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What is the best way to retain information for any subject?


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Yvonne’s Answer

A lot of people learn more effectively by taking the information they are trying to retain and teaching it to someone else, or applying it. For example, it's one thing to read about chemistry, but when you apply that knowledge in a lab, it helps to lock in what you've read since you have applied it to a scenario and can think about it differently. Perhaps you can create a study group with classmates or friends where you can take turns teaching each other about concepts you need to learn. Look for other methods of obtaining information, too, such as youtube videos by experts, or looking for opportunities to learn in a hands on environment.

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Jessilyn’s Answer

It depends on the type of information. For memorizing new things like acronyms or new vocabulary, I find that flash cards, poems, and songs can really help to trigger your memory (it may sound silly but try it- it works!) For recalling new skills (like how to solve a math problem or write a computer program) I also agree that teaching the skill to someone else will help you retain it. Another option if you have a photographic memory is writing the steps down one by one.

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Theresa’s Answer

Repetition and rewriting my notes always helped me in any subject. When rewriting notes, I would make sure to create a list of questions to ask to the professor/grad student at the next class or during office hours. It is very important to do this within 1-2 days of the lecture or else you could forget all the details. This is very helpful in particular for science/math/engineering courses.

Theresa recommends the following next steps:

Within 1-2 days of lecture, rewrite and review your notes from class.
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Write down any questions that you have from your review.
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Ask the professor or grad student instructor your questions at the next class or office hours.
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Re-write notes or short-hand of notes again when studying for an exam. Sometimes even 2-3x of repetition will help to retain the information.
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Candace’s Answer

I think the suggestions previously mentioned are great ones. I also think it's important at this point in your journey to determine the best way you learn. Some people learn better in study groups, others do better when they study alone. The time of day can make a difference as some people retain more in the morning and some like studying late at night. I learn best in the morning when it's quiet and then I quiz myself on the information I read. If I can't recall it or talk through it out loud then I need to review it again. I think once you decide what works best for you, be consistent and work hard.

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Gayatri’s Answer

It depends totally on the person and the kind of information you are trying to retain. Fo eg. if it's a concept you are trying to learn, saying it out aloud or writing the gist of the information into bullets might help. Repeating a piece of information that I read as though I were teaching a classroom of students or discussing with someone helps me simplify the information/concept and remember it better. I have also used illustrations on white board or paper to help me remember certain things. If the information you are trying to absorb requires memorizing something, such as acronyms you could make connections to something that you could easily relate to.

Gayatri recommends the following next steps:

Try saying out loud or talking about the information you have learned with someone
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Trying summarizing the information into simple bulleted points
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