How to Become a Quick Learner

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Quick learning depends on good comprehension and breaking down information into small, easily digestible chunks. While not everyone is born with the capacity to grasp information and comprehend it quickly, anyone can develop and improve their learning and memorization skills. These techniques may not necessarily work in all situations, as complex topics will sometimes require more reflection and studying, but with practice and patience you can easily improve your learning and comprehension skills.


[Edit]Practicing Learning Techniques

  1. Take an active interest in what you're learning. This may sound obvious, but it's easiest to learn anything when you actually have an interest in the thing you're learning. Whether it's a musical instrument, a chapter from your school textbook, or something you're required to learn for work, finding ways to become interested in that subject matter will help you dedicate yourself to learning and developing new skills.[1]
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    • Try finding ways to relate the subject matter to something you are interested in. If you're learning about something for school, for example, try to find ways to relate that subject to a subject that you're actually interested in.
    • Even looking for connections may make the subject more interesting to you. If you can find ways to explore the subject on your own terms, you may find yourself more engaged and interested over time.
  2. Focus solely on what you're learning. While you may feel like you can multitask and divide your attention equally, the reality is that this isn't always effective when learning something new. Whether it's a new language, new skill, or new piece of information, dedicating your time and attention exclusively to the new thing you're learning will help you learn faster and with greater retention.[2]
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  3. Break information down into manageable chunks. Learning new information can be difficult, especially if the information is vast and complex. Studies have shown, though, that breaking information down into more manageable components, called "chunking," can make it much easier to learn new information rather quickly.[3]
    Become a Quick Learner Step 3.jpg
    • You already practice chunking on a smaller scale, though you may not be aware of it as such. For example, when you memorize a phone number, you usually memorize the area code, first three digits, and final four digits, rather than as a single number.[4]
    • Try splitting information into its logical sections and components. For example, if you're trying to learn 20th Century world history, you might break it down into major wars/conflicts, notable people in politics, etc.
    • As you practice chunking, try to remain cognizant of the relationship between each component as it relates to the larger subject.[5]
  4. Learn new things in the afternoon. It's best to learn something new when you're not falling asleep or struggling to wake up. Whether you consider yourself a morning person or a night owl, some studies have shown that you're most attentive and alert during the afternoon. For this reason, it may be best to devote study/practice time in the afternoon whenever possible.[6]
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  5. Spend time learning everyday. Any new skill, subject, or talent you want to develop is going to take time and effort. The more time you devote to learning that new subject matter, the quicker you'll learn how to become proficient in that subject. Some studies suggest that daily practice helps you retain at least 54% of the material you review, but after two weeks of not practicing you'll have lost more than half of the information you were previously reviewing.[7]
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    • Set a schedule for yourself and stick to it consistently.
    • If you can't make time to practice/learn every single day, schedule time for it as frequently as you can manage.
  6. Seek out immediate feedback. When you learn something new in school, you have a teacher there to correct you when you're mistaken. Likewise when you're studying how to play a new instrument in music class or performing drills with a sports team. This immediate feedback helps you sharpen your skills and find ways to improve.[8]
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    • Being told when you're doing something incorrectly (and when you're doing it correctly) can help you identify what needs to change so that you don't waste time learning things incorrectly.
    • Try practicing your new skill/study material/etc. with someone who's familiar with that concept. If you don't know anyone who's an expert, a trusted friend whose input you value will still be helpful.
  7. Make sure you get enough sleep each night. Sleep is important for your sense of wellbeing, but sleep can also affect your ability to retain information over long periods of time. If you approach a study/practice session well-rested and follow it up with a good night's sleep at the end of the day, you're far more likely to retain more of that information.[9]
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    • Most teenagers need 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night, though some may need even more sleep.[10]
    • Adults generally need seven to nine hours of sleep each night, though some adults may need more than nine hours of sleep.

[Edit]Improving Your Memorization Abilities

  1. Use visual memorization. Many people who have trouble memorizing terms or names find that visual association/memorization techniques can assist in the learning process. Try to focus on an actual visual element of the thing you're trying to memorize, then develop some type of memorable association in your mind.[11]
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    • Memory is largely visual, so pinning some type of visual element to the word, name, or series of actions you're trying to memorize can help you cement that concept in your memory.
    • If you're trying to remember that someone you've met is named Nathan, for example, you might think about Nathan's nose to associate the name Nathan with the physical shape or size of his nose.
    • Any other sensory information you can pair with a visual memory will only strengthen that memory in your mind.[12]
  2. Incorporate repetition of the new information/skill. Repetition, or what some psychologists refer to as over learning, is one of the best ways to memorize any new skill or piece of information.[13] Repetition of the same action over and over helps you build muscle memory, and repetition of the same information helps you cement that data as a new memory.
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    • Your practice and repetition should be conducted on a regular basis. Try to avoid cramming, as this is not a good way to memorize or learn new things.
    • Space your repetition out over a longer span of time to maximize your results.
  3. Try using a mnemonic device. A mnemonic device is any mental technique that helps you memorize and recall information. They're particularly helpful for memorizing small amounts of information in the short-term.[14] There are many different types of mnemonic devices, some of which date back thousands of years.[15] A few of the most common mnemonic devices include:
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    • Acronyms - this involves using the first letter or letters from a name or phrase to form a new word or phrase that's easier to remember. One of the most common acronyms used by music students is remembering the musical staff EGBDF with the phrase "Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge."
    • Rhymes - many students rhyme names, dates, or phrases to help make those concepts easier to recall. For example, substituting the words of a song you like with the names/terms from a lesson plan may make it easier to remember those terms on an exam.
    • The Method of Loci - this mnemonic device uses a mental image of some place you know intimately (like your bedroom, or the rooms of your house as a whole). Then you assign each term/name to a spot within that location and visualize it as though it were a tangible object in that space.

[Edit]Acquiring New Skills

  1. Focus on acquiring the skill, rather than getting it perfect. Many people trying to learn a new skill expect to achieve perfection. While you may be able to master a skill to the point of perfection over time, it's best to focus on learning and acquiring that skill on a more basic level when you're just starting out. Once you remove the expectation of immediate perfection, you open yourself up to incremental progress without the risk of frustration.[16]
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  2. Practice the skill consistently. Some studies have shown that you can acquire a basic, entry-level ability in most new skills after approximately 20 hours of practice.[17] Remember, though, that this means 20 actual practice hours, not just 20 hours after you first practice something. Learning any new skill requires repetition and patience, but with practice it will begin to come easier.
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    • If you have a hard time setting aside large chunks of time to practice, try making it a point to practice in whatever small increments you can spare.
    • For example, if you can't sit for an hour each day to practice, commit to practicing in 15 minute blocks four times each day.
  3. Quiz yourself to identify what needs to improve. A good way to measure your progress is by testing what you know. This can help you identify the areas that need improvement while also reinforcing the things that are working well.[18]
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    • If you're trying to master a new instrument, practice your scales or chords and see how many you can complete by memory.
    • If you've been trying to learn a new skill, try forcing yourself to complete the first few steps without consulting the instructions. This will give you a good gauge of how much you've learned so far, and you can extend your memorized recitations as you progress.
    • If you're studying scholarly subject matter (take vocabulary words, for example), try testing yourself with flash cards. Write a name/term on one side, the definition on the other side, and as you quiz yourself pay attention to which terms/names you struggle with.



  • If you need to demonstrate that you're a fast learner during a job interview, you can do this by listening actively and summarizing back what you have been told. Another option is to simply ask thoughtful questions about the organization. Don't try to show that you "know everything," as this may end up backfiring.


[Edit]Quick Summary

  14. [v161180_b02]. 11 December 2019.

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