Smart, strategically-spaced memorization sessions ensure that what you learn really sticks. 9

from book

In 2016, Nigel Richards won the World French Scrabble Championships, despite not speaking French. There are 386,000 French words approved for Scrabble, and Richards committed them to memory. That’s extreme ultralearning! Your ultralearning project might not require so much memorization, but you’ll probably need to memorize some facts, formulas or procedures.  So, how do you learn things so that they ‘stick’?  The most productive strategy you can employ is to settle on a memorization system and incorporate it at regular, closely-spaced stages throughout your project. The key is to use a memorization system that’s both easy to integrate into your project and well-suited to the type of project you’ve decided to tackle. It can be tempting to commit things to memory in one burst. If you do this, you may see short-term results. For long-term retention, though, it’s best to avoid cramming. Make sure you space out your memorization sessions. But don’t space them too far apart – if you leave it too long between memory-building sessions, you’ll start to see diminishing returns. Ideally, make time for memorization a few days per week. If you’re memorizing facts or simple concepts, deploy a Spaced Repetition System (SRS). Try flashcards, which test your knowledge of discrete chunks of information in a randomized way. Alternatively, use SRS software where ‘randomization’ is optimized by an algorithm. For more complex concepts, spaced repetition can be equally effective. Here, your focus should be on regularly repeating key processes rather than recalling information. To do this, switch out the flash cards for a refresher project: test your retention by regularly putting your skills into practice. You could even try overlearning: pushing yourself beyond your skill level. Let’s say you want to nail the basics of algebra. Pushing yourself to learn some intermediate formulas could actually help you retain beginner-level formulas more effectively. A 1991 study from Ohio Wesleyan University demonstrates that extending your learning into a higher skill set not only challenges your abilities, it also improves your retention of lower-level skills. For more procedural projects, the most effective retention method is to simply remember by doing – repeat a procedure enough times and your body will start to automate it.  Now that you’ve learned the key principles of successful ultralearning, it’s time to level up! Start by following your intuition.