Curious how to study faster and retain more of what you study? These study tips for better retention can help you achieve excellent results in the long term.

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How to study faster and retain more of what you study

Many students struggle with new knowledge retention and consolidation. Whether working on comprehensive semantic learning or cramming for the next exam, most students could use a little help with studying practices.

People have been searching for the most effective ways of memorizing information, as this skill has many practical applications. Even though people learn and remember differently, we can discuss specific tools and study habits that improve long-term memory and retention. This guide will find a few practical solutions for improving learning speed and memory.

Improve your studying speed

There are many benefits to improving your studying speed, and having much more leisure time is at the top of that list. So, what are some of the best ways to boost your studying speed? Indeed, paying attention in class and getting some exercise is helpful, but there are other ideas you may want to consider, such as:

Focusing on specific sentences

While this approach might not work for every type of studying material, it can help you when you’re in a rush. Focus on the first and last sentence in a specific paragraph. That way, you read the introduction of an idea and its conclusion. Search for keywords and try to extract the main point.

Taking notes

Effective note-taking is an excellent studying practice. We’re not talking about writing detailed notes using your laptop, but rather jotting down little notes on the margins of your textbook. Drawing little arrows that connect an idea to specific paragraphs and sentences can help you learn faster.

Skipping the small words

When you’re trying to read as fast as possible, you can ignore the small words like articles, conjunctions, and pronouns. Your brain will automatically fill in the blanks, and you’ll still understand the content, even when reading brand-new material. Of course, this is not advisable when reading for pleasure, but it’s a great practical solution for cramming sessions.

Fix your posture

Many students slouch when studying as they may feel more comfortable hovering over a textbook. However, bad posture forces your body to work harder in order to breathe, thus using more energy. On the other hand, sitting up straight means you can use that energy to read faster.

Tips for better retention

Habits, lifestyle, stress, and how you process information affect how well you retain new material. However, anyone can improve their retention abilities. These tips are a great starting point.

Remove distractions

Taking a 15-minute break after an hour-long study session is an excellent idea. However, if you hop on social media apps, you may spend hours scrolling aimlessly through your feed.

This type of distraction, along with streaming services and notifications, are some of the biggest reasons why learning takes more time and feels more difficult. Therefore, eliminating all possible distractions will help you get a better start.

Use mnemonics

Mnemonic tools like songs, pictures, acronyms, notes, and storytelling are tried and true solutions for better knowledge retention. These methods stimulate your memory and help you learn new facts. Of course, mnemonics are a popular option for children, especially when dealing with dyslexia and other learning disorders.

Eat and sleep well

If you can rest and maintain a relatively healthy diet, you’re already ahead when it comes to retaining any new piece of information. An excellent sleep routine is crucial for knowledge consolidation and long-term memory. At the same time, super foods like blueberries, fatty fish, walnuts, and avocados will adequately refuel your body and set you up for success.

Articulate what you learned

One of the best ways to test how well you’ve been studying is to explain the material to someone using your own words. Of course, you can also talk to yourself or teach your pet about a specific topic. Articulating what you want to retain creates a “production effect,” meaning that the information moves to the long-term memory.

Learn better with Speechify

If you find yourself re-reading the same webpage or document several times without absorbing or understanding the content, perhaps you learn better by listening. Text to speech (TTS) apps like Speechify are great for people who enjoy podcasts or need help learning a new language.

Speechify offers numerous customization options, including bookmarking and note-taking. You can select the preferred language, adjust reading speed, and browse over 100 natural-sounding voices from the catalog.

Speechify is available online, as a Chrome extension, and mobile app. Try Speechify text to speech software for free today and improve the way you learn.


How can I learn 10x faster?

Many factors impact how fast one can learn. First, genetic predispositions can make someone a faster learner. However, regular exercise, a healthy diet, and hydration are also important. Furthermore, mnemonic devices, efficient note-taking, self-testing, creating mind maps, and other memory techniques will help you learn faster.

Why can’t I retain what I study?

Poor retention of new knowledge may occur for various reasons. A profound lack of interest in the topic will make it harder to retain information, but other factors such as lack of sleep, anxiety, and distractions like social media apps can disrupt the learning process.

What are the best ways to study?

Research shows that spaced repetition is the best approach to learning a new skill. By spacing out study sessions, you can acquire new knowledge and make it stick. Rote memorization and cram sessions are great for short-term memory, but spaced repetition helps you overcome the forgetting curve.  

How do I commit to study?

First, acknowledge your resistance towards the study material or the amount of time you need to study. Try visualizing the result you’ll enjoy after you complete your task. Also, consider splitting the material into smaller chunks and taking regular breaks after a set period of study time.

How do I work smarter?

When it comes to working smarter, not harder, a few life hacks come to mind. First, eliminate multitasking, as it makes you less efficient overall. When learning new concepts and materials, try reducing your anxiety by getting enough sleep or meditating. Finally, for long-term memory effect, consider regular exercise as it helps the brain create new neurons.

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