How To Learn Faster with Better Retention

How To Learn Faster with Better Retention

Our society is moving faster than ever and it’s being predicted that a person must read at least four hours per day just to keep up. That means the ability to learn faster is in high demand.

One of my favorite people to learn from is the brain coach Jim Kwik. He’s helped millions of people in many aspects of self-improvement including learning faster with better retention. I’m going to share some valuable tips in this post that accelerate your ability to learn faster and better, most of them come from Jim Kwik and others.

While I can’t provide verbatim proprietary information, I can certainly share some commonly known strategies that are often associated with speed reading and that are similar to the types of techniques that experts like Jim Kwik uses.

One of the methods he advocates and generously shares is the “FASTER” method, which is a mnemonic that stands for:

  1. F – Forget: This step involves setting aside previous knowledge or preconceptions about what you’re learning to approach it with a fresh perspective. It also implies forgetting about distractions and focusing solely on the material at hand.
  2. A – Act: Active learning is key to retention. This means engaging with the material, asking questions, and participating actively rather than passively reading or listening.
  3. S – State: All learning is state dependent. This is probably the most important of these fast learning methods. Your mental state has a significant impact on your ability to learn. Positive emotions, attentiveness, focus, and a relaxed state of mind can enhance your learning capabilities. It’s important to manage your state to be receptive to new information. Since learning is state dependent, you should be in an active mind state when you are learning. The best brainwave state for learning is to get into Theta learning state. Be playful in your mind like in school. Many of us were very bored in school but there was probably a class or two you enjoyed. Reflect back and reframe your learning into this playful and fun mental and physiological state. Information combined with emotion becomes a long-term memory.
  4. T – Teach: If you want to learn something effectively, learn it as if you are going to teach it to someone else. This approach forces you to understand the material deeply and to organize your knowledge in a way that can be communicated clearly.
  5. E – Enter: Kwik suggests using a calendar to schedule time for learning. “Enter” refers to entering the time and date into your schedule when you plan to learn something, making a commitment to your learning process.
  6. R – Review: Finally, reviewing the material ensures that you reinforce what you’ve learned and commit it to long-term memory. This step can involve various techniques such as spaced repetition, where you review the information at increasing intervals over time.

By following the FASTER method, learners can optimize their study habits and improve their ability to learn and remember new information. Jim Kwik’s techniques are designed to harness the brain’s innate capabilities and make learning more efficient and enjoyable.

To Learn Faster You Must Read Faster

If you read one word at a time you’re starving your super computer (brain) from the stimulus it needs to maintain attention, so it seeks the entertainment it needs elsewhere from distraction.

We’re taught to read one word at a time which creates sub-vocalization. That is reading word for word inside your mind. It’s the voice inside your mind you experience when you read. It’s an obstacle to reading comprehension and speed because if you have to say all the words you can only read as fast as you can talk. Reading speed is limited to talking speed if you keep using sub-vocalization. Talking speed is slower than reading speed. The fastest readers don’t sub-vocalize. Using sight words slow reading.

Jim Kwik is a well-known brain coach who has developed various techniques for improving memory, focus, and reading speed. While I can’t provide verbatim proprietary information, I can certainly share some commonly known strategies that are often associated with speed reading and that are similar to the types of techniques that experts like Jim Kwik might teach:

  1. Previewing: Before you start reading, take a moment to skim through the text. Look at headings, subheadings, bullet points, and any bold or italicized words to get a sense of the structure and main ideas of the text.
  2. Minimizing Subvocalization: This refers to the inner voice that many people hear when reading to themselves. While it can aid in comprehension, it also slows down reading speed. Techniques to reduce subvocalization include focusing on visualizing the concepts or consciously trying to silence the inner voice.
  3. Visual Pacing: Using a visual guide, such as a finger, a pen, or a pointer, can help your eyes move more smoothly across the page and can prevent them from wandering or regressing to previous lines.
  4. Expanding Peripheral Vision: Training your peripheral vision to capture more words in a single glance can increase reading speed. This can be done through exercises that encourage you to focus on the center of a page while trying to perceive words at the edges.
  5. Chunking: This involves grouping words together instead of reading them one by one. By taking in multiple words or even full phrases at a glance, you can increase your reading speed significantly.
  6. Practice: Like any skill, speed reading requires practice. Regularly challenging yourself to read faster while maintaining comprehension can help you develop faster reading over time.
  7. Optimizing Environment: Ensuring that you have good lighting, a quiet space, and minimal distractions can help enhance your reading speed and focus.
  8. Setting Purpose and Goals: Understanding why you are reading something and what you need to get out of it can help you read more strategically and efficiently.
  9. Improving Vocabulary: A strong vocabulary can speed up reading because you’ll spend less time pondering the meaning of words.
  10. Regulating Reading Speed: Not all material should be read at the same speed. Learning to adjust your reading pace based on the difficulty and type of text (e.g., complex material versus simple, familiar topics) is important for overall efficiency.

These techniques can be practiced and learned within 30 days if you stay with it and can change your life dramatically. The average person has to read 4 hours per day just to stay current.

Jim Kwik gave a presentation at Microsoft and afterwards he asked Bill Gates, "if you can have any superpower, what would it be?" He said, "the ability to read faster."

Here are several additional methods and techniques that can help with quick learning and better retention:

Spaced Repetition:

  • Use tools like flashcards and spaced repetition software (such as Anki or Quizlet) to review information over increasing intervals of time to enhance long-term memory retention.

The Pomodoro Technique:

  • Break your study sessions into short, focused intervals (traditionally 25 minutes), followed by a short break (5 minutes). This can help maintain high levels of concentration and prevent burnout.


  • Use mnemonic devices like acronyms, visual imagery, rhymes, or the method of loci (memory palace) to encode and recall information more easily.

Active Recall:

  • Instead of passively reading or re-reading material, actively test yourself on the information to reinforce learning and identify areas that need more attention.

Interleaved Practice:

  • Mix different topics or types of problems during a study session. This contrasts with blocked practice (focusing on one thing at a time) and can improve problem-solving skills and understanding.

Elaborative Interrogation:

  • Ask yourself “why” questions about the material to deepen your understanding and make connections to what you already know.


  • Explain the material in your own words, as if teaching someone else. This can help clarify your understanding and reveal any gaps in your knowledge.

Dual Coding:

  • Combine verbal information with visual aids (like diagrams, charts, or concept maps) to create multiple pathways for retrieving the information later.


  • Reflect on your own learning process and strategies. Assess what’s working and what’s not, and adjust your approach accordingly.

Use these additional ideas to help you learn faster and remember more of what you learn:

  1. Chunking:
    • Break down complex information into smaller, more manageable “chunks” to make it easier to process and remember. Mind mapping is popular because of the chunking layout.
  2. Feynman Technique:
    • Simplify the concept you’re trying to learn to the point where you could explain it to a child. This ensures you understand it fully and can recall it more easily. Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
  3. Exercise:
    • Regular physical exercise can improve cognitive function and memory. Join a gym because it’s hard to own all the multiple pieces of equipment you need to get a full body workout at home. If you don’t want to engage in full body workouts similar to what a bodybuilder does, then even short bouts of exercise before study sessions can have a positive effect on learning.
  4. Healthy Lifestyle:
    • Simply put this means good diet, lots of exercise, plenty of rest, time off and vacation time, quality time spent with family to help you recharge and feel love in your heart. A good spiritual life is important for most people so find time for the right kind of spirituality that fits your life.
Date and Time Display

Created by Martin Hamilton