Our lives depend on memorization for different reasons and knowing how to effectively master and memorize things is important.
I know I have a few students that clicked on this article because they want to figure out how they can use memorization in their own work.
So let me get down to the reason why I’m writing this article. Well, the purpose of this article is to answer a question I recently got about how many times you have to read a book to memorise it.
For me it was quite fascinating question so i thought writing out a full article covering it would be an interesting little project.
I know you want to get to the meat of this article so let’s get down to it.
How many times should I read a book to memorize it?
You need to read a book 6 to 9 times and not less than 3 times in order to memorize it. Our brains recall things in three’s because if something happens once we over look it, if it happens twice we call it a coincidence, when it happens three times we recognise it as a pattern and stays with us.
Factors to consider
Below are some things to take into consideration when looking to memorize reading material.
The density of the material
First things first, before you even start thinking of memorising anything, you need to first figure out what you’re up against. Some stuff is generally hard to read and internalise and this is why you have to know what you’re reading.
It’s wise to take time to properly research the material. Things are much easier in today’s world because you can literally search anything on Google and you’ll find out all you need to know about anything.
Once you research and figure out what kind of book you’re reading. You can then decide just how much attention it needs.
Books that are harder to read demand more time not only to memorize but to understand. In this case you’d need to read the book over 7 times just to see its skeleton and build off it as you gather more and more information through reading.
The skeleton of a book are essentially the bones from which information sprouts. These can sometimes be termed as the foundations. They are quite easy to spot because you can simply read through the table of contents and know what to look out for when reading.
As you read, you’ll have more information about each item on the table of contents which will give you the conviction you need to categorise each item as a foundation based on what you’ve read about the item which is a topic in this case.
Simpler books are easier to digest and won’t usually demand a lot of effort on your part. But still, memorization takes some work but at least in this case it won’t be as difficult as it would be when dealing with a heavily dense boom.
The mode of memorization
The way you intend to memorize is also another factor you need to consider before you determine how many times you’ll read and re-read a book.
If you intend to memorise word for word, you’ll find it challenging because you’ll need a lot more focus and a powerful memory.
Therefore, you’ll likely need to read more than 9 times just to internalise each and every word.
If you don’t have to memorize everything word for word then you can treat memorization like cramming which is essentially memorising concepts and take the extra effort to understand them.
Your memory above all else is your only ally when it comes to memorization.
You should be in a position to know how good your memory is and how well you’re able to remember things.
Most people easily forget things while others can easily recall things.
If you’re a person that easily forgets things then you might need to read a book more than 9 times to keep it internalised. If you can easily remember things however, you can get away with reading a book 6 times.
You need to also understand the easiest way for you to memorize things. So try and use visual aids and try listening to the audiobook version. Then assess which mode of memorization makes it the easiest for you to recall things.
Once you know the mode of memorization that works the best for you. All you have to do now is just drop all other methods of memorization and stick to the one that works the best for you.
How to effectively memorize
Below are a few tips that you can use to improve and quickly make memorization of a book much easier.
I have more detailed article here about memorization that you can check after checking out the tips below.
Read to understand
In memorising a lot of information, your primary goal should be getting a certain level of understanding of the material you’re reading.
What this means is that put in the extra effort to actually grasp the underlying logic and concepts in the book.
It is much easier to put the words together when you actually know the concepts you’re talking about.
Memorization becomes ineffective when the only goal in mind is simply jamming a bunch of information in your brain. So take the time to both memorize and understand the important parts of the information you have at hand.
Write and repeat
When testing your memory, use writing as a tool to recall things.
Put the book away, get a piece of paper and write as much as you can remember.
Writing works in two ways, it firstly forces you to think harder and extract as much as possible from your memory. Secondly, it acts as a method of internalising what you have read.
Your brain uses everything at its disposal to recall events. In this case, it won’t just draw from the actual event of you reading the book, it will also use the writing as a bookmark from which you can recall things at a later time.
Writing is powerful, so is speaking.
Speaking involves the use of different body parts this is why we find it easy to recall what we talk about.
This is why it’s good to read and recite aloud. Walk around the room verbalising what you’ve read and it will stick with you for sometime.
Re-reading will cement it in your mind even more.
It’s always a good idea to verbalise in an environment that you can be completely free in. If you have a home office, use that. If you have a basement, use that.
Master the foundation
Perhaps the most important part of all this is to know and learn the foundation of the book you’re reading.
Understand the authors thought process and how they stack information on top of each other.
Think of a book as a building.
The foundation is the base knowledge, the bricks laid on top of the foundation is knowledge built off the foundation.
The foundation gives meaning to all other knowledge that comes after it.