Supercharge your Math class
7 Proven Ways to boost your Mathematical concepts
Recent advances in teaching and learning methodologies has taught us a lot about how our brains process and hold on to information.
If you want to improve your grasp on Mathematical concepts, here are some proven ways you can start being a quick learner.
Take notes with pen and paper.
Though it might seem that typing your notes on a laptop during a lecture will be more thorough, thus helping you learn faster, it doesn't work that way. To speed up your learning, skip the laptop and take notes the old-fashioned way, with pen and paper. Research has shown that those who type in their lecture notes process and retain the information at a lower level. Those who take notes by hand actually learn more.
While taking notes by hand is slower and more cumbersome than typing, the act of writing out the information fosters comprehension and retention through muscle memory. Reframing the information in your own words helps you retain the information longer, meaning you'll have better recall and will perform better on tests.
Distribute your practice sessions
This method involves distributing multiple practices (or study sessions) on a topic over a period of time. Using short, spaced-out study sessions will encourage meaningful learning, as opposed to long 'cram sessions,' which promote rote learning. The first step is to take thorough notes while the topic is being discussed. Afterward, take a few minutes to look over your notes, making any additions or changes to add detail and ensure accuracy.
Do this quickly, once or twice following each class or period of instruction. Over time, you can begin to spread the sessions out, starting with once per day and eventually moving to three times a week. Spacing out practice over a longer period of time is highly effective because it's easier to do a small study session and you'll stay motivated to keep learning.
Study, sleep, more study.
You have a big project or a major presentation tomorrow and you're not prepared. If you're like many of us, you stay up too late trying to cram beforehand. Surely your hard work will be rewarded, even if you're exhausted the next day... right? However, that's not the most efficient way for our brains to process information.
Research shows a strong connection between sleep and learning. It seems that getting some shut-eye and taking short breaks are important elements in bolstering how our brains remember something. Deep sleep (non-rapid-eye-movement sleep) can strengthen our long-term memory if the sleep occurs within 12 hours of learning the new information. And students who both study and get plenty of sleep not only perform better academically; they're also happier.
Modify your practice.
If you're learning a skill, don't do the same thing over and over. Making slight changes during repeated and deliberate practice sessions will help you master a skill faster than doing it the same way every time. In one study of people who learned a computer-based motor skill, those who learned a skill and then had a modified practice session where they practiced the skill in a slightly different way performed better than those who repeated the original task over and over.
This only works if the modifications are small -- making big changes in how the skill is performed won't help. So, for instance, if you're practicing a new golf swing or perfecting your tennis game, try adjusting the size or weight of your club or racket.
Use brain breaks to restore focus.
Information overload is a real thing. In order to learn something new, our brains must send signals to our sensory receptors to save the new information, but stress and overload will prevent your brain from effectively processing and storing information.
When we are confused, anxious or feeling overwhelmed, our brains effectively shut down. You can see this happen when students listening to long, detailed lectures 'zone out' and stop paying attention to what's being said.
They simply aren't able to effectively conduct that information into their memory banks, so learning shuts down. The best way to combat this is by taking a 'brain break,' or simply shifting your activity to focus on something new. Even a five-minute break can relieve brain fatigue and help you refocus.
Learn same concept in multiple ways
When you use multiple ways to learn something, whether it's language learning or speed reading, you'll use more regions of the brain to store information about that subject. This makes that information more interconnected and embedded in your brain. It basically creates a redundancy of knowledge within your mind, helping you truly learn the information and not just memorize it.
You can do this through spaced repetition or by using different media to stimulate different parts of the brain, such as reading notes, reading the textbook, watching a video on social media and listening to a podcast or audio file on the topic. The more resources you use, the faster you'll learn.
Create mental graphs to connect different concepts
The more you can relate new concepts to ideas that you already understand, the faster the you'll learn the new information. According to the book Make It Stick, many common study habits are counterproductive. They may create an illusion of mastery, but the information quickly fades from our minds.
Memory plays a central role in our ability to carry out complex cognitive tasks, such as applying knowledge to problems we haven't encountered before and drawing inferences from facts already known. By finding ways to fit new information in with preexisting knowledge, you'll find additional layers of meaning in the new material. This will help you fundamentally understand it better, and you'll be able to recall it more accurately.