While I was an undergraduate, I listened to a doctor who gave a seminar. He said that “science had proven that even the dullest person can understand and retain anything he learns in long term memory if he studies it up to 7 times“.
For some people with magnetic brains like Bill Gates and some former classmates that you know, they need only do it once. Those that only need to attend the lecture once and they will get A, while you will do all night jacking and only D will come out. For some others, twice, thrice etc but seven is the max. He pointed out that the key to learning and retaining is REPETITION.
A light bulb came up in my head. At that time my grades were not so good and I was wondering what was happening to me. Me that in Primary school I only came 2nd once. In secondary school I was always among the top. So I went back to school in final year and I’d take a new textbook and start reading.The first time nothing made sense at all. This is where some people give up but it is perfectly normal. The second time around the material begins to make sense a little but still hazy.
The third time around my eyes open and I see the light. If it’s a very difficult material maybe I go a fourth round.
If it’s a concept in an subject area I’m already familiar with, once or twice is ok. I had to understand myself and how my brain works. So if I need to study a textbook 3 times to assimilate and retain then I realized that while my friends are flexing I cannot be flexing with them. They might need to study only once. Me I need 3 times the time.
I started this in final year and my final year results were the best I ever had. Though it was too late to correct the low CGPA. Over time I’m able to learn things faster because my brain has built enough connections. Artificial intelligence works in a similar way too.
If you want to learn something new just immerse yourself in it. Watch videos about it. Hangout with people that discuss it regularly. Initially it won’t make sense but if you keep doing it the light bulb will come up.