When I was a student, I found it hard to study and learn new exam materials and remember for longer. Like most students, I simply read and makes notes. And only at the moment of the exam, I realize that I don’t remember everything.

Since that time, I read everything I could about memory improvement and how to study.

In this post, I will share with you a tested and proven method called “8-Step Method“. This method is described by Nina Sunday in her book “Brainpower smart study“.

Following this method, you will be amazed how easily you learn and achieve better results.

The screenshot below shows an overview o the “8-Step Method“:

That been said, let’s start with the first step.

Step 1 – Preview for the big picture

Previewing for the big picture aim to get a general idea of the content you are about to start reading. Another advantage of this preview is that will help you to understand better your material.

There are 2 main previewing techniques : Skimming and Macroreading.

  • Skimming: Skim reading means picking out key words as triggers for memory.
  • Macroreading: Macroreading is scanning the text with a relaxed eye focus with a speed as fast as a comfortable reading speed, to gain an overview. You can move your fingers as a visual aid in a zigzag or ‘s’

Step 2 – Notes outline using key headings

Once you finish the first step, take paper and divide it in 6 sections like shown below:

Then start adding headings in each section. The idea is to create the structure of your course or book.

If your course contains more than 6 chapters, take another page and repeat the same process.

You can do this on your laptop using tools like OneNote or Evernote, but I recommend using papers because the day of the examination you will go freehand.

Step 3 – Read for understanding

Now, you are ready to start reading and absorbing new information. Step 3 aims to really understand the content you are reading. But not only reading, you have also the tick or highlight every single key word you find important. You should take your time with this step.

Step 4 – Reread a little faster

In this step, you must read again the content you have read during the previous step but a little faster this time. Let’s say reading speed (x2).
This allows you to confirm the important ticketed or highlighted key words and identify missing information.

Step 5 – Postview

Alright, now you have to post view what you have just read and focus only ticketed or highlighted information. This is your final cram before start adding notes directly from your brain memory.

Step 6 -Start notes from memory

Now, close your book and take your note paper. In each section, start taking notes only from your memory. It is normal that you have some mental blanks and you don’t remember everything. Don’t worry, keep trying until you will be 100% that you have wrote everything related to the topic.

Your paper note should look like this:

Step 7 – Add notes using another colour

Once step 6 is complete, open again your book and check if you have added all the ticketed or highlighted keywords. If not, you must add them to your paper note using a different color.

Take Ten

If you have reached this step, you brain should be full of new information. What you need to do now is take a break of ten minutes. This short break will allow your brain to store new information.
It’s important to take short breaks between mental tasks. On average, your brain can stay focused only 50 minutes.

Step 8 – Retell / Conversation

The final step is conversation. It’s the moment of truth. You must summarize verbally what you have learned. You can talk your friend or even talk to yourself in front of a mirror.This is an easy way to self test your learning et find memory gaps before taking any examination.

I hope you find this post interesting and don’t hesitate to provide your remarks if you find this article interesting.