how to not forget everything

The Definitive Guide to Retain 90% of Everything You Learn

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How to Stop forgetting things that You Learned?

Imagine if you had a bucket of water. And every time you fill it with water, it leaks 90% of the water immediately. And you only retain 10% of the water every time.

How many times would you try to fill the bucket?

leaking bucket, forgetting everthing

The answer is: Just Once

After that, you will fix the leaky area or replace the bucket. Simple! isn’t it?

But that’s not how we learn things. We tend to forget things way faster than it took to learn them.

Well, something is missing here.

something is missing here.

What’s the purpose of reading every one of these books and articles if you’re simply going to forget most of it in a couple of hours?

I’ve been sitting in my room for two hours, having read numberless articles on the internet. Just to realize that I cannot recall more than 2 or 3 ideas or lessons that I have read in those articles.

Memory is fickle. I can read the maximum number of books, but I can barely explain to you the fundamental philosophy/plot of those after 1 hour of reading.

Many students in school also face a similar problem as me.

students and memory

They spend a whole semester working over different subjects and putting a long time into learning the material. Just to find themselves forgetting the material a couple of hours after, or even before, completing their exams.

Hermann Ebbinghaus, a German psychologist, provided the theory of forgetting curve— an idea that explains the reduction of memory retention in time.

forgetting curve by Hermann Ebbinghaus, how to we retain things which we learn in our memory.
The Forgetting Curve: How fast our memory weakens

The forgetting curve is the steepest on the first day. So, if you don’t revise what you’ve learned, you’re bound to forget the vast majority of the material. Your memory of it will keep on declining in the next days, eventually leaving you with just a bit of information.

The Internet And Its Effects on Memory Retention

Why We Forget Most of the Books We Read on, The Atlantic, debates about how the perpetual rise of Internet use has influenced our memory in a counterproductive manner.

exercpt from The Atlantic on memory retention and how internet affects it.

We treat the Internet as a hard drive to store our memories. We realize that if we ever need a bit of information, we can search it up on our mobile right away.

Just in time learning is turning out to be mainstream culture since it is much easier to search for information that you need quickly than remembring the data that may be valuable later on.

Deep work or deep knowledge has no value. Shallow, speedy and actionable pieces of information are progressively successful in getting the job done.

hovrath's dependency on internet.
How much you are depended on the Internet to remember stuff for you?

Since we realize that we have an externalized memory, we put less exertion in retaining and completely comprehending the ideas and lessons that we learn.

Research has indicated that the internet has started playing the role of a kind of externalized memory. “When individuals hope to have future access to data, they have lower rates of remembring of that data itself, as one research indicates.

In any case, even before the internet, entertainment products have filled in as externalized memories for themselves.

You don’t have to remember a quote from a book if you can simply look it up again in the book. When videotapes became popular, you could see a film or TV show as many times as you want. You don’t need to remember the whole story just to entertain yourself.

With the rise of consumable media, we are more binge-watching the whole seasons of our favorite shows in one night. But, do we remember even the storyline of anyone episode?

binge watch mindlessly consuming media affects our learning retention power
Binge Watching: Mindlessly Consuming v/s Engaging

Binge-watching enables us to mindlessly consume the content. Instead of mindfully enjoying it.

Nowadays, people are shoving more than they can hold in their minds. Horvath and his colleagues at the University of Melbourne explain in their research that, the people who binge-watch the shows were forgetting things more quickly than the people who were watching one episode per week.

How Binge-Watching Related to Learning?

And like media, people are binging on written words too. In 2009 an average person encountered 100,000 words per day. Even if they did not read them. Although it had declined in these 10 years but due to different reasons.

In “Binge Reading Disorder,” an article for The Morning News, Nikkitha Bakshani interprets these statistics. “Reading is a nuanced word,” she states, “however the most common sort of reading is likely reading as consumption: where we read, particularly online, simply to acquire information. Information that has no possibility of transforming into knowledge except if it ‘sticks.'”

Or then again, as Horvath puts it: “It’s the momentary laugh and after which you need another snicker. It’s not about really understanding anything. It’s like getting a temporary sense of feeling as if you’ve learned something.”

We are just following the trend of reading. Instead of learning, we just get a feel of learning. We think that the information has been transferred to our brain just because we skimmed the whole article word by word.

So How do we retain 90% of things that we have learned?

Take time to digest the information.

The one thing you can learn from Hovrath’s study is that if you want to retain the information about what you watch and read, you need to just space them out. You strengthen memory by revising the information several times.

SPACED READING, TO retain things you learn

On the other hand, if you read a book in one go, you will be holding that information in your working memory only. You will never be reaccessing it.

Most of the time when we read, there’s a sham “feeling of fluency.” The information is streaming in, we’re understanding it, it appears as though it is easily settling onto the racks of our brain. “Yet, it really doesn’t stick except if you put effort into it and focus and follow some specific strategies that will allow you to remember easily.”

Individuals may do that when they study or read something for work. However, it appears to be impossible that in their free time they’re going to take notes on Gilmore Girls to test themselves later.

“You could be seeing and hearing, however, you probably won’t notice and listen

If you’re reading for a test or striving to learn a complex theory/concept, try to come back to that same data again and again. Each time you return to the subject you are trying to learn, the more you strengthen the knowledge into your long term memory.

The Question Book Method

At the point when we read books, we are not deeply engaged with the material. Our eyes are skimming over the words, and we put the most effort into recognizing what is being said.

Tragically, practicing recognition is the only thing people do when they read a book. At the point when you’re reading a book, the greater part of your time is spent recognizing what is being said.

Very occasionally you need to explicitly reconsider an idea, impulsive. In case you’re reading an elegantly written book, you may never need to remember. As great writers know that recalling is troublesome. Thus, they will regularly repeat previously made points with the goal that you don’t get confused.

And after reading the book, you all of a sudden need this information in a recallable format. You want to have that information. Maybe for a discussion with a colleague, a question on a test, or during a decision you need to make.

You want to have the option to recall the data that you recently had just practiced to just recognize it.

Given this example, it’s no big surprise the vast majority fail to remember much from books they’ve read.

It’s outlandish to expect that we should remember each and every word and thought that the book involves. Our memories are flawed.

Still, a large number of us get baffled when found ourselves forgetting numerous parts and ideas of the book. Just after closing it.

Scott Young offers the arrangement: The Question Book Method


At whatever point you’re reading something that you need to recollect, take notes. But, don’t take notes which summarises the main points you need to review. Rather, take notes which pose questions

At that point, when you’re reading a book, rapidly go and test yourself on the questions you’ve written from before sections. Doing this will fortify your recallable memory so the data will be a lot easier to get to when you need it.

Rather than taking notes or rewriting the author’s words into your very own words, ask yourself questions that would assist you with practicing the recalling information.

Toward the finish of every section, you can ask yourself a question that would condense the fundamental thought or significant ideas that you need to remember.

However, Scott knows that a few people will try to test themselves very hard and attempt to question themselves on each and every bit of information in the book. This will make reading an errand and at last weaken the reader to continue using this technique.

He likewise adds some helpful tips to make this activity as practical as possible.

First —

don’t go over the edge. Trying to review each conceivable fact from a book will make the reading so dull that it may kill your passion for reading. One question for every section is more than enough for most books. For well-known books, twelve inquiries will most likely be sufficient to catch the big points and principle postulation.

Second —

put page numbers that reference the appropriate answer. If you do miss a point, you’ll need to have the option to check. Realizing that the response to a major point is on page 36 will spare your mental peace later.

As an exercise, why not begin by asking yourself a couple of questions several hours after you finish this article, for example,

What did I learn from this article?

In what way binge-watching influence my capacity to remember?

Why does the author think that the Internet has influenced our method of learning and retaining information?

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