How to Forget Everything You’ve Learned!
Last updated on January 20th, 2020 at 8:58 am
You can work as hard as you like to study the information you need to absorb, but if you’re making any of these four mistakes, you’ll forget everything. And I mean, everything! Avoid these time-wasters and send that info to your long-term memory.
Written by Lysette Offley
There are a few reliable ways to shoot yourself in the foot. You might think you’re doing the right thing – it might even feel as though you’re doing the right thing. But that’s no consolation when you discover too late that it doesn’t work.
The first group is the people who tend to write out everything they’ve got in front of them, and usually because they’re afraid of missing something important.
Oh dear! It doesn’t work. And if this is your strategy, you know that too. Some therapies use the knowledge that the more you write, the more you’ll forget – to help people move on in their lives.
Yes, very helpful in therapy, but not much use if you’re trying to pass exams.
In the second set, are those of you who are seduced by ‘Typing Temptation’. All the research demonstrates that typing your notes, for example on your computer or your tablet, uses ‘shallower processing’. In other words, you’re actually using less of your brain to create them.
Using less of your brain makes it a lot easier to forget them. Does that sound like a good idea to you?
Then in the third clutch, are the folk who read and read and read and reread their text books over and over again. I guess some of you already know – this doesn’t work either.
If you’ve ever been revising and realised you’ve just read the last paragraph 2 or 3 times and keep waking up to discover you haven’t taken a single word in, then you already know that it sends your brain to sleep.
These folk grab a bunch of highlighter pens and go through their text book, colouring with enthusiastic abandon.
Colour-coding the various themes, when they appear, sounds like a good idea, but when their text book abstract art may be fit for the Tate Modern, it’s not fit for recall. It’s far too mindless and easy. Their brains were never paying attention to the information in the first place and it’s a lot of ink wasted, for none of it to stick in their heads.
You need to actively manipulate the information you want to absorb. That means only 10-20% of your time reading your course manual or your own notes, and the rest of your time deliberately making a pattern of it and sending it to your long-term memory.
In each of the activities above, your brain will drift along passively, and the information will never go in your head in the first place, so it won’t be there later when you try to recall it.
Remember, the more effortful the activity, the deeper the learning. And that’s what you need to aim for.
So stop engaging in these time-wasters, and execute a powerful, tried and trusted revision strategy instead.