How to Improve Reading Retention

by thememorypage

3.1 • Reading Retention

I’m not an expert on reading retention, but because this topic relates to memory, I thought I’d give some suggestions based on my own personal experience:

Take notes while you are reading.

It may seem odd, but just as you learn more from a lecture when you write down what is being said, you can similarly write down the most important points from what you may be reading. This forces you to think about the material a lot more, thus increasing the likleyhood of your remembering it. Additionally, you can always go back over your notes for a quick review, and you will probably remember other details that you didn’t write down as well.

After reading a chapter, stop and take a minute or so to summarize to yourself what you just read.

If you can’t remember the main points, you can go back and skim the material again to refresh your memory. (Some people may think that it’s wrong to go back over material you’ve already read … but that is just intimidating peer pressure, in my opinion. If it works for you to go back and look at what you’ve read, good for you!)

Force yourself to apply what you have read.

If you have just read how to build a paper airplane… then build one! In the process of doing, you will remember far more. If you have just read about how to do a new type of integral (calculus), work on some practice problems. If you have just read about a famous American Civil War battle, look at a map to find the place(s) where the battle took place.

Over learn.

In other words, read more than you are required to or desire to. Read material that is more advanced than the other material. In the process of trying to understand the new material, you will understand the older material better. Later on you may forget the new material, but the older material will stay because you applied it.

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