom lecture.
Get ready to have your mind blown. Research suggests that humans forget ~50% of what they learn within an hour, and ~70% within 24 hours. No wonder our GPAs are no higher than our chug time. This is because of The Forgetting Curve: the rate at which information is forgotten after it’s initially learned, when there is no attempt to retain it.
You never forget your first… or your last
We have a solution. Implementing The Pomodoro Technique into your studying habits will help you remember a whole lot more. The technique suggests to break up your studying in 25-minute chunks, followed by a 5-minute break. This sounds hugely inconvenient and like a ridiculous waste of time, but just wait.
This is the primacy and recency effect in action. It states that you are most likely to remember something at the beginnings and ends of a learning session, while the middle is as useless as UberPool in 2020. So, working in 25-minute chunks adds more of these key learning opportunities to your study sessions thus remembering more.
So, in reality, these breaks save you time. Do your future self a favor, will ya?
This is why cramming sucks
Rushing like JJ Watt the night before an exam won’t do you any good. Cramming usually means foregoing sleep which throws away most of the learning that’s done. Matthew Walker, a prominent intellectual in sleep psychology, found that sleep-deprived students scored 40% worse on an image-recall test than those who had slept normally before viewing the images. 40%… that’s no joke. Cramming also means making less beginning and ends, so you’ll remember way less.
Insight from Limitless by Jim Kwik
Some of Jim Kwik’s habits to learn better:
Remembering requires actively transferring the information you learn into your memory. When you passively re-read your textbook or notes, you cheat yourself into believing you can recall the information you’re reading, when in reality, you simply recognize it. So, instead:
Review the material, then close it and immediately write down what you remember. Then, open the material and fill in the blanks. The sweet spot is around 4x.
Start by reviewing the same material an hour later, then a day later, a week later… The CEO of Synap, the learning platform, explains that by spacing the intervals out, you’re exercising the neural connections each time, leading to greater retention of knowledge. It’s the same reason that you don’t just do 100 bicep curls in one day and then forget about them for a year. Your brain thrives on repetitive stimuli. Cramming would clearly not allow for this type of repetition.
Be very harsh with your note-taking. You’ll most likely retain more by actually listening, than by ferociously taking down notes. Unless you’re one of those note-takers that get paid $200 a class. If you are, proceed.
“If knowledge is power, then learning is our superpower. And our capacity to learn is limitless; we simply need to be shown how to access it.”