Shin X India, Gurgaon

Tag: How to improve understanding/comprehending skills when starting a new chapter?

Reading is fun!!

Well, at least when the subject is interesting.

But what about boring subjects? Do we enjoy reading when the subject is boring or when we have no idea what is coming next?

I don’t!!

I either end up day dreaming with the book in my hand or spending a lot of time trying to figure what the text actually means.

What is the solution, you ask?

Here it is: Scan before you start.

First scan through the pages of the next chapter or module you are about to start. By scanning I mean glancing through the pictures, formulas, headings, sub-headings, end-notes, and side notes. You don’t need to memorize these things but just need to have a look so that you are aware of the subject of the content so that you are not clueless when you start reading.

How will it help?

Our mind loves to wonder. It is difficult to concentrate especially when we don’t know what’s coming up next. Everyone has different level up to which they can concentrate. But this trick works for everyone.

So next time you are thinking about everything except the words you are reading, wait ---> give a scan ---> and start over.

Happy reading...

Tag: How to use the bad habit of zoning-out to our advantage?

FOCUS AND STOP DAY DREAMING!!!

We all have heard this at least once in our lives. (I have….many times actually)

So have you ever wondered why do we day dream?

Also, can we use our propensity to day dream, to our advantage??

First, why do we day dream in the first place; especially when we have something urgent to take care of, or when we are stuck solving a problem?
Easy answer- Because this is how we are!

Our mind works in two modes: Focused and Diffuse.

In focused mode, we concentrate, try to comprehend, or simply focus on whatever task we are performing.

In diffused mode, we think randomly, our imaginations run wild, we get creative (too creative sometimes). This is bad when we are trying to concentrate, when we are stuck at a point.

Right?

Well, yes. But this is not completely true.

Wandering while we should concentrate can actually help us when we are stuck at a problem. Diffuse mode makes us more creative and if we can control the duration/frequency of transitioning between focused and diffuse modes, it can actually help us find creative out-of-the-box solutions to our problems.

But make sure that you try and focus first. Create a habit to focus and concentrate.

We need to first make sure that we are not running to diffuse state every time we get an opportunity, i.e. the breaks should not be too long. We can also switch between tasks - from tough tasks to the ones we enjoy. Other ways we can switch to diffuse mode is by sleeping (quick naps), exercising, etc.

Tag: I forget things very fast. What should I do to retain my learning?

Remembering things we learn can be a challenge for many of us, especially if the subject is not interesting.

How to overcome?

We can follow three simple steps (simple when you practice them regularly):

First, scan through the contents, like: pictures, headings, formulas, sub-headings, etc., you are about to start reading. This will make your mind aware of what to expect when you actually start to read and hence will increase your reading speed.

Second, read with care. Mark the important points while reading. Do not start marking every line you read. It will defeat the purpose. Just ask yourself which Key points/words do I need to remember? Mark those points or take short notes for later reference.

Third, try and recall what you have studied without moving to the next module/chapter. Do not look at the contents but try and recall from your own mind.

Tag: How to reduce procrastination tendency?

I will do it later. I have plenty of time. First I need to watch my favourite cartoon.

These are some of the excuses we make to avoid problems until the last moment.

The result...

We end up completing tasks at the last moment resulting in inferior performance than that we are capable of.

To overcome this tendency, we need to follow three steps.

First, list down all the habits which waste your time or which distract you from concentrating. To figure out these habits, communicate with people you can trust like parents, friends, teachers etc.

Now find solutions to these bad habits. By solutions I mean methods to avoid falling into the trap of those bad habits. For example, if kids playing outside your window distract you, change the direction of your study table to face the other side.

Ensure that you follow the solutions every time you need to concentrate.

Tag: I have difficulty in learning and remembering things. What should I do?

Everyone has his/her own capacity to remember things. Remembering large amounts of data can be very challenging to most of the people.

Let us see how brain stores information for us.

Our brain takes time to process data. It forms neural links to store information. This system of data storage can be used to our advantage when learning things which are complicated or are difficult to visualize in mind.

In such cases, one trick can do wonders for you.

Metaphors and mnemonics are the key.

These tricks are already used in schools to make children memorize things. They can further be used to learn and remember any concept.

Use metaphors to relate complicated information to something you are already aware of. You can form stories in your mind which do not make sense, but in one way or another, they describe the properties of the concept which have to learn. In other words you use concepts already learned to assist you in learning new concepts. As we learn more about things, the metaphors we created earlier may not be relevant to remember those concepts now. In such a case, let go of those metaphors and create new ones again to assist learning.

Remember, metaphors do not have (or do not need to have) any meaning themselves. We have to relate them with the concepts we need to learn.

Other method of learning is mnemonics. In this method, we use rhyming words, acronyms, etc. to learn complicated things.

Both the tricks will work only when you are able to remember and relate the metaphors/mnemonics to the things you want to learn. Use your imagination to choose any of the tricks.

Tag: How to improve my comprehension skills through sleeping better?

Not able to recall what you read an hour ago?

Don’t worry. It is very common with most of us to forget what we have learned, especially when we are involved in other tasks as well. To overcome this, we can apply any of the tricks to increase memory (mnemonics, metaphors, active recall, etc.). But all of these methods can only be beneficial if we practice them with sufficient amount of sleep.

During sleep, some parts of our neural networks (brain cell networks which store information) are still forming. These networks stores the information learned while being awake more prominently.

People who suffer from sleep deprivation or insomnia often complain about forgetfulness and memory loss.

For practice, learn something new, revisit/recall the concepts you learned, and try to recall again after sleeping over it. You will find that you can recall things better once you have a good sleep.

Now the question arises, what is a good sleep? When would you say if a person is under sleeping or oversleeping?

The answer is different for different people. What we need to ensure is that our sleeping patterns are consistent and it does not affect our daily chores and studies.

A healthy mind resides inside a healthy body. Thus, we need to make sure that our habits are such that we get enough exercises, study, and sleep for overall development of body and mind.

Tag: What trick should I use to improve my understanding of the concepts I learn?

Teaching is the best way to learn!

When we learn new things, we store the information in our brains as per our understanding. The questions which arise in our minds while reading makes our brains work harder to find answers and in turn help us to understand things better. However, it is possible that our minds do not ask the right questions or skip some questions which might be useful to better understand the concept.

To overcome this self-created mental barrier to our comprehending capacity, we should try all the possibilities to get other people’s view on the subject.

Best way to do so is by teaching the concepts learned by us to other people like: friends, family members, or teachers. Teaching makes our mind ponder over how we learned the concepts and what will be the best way to make others understand them. Encouraging questions from others help us think for answers and in the process explore the subject from a different perspective.

The whole process helps by forming stronger memory links (neural networks) which stay in our memory for longer periods of time.

Remembering can be tricky, especially if the things you need to remember are large amounts of data (example: remembering dates, names, etc.) with little logic and connections.

One way to remember such information is by associating them with pictorial representations which we are either familiar with or which are so unique that we can form a mental image and are easier to remember.

The picture we associate with such information should be one which we can easily associate with the idea we need to learn/store. It is better if the photo we use has some distinct characteristics (even absurd or funny ones).

The reason why this technique works is that for most of us, our human brains are designed to remember figures and patterns better than numbers and names. This might not be true for all of us. For them, other techniques like using metaphors, mnemonics, etc. can be used.