How do you retain more information while reading a book?
To retain more information from reading can be a challenge to students and probably to all of us. The most important thing to being a student is the fact that you’re building yourself with pieces of wisdom that you can use in real life. Thus, schools train students to read more books and learn as much as they can.
In real life, reading is even more important. While in school, your primary reason why you read books is to pass your subject. But in real life, you are making the best of it.
Books are definitely a great help for our success. Successful people in all areas of life know this reality. The more you read, the more you become knowledgeable, and the more you become successful.
But how many books you need to read? Or, how often should you read books? Do you have any idea?
Well, the best answer to this question is not about the number and frequency, it’s the amount of information you’ve absorbed from what you read. It’s about how you retain more information while reading.
Thus, the advice that you should read more books does not really tell the whole story. Because at the end of the day, it is not how many books you read, it’s about how you can retain more information while reading.
Unfortunately, most students (people) don’t have a reading strategy. They just pick their notes or books and read. But that’s not a good practice. It’s fun but not efficient.
Most people fail to realize the reason why they read a book in the first place. Yes, the point here is to learn significant information that can make their lives grow. And for the students? To pass the examination.
In both cases, reading serves a single purpose – learning. But the biggest obstacle to all the learners is to retain those pieces of information from what they read. If you struggle the same, I’ll give you my tips on how to study and read books more efficiently.
To retain more information while reading, you need to…
1. Figure out your purpose.
To retain more information while reading/studying, you need to have a purpose. Before you open a book or a note, just ask yourself why you want to read it. What is your purpose? Your reason should align with your goal.
Reading a book without a clear purpose is useless reading. You’re like digging gold without hoarding it. In that way, you’re wasting your time and energy.
Many students are just like that. They read and read without any intention to learn. So when the exams come, they struggle. They failed to understand that learning is more important than reading. It does not matter how many books you read. The real question is how much you learn from what you read.
Learning must be your reason why you read. And connect it with your current life circumstance. Are you a startup entrepreneur who want to become smarter in running a business? Do you want to escape from the pain of your previous breakup? Are you a college fresh graduate who is looking for a job opportunity?
The good news is, books will give you the answer to virtually all of your questions. There’s a book for every problem.
2. Be a teacher.
Knowledge is light. But having a light is not enough. You need to use it. And the best way to use it is by sharing it. Sharing knowledge is what makes it worthy. Imagine if Albert Einstien did not share his discovery of relativity? The world might not know that time and space govern our lives.
The most rewarding way of sharing your knowledge is by teaching others. Picture yourself as a teacher. Read books and share what you learned with your neighbors, officemates, and significant others.
Sharing is what makes my life (as a teacher) more meaningful. The best thing about being a teacher is that I study things that later on will become assets for my students. Teachers ease students’ hunger and thirst with wisdom. And the best thing of all, students will treasure it forever (well, some of them).
You don’t have to get a college degree to be a teacher. You can be an educator in your own way.
3. Highlight important points.
When I was a student, I hate highlighting my notes or books. To me, it made my materials ugly and disorganized. But when I was about to take my board exam, I realized that making some highlights is practical and useful.
Highlighting important points can make it easier for you to find significant information. Seeing the mark that you previously made helps your brain build a better neural connection for that information.
Neuroscience found that every skill you learn creates a new connection between neurons that will hold that information. The better the connection, the better the learning.
Making marks on your notes or books will help you easily remember or find the important information. So next time you’ll not be wasting your time finding the significant information you need.
After reading a book put it back on its shelf for days or weeks. Then read it again. If you remember why you highlight some part of it (the information that is associated with it), that means that you get it. You’ve learned new knowledge or skill.
4. Your imagination can help you a lot.
To retain more information while reading, visualization can help you a lot. Our mind love visuals. Our brain stores more visual information than other stimuli.
So when you read a book, try to make a visual representation of it. Transform that information into pictures. This will make the learning process easier. Why? Because our brain loves association. It associates information with the things that correspond to that information.
I’ll give you an example. Suppose that you go to your room to get something (probably a pen), but when you got there you totally forget your purpose. Instead of spending your time scratching your head trying to remember it, just go back from where you came from (probably in the dining room) and you’ll remember it. Why? Because you see things that are associated with the pen which you previously saw while thinking a pen.
That’s how our brain works. It is called association.
5. Apply what you have learned.
I heard somebody said that “Learning is not a spectator’s game.” And that is true. Because you can not truly learn if you do nothing about it. In other words, the profound meaning of learning lies in its application.
And the best thing about the application of knowledge is that it can improve you as a person. Businessmen will earn more money. Students will succeed in their academic endeavors. Those who failed from their previous relationship find happiness.
It is my best hope that this system helps you retain more information while reading. My last reminder will be: don’t read more books. Learn more. Understanding what you read is the true essence of learning.
So what part of this article remains in your memory after reading? And more importantly, how are going to remember most of this article? Leave your thoughts below.
If you find this useful, don’t forget to share.
I’m a licensed psychometrician, author, and blogger. I’m currently working as a University instructor teaching psychology. I love writing and doing psychological research.