Before I share the #1 tip that will help you learn more efficiently and effectively, I want to tell you what psychological research has shown to be the #1 threat to learning.
This threat is called the fluency illusion. When I was in college, me and most of my friends studied in this fashion: we would read the book with a highlighter, take some notes, and then re-read them over and over again - usually the day before the exam! Ha! Anyone else study like that!?
The reason studying like this is a problem is that we fool ourselves into thinking we really know the material. The material feels familiar, so we think we have learned it on a deeper level than we actually have. When we get into a situation where we need to recall the information, however, we are not able to. Scientists call this the fluency illusion.
The fluency illusion is a trap! If you really want to learn a topic well, you need to find a different method. Luckily for us, scientists have studied this issue at length and there is a solution.
The solution is known as the Quiz and Recall Method. To really master something, you should shut the book (or turn off the video) and see if you can recall from memory the most important ideas.
The next time you are learning something, challenge yourself to see if you can explain the information or ideas in your own words.
Another way to do this is to explain it to someone else. Being able to teach a concept clearly and concisely is a great test of how deeply you understand the concept.
If you can recall the information you’ve been learning about with ease, that’s awesome! If not, you know that you have some more studying to do. This makes for an efficient study process because you don’t need to waste your time going back over material you’ve already learned.
To sum this up, the number one strategy for learning quickly and efficiently is to forget re-reading your materials over and over again. Instead, go for the quiz and recall method!