Quick Tips and Facts for Learning Anything


Each night, when I go to sleep, I die. And the next morning, when I wake up, I am reborn.
― Mahatma Gandhi

Let’s start with the importance of sleep: your brain reshapes itself whilst you sleep based on your behaviours, actions, and activities you have participated during that day. Your brain even when mature, and as you continue to age, is always changing. Synapses in your brain will grow, change, or disappear depending on your habits, whether you learn new information, have new experiences, or stop certain habits or stop using certain skills and knowledge.

Fun Facts:

  • The brain requires 10 times more energy that its own weight of three pounds.
  • A person’s hopes, dreams, thoughts are contained in neurons in the brain.
  • To give you an idea of the size of the synapse in a person’s brain: a single hair measures 20 microns in diameter, whilst a synapse is less than a micron.

When learning new information the brain interchanges between two different types of learning: focused mode, and diffuse mode. Focused mode is used for information that you already know how to do and diffuse mode is used for creative thinking so you can find solutions to problems and link ideas and information together that might not obviously seem connected.

Einstellung means mindset in German, when you’re thinking gets stuck in focused mode, meaning you are stuck on knowledge you already know and in automated thinking and behaviours; you are not advancing your knowledge or skills and where your own knowledge/skill set works against you in creating a new or better way of doing something. Interleaving practice uses diffuse mode thinking which creatively seeks solutions from different subjects and disciplines.

Helpful Tips:

  • A useful learning tool for remembering equations or new information is to learn through metaphors.
  • When learning seems challenging, to remind yourself that everyone experiences this at some point and that learning takes time and needs patience.

When revising for exams, remember that overlearning the same information you are already familiar with can create the illusion of competence. Effective learning requires deliberate practice of information and skills you are finding challenging and need to improve your performance on.

Let the improvement of yourself keep you so busy that you have no time to criticize others.
― Roy T. Bennett

Quick Learning Tips:

  • Like Einstein said: if you can’t explain an idea in its simplest form to a six year old, you do not know it well enough.

Any fool can know. The point is to understand.
― Albert Einstein

  • A counterintuitive idea for today’s technology age but try to write out notes and knowledge by hand to create muscle memory.

I don’t love studying. I hate studying. I like learning. Learning is beautiful.

– Natalie Portman.

Happy learning!


A Mind for Numbers – Barbara Oakley



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