Forgetting is actually a human phenomenon. No matter how well you enjoyed a book or article, there’s a 90% chance you won’t remember what it entails over time. Don’t beat yourself too much about it because human beings are bound to forget things. Despite being a human phenomenon, you shouldn’t accept and conform to it. Be it a book or news article or whatever, there are methods to retaining what you read. This ability come in very handy for mostly students who have to prepare for school exams and also those in the working class.
So if you’re having a very hard time recalling what you read, just relax. I put together a couple of scientifically proven methods and strategies to remember everything you read and make your way to being an outstanding student.
1. SKIM THE MATERIAL FIRST
According to Alexander Foy, “Skimming is an extremely effective tool when reading a material for the first time”. Before going ahead to reading a book or any material at all, you should take time to take note of headings, tables, pictures (if any), charts, keywords, etc. This helps you know what to expect when actually reading the material in general and enables you pay attention to important particulars. Skimming opens up your memory, broadens your thinking and gives you an overall picture of the material which in turn makes it easier for you to remember important information.
2. TAKE NOTES AND HIGHLIGHT IMPORTANT POINTS
Never read without a pen in hand. Writing down enables you remember information better than when you try to store them upstairs. During your reading, try as much as possible to highlight those important points and keywords you came across while skimming. Also ask yourself if the highlighted information conforms to your purpose for reading the material. If the information is of no value to you, you can ignore it so as not to bombard yourself. Diagrams and mini flowcharts could also be of great help because the brain captures pictorial information more than text.
3. LINK THE MATERIAL WITH PREVIOUS KNOWLEDGE
Try as much as possible to associate what you read with things you already know. This helps your brain store what you have read in your memory bank. You can try and relate names and dates in what you have read for example to names and dates of your friends or family members. This makes you remember it better. You can also relate new knowledge gained from reading t practical knowledge you already possess. Once you’re able to successfully do this, you increase power to remember.
4. ASK YOURSELF QUESTIONS
Learn to interact with the text you are reading. From time to time and at reasonable intervals, ask yourself logical questions like “why did the author say this?” “What if this concept was interpreted in another way will it still make sense?”
By questioning yourself, you broaden your knowledge on the material you are reading. Once you are able to understand it more, you can remember it better. It works hand in hand.
5. DISCUSS WITH OTHERS
Discussing your material with a colleague or classmate enables you know what information you have assimilated and can remember. Exchanging information helps your brain create new memories and retain pre-existing ones too. After discussing with someone, do well to re-read the material to fully grasp those things you don’t understand.
6. READING OUT LOUD
This system works very well for loud readers. When you speak and hear yourself, you have a better chance of remembering the material better than normal. The brain can easily recall the way and manner you pronounced those words when reading out loud. This cannot be done during silent reading.
BONUS POINT: Try to make out rhymes and songs when reading. It also helps your ability to recall. I used this method a lot when trying to memorize long definitions. I turned them into songs and sang my way to success in the exam hall. Hahaha funny right? But very effective.