The not-so-secret habit to retain what you’ve learned

Do you ever wonder what it would be like to have a photographic memory?

Or to retain every important piece of information that you’ve come across in life?

Not only handy if you forget your shopping list, but extremely beneficial for learning and development.

For those of us who doesn’t possess a 20/20 memory, we have to work a little harder to retain the information we’ve learned, especially when it comes to picking up a new language.

The Curve of Forgetting, as described by the University of Waterloo, explains how we retain or get rid of information that we take in.


Based on what was taught and learned in a one hour lecture, here’s what happens to our brains within a 30 day range:

  • On day 1, we remember almost 100% of what we have been taught
  • By day 2, if you have done nothing with the information you learned in that lecture, didn’t think about it or read it again, you will have lost 50% – 80% of what you learned
  • By day 7, we remember even less, and by day 30, we retain about 2% – 3% of the original hour.

Can you imagine that? All of our time, effort and money down the drain if we don’t do anything with the information we’ve learned.

A few factors such as lack of sleep, diet and stress can add to the rate of forgetting the information we’ve learned, but the good news is, we can actively maintain our retention of information.

As tempting as it is to try and learn as much as we can in a short time frame to feel accomplished, the secret lies in the habit of revision.


Why is it so important?

Your brain needs time to process the new information and make connections between the concept and how to apply it in real life.

Depending on the course load, the general recommendation is to spend half an hour or so every weekday, and 1.5 to 2 hours every weekend reviewing what you have learned.

We know you have a busy lifestyle, so try mixing it up and revising through a host of different means. It will allow your brain to make connections in different ways. For example, if you’ve just learned about food groups, try naming everything you eat that day, or every ingredient you cook with that week.

Revision doesn’t have to stay within the books – get creative and figure out which method works best for you.

We hope this study tip is a nice, gentle reminder to revise; it will help you make the most of the effort that you’re already putting into attending class and it will get you one step closer to fluency.

If you need help with creating good habits for revision, get in touch with us today on (07) 5578 6838.


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