For me school has always come a bit easy, I think in part that is because of the way that I learn and how I make connections in my brain.
What I find helpful when studying or listening to a lecture is to take the information out of a box and try and connect it to things that I already know. I don’t spend time trying to memorize names and dates but rather I focus on the big ideas and what the implications of those ideas are.
Many people try and use rote memorization when learning a new concept but this has never worked for me. By linking ideas together you are able to create a web of knowledge. This means even if you forget one part of the web you are able to figure out the gaps based on what else you know.
Here are some more specific things that help me learn a new concept
1. Metaphors and Analogy
If you create your own metaphors for concepts that you need to know then I find it easier to remember.
2. The 5-Year Old Method
Try explaining the conept as though you were talking to a five year old. By breaking it down to this simplistic level it will help you to remember the core concepts of the idea. You can build on that core concept later.
This works really well if you are a visual learner. I find it helpful to draw out diagrams and mind maps to show how things are connected.
4. Teach Someone Else
By teaching someone else you are helping both them and yourself. Talking about the concept out loud can help you work out any difficulties that you are having with it, as well the person you are teaching may ask some questions that will help you remember it better.