Do you know how to learn more effectively? Do you use highlighter or re-reading material to learn new stuff? If you do, well, there is some good evidence you need to change that if you want to learn more effectively.
Bottom line is: Learning should be effortful and productive activity!
It’s hard, but in a nutshell, there are things you can do now, to improve your learning:
- Retrieval practice: Start using flash cards for retrieval practice. Write short sentences, keywords or paragraph of the topics you want to learn. Rewrite it with your own words (generate it), don’t just copy it from the material.
- Spaced learning: spread the same topic you are trying to learn trough-out days/weeks/years. Restudy for long-retention.
- Interleaved learning: Mix or switch with different topics or ideas to achieve better understanding and retention. Mix tests with retrieval practice, mix different ideas about the same topic, relate it to other topics, etc.
- Personal evaluation: simulate / practice the goal as many times as possible. Link knowledge that you already have with new topics.
- Peer evaluation: discuss topics with your colleagues, friends, schoolmates, etc. Try to ask hard questions, questions that will make you think and find solutions! This will make you study better.
Here are some videos and references for you from the edX course below:
John Dunlosky on how learning.
Bob Bjork on how to retain information better.
I strongly suggest you to take the edX course on thinking called Science of everyday thinking, where they address a lot more than just learning.