We’ve all been there, we look at some text either from a book or online and at the end of it the “what the hell did I just read” questions comes in. We usually re-read what we just read hoping to retain more focus this time. Sometimes this works but most times it does not. So how do we read information and retain it the first time quickly?
Set an Intention
What is your intended goal of reading the text? If prior to reading anything you set an intention such as “I’m going to learn how to differentiate polynomials,” your brain will subconsciously pick out the relevant information. Try actually writing down your goal and see how much more information you retain.
Read with the intention of creating a summary of the text. This forces your brain to be more active in the reading process. If while you are reading you are self questioning with “how would I say that” you create ownership of the material. This forces you to internalize the material and therefore learn it.
Turn to your child, younger sibling, friend, dog, cat or parrot and explain to them what you just read with the intention of teaching it. Do not worry about how bad you are, the simple act of trying to teach others will show you exactly how much you know. A bi-product of this is your dog may end up learning calculus.
Ok now what did you learn? Did you tell your parrot? What was your intention in reading this? Go forth now and set intentions, summarize and teach. You’ll be suprised how high your retention will be.
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