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In the college, I faced the problem of not grasping my study-materials fast. It used to take intense study and brainstorming to understand a material which seemed to be a piece of cake for others.

Moreover, my classmates could understand the core idea by reading, say, only one book. On the other hand, it generally required two or more books for me to clear my concept. Also, some of my classmates had tremendous memorizing power. But, generally I had to rely on my understanding on the materials.

My concentration was loose. It used to have headache when I try to concentrate very intensely.

In this connection I would like to add that, my high school years were troublesome. I had troubles with my parents and with the supply of money from my father. My high school grades became mediocre and that made my heart broken. I was not emotionally sound when I entered the college.

Now a days I just can not understand why my academic result is not so good-looking.

Was I really that much talented as I considered myself? Or, did I just fail to cope with my situation? Who is liable for my situation? Me or my family?

If I really am not that much talented, what can I do now to improve my ability to learn?

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Are you doing you graduation? You had mentioned in another thread about your job training program. It does not invalidate your current question, but it will be better to know if you are studying or if you are working. – eminemence Apr 25 '12 at 7:25
If your emotional distress was really bad it's worth noting that severe stress has been shown to have an impact on your ability to focus and remember – Alpar Sep 12 '14 at 16:11
There is a great course that just started on Coursera on this very topic: – Julien Poulin Jan 5 '15 at 19:42

I don't like the idea of intrinsic talent. In the vast majority of cases I don't think such a thing exists. There appears to be a common belief that certain individuals are somehow automatically bestowed with great knowledge or skills, and it is rubbish. Einstein wasn't born with knowledge of physics in his head. He had to work hard to learn and understand it. If you're not doing as well as your peers, it isn't because they're more talented than you; it is because they're working harder than you. This leads to another common fallacy: that working hard is the same as working long. The number of hours you put in is not a good measure of how hard you're working – even if you're exhausted at the end of the day. Malcolm Gladwell goes into some interesting detail about these ideas in Outliers: The Story Of Success

Working hard at the same time as working quickly is where efficiency comes in and efficiency in learning is a very well researched topic that has been discussed on here many times. The solution is called spaced repetition. The premise here is that you should revise your material at the point just before you are about to forget it and there are well established 'forgetting curves' that you can apply. If you are revising long before the forgetting point, you are going over material that you already know well, and if you revise after you have forgotten you need to re-learn everything again.

There are many software solutions that will manage when you should be revising your material. The typical methodology is that you format your notes into short question / answer nuggets and input these into the system. The software will then ask you a question and it is up to you to recall the answer. The software then shows you the answer and based on how well you recalled it will schedule that question for a future time. Personally I use Project Memoryze as it is web based and supports latex, but the real leader in spaced repetition research is Super Memo There are a number of interesting articles on there about learning techniques, and they make software to manage your spaced repetition as well – although it isn't free.

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Effort is more important than aptitude, but there are a great many other real and valid reasons why someone may be having more trouble than their peers. Headaches can be a sign of eye strain; when was the last time they had their vision checked? How is their health in general? Have they ever been evaluated for learning disabilities, such as dyslexia and dyscalculia? If there is an underlying problem, charging ahead without taking it into account is just throwing good effort after bad. – Belisama Apr 25 '12 at 11:20
That is like people who are overweight who think they have a glandular problem. There are certainly people who have underlying medical issues that may impair performance, but that is not the norm and you shouldn't allow yourself to use that as a crutch. If you think there is something wrong, go get checked out; meanwhile you may also like to put in a bit more effort. – Brian Apr 25 '12 at 11:28
I have dyslexia and dyscalculia. I'm a good reader and writer and didn't even know I had it until I was tested. My parents have both (it's genetic) and they graduated from Harvard. Everyone has weaknesses, but in the long run, slogging through in spite of it will overcome it. We were born with two legs, which gives us a balance disadvantage, but we learned to walk and ride bicycles through repetition. – Muz Jun 10 '13 at 8:10

I think the answer from Brian almost says it all. The only thing I would like to add is that understanding a concept comes from working with it. Do not just read something, try to actively work with it, do some excercises if possible. This will help you remember the stuff you've read more easily and at the same time improve your understanding.

One thing that may help you do this is to create a mind-map for things you've read. Mind-mapping is a good tool for learning something and it will let you see connections between concepts more easily.

For more information on mind-mapping see these posts:

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Excellent links. Thanks! – Gaʀʀʏ Jun 18 '12 at 15:04

Dear I was the same type as you, so don't worry. It is not about others who are more talented or intelligent than you or if they have access to more facilities. We all are born with a fair amount of talent. The only difference is they are utilizing their talent in the right way. I am not saying you are not doing that or that you are not a hard worker. I am saying you should analyze your problem and find out the reason why you are not able to understand things quickly. You will know what your problem is better than other people. Find the answers to these questions like... why do I need to learn?

Does it really help you by thinking about others, how they grasp things quickly? I don't think so. You should not think about other people's success. Just concentrate on your own track and always look forward. Don't look back and don't check how many miles you have completed rather than trying to find how may miles you still need to go and plan for it, otherwise you will fall down.

If you need many books to achieve your goal or to remember something then that is no problem. You are on your way to achieving your goal. Your destination is only yours. Why are you thinking about others? If you can achieve your goal by working hard, then just enjoy it.

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It takes me a while to get somethings that others get quickly. So I just give myself more credit for persistence. You will just need to do that and take the time to learn and put in whatever effort is required, especially when you are still learning so much.

Also remember, nearly everyone thinks they are a better than average driver, but 50% of people are worse than the average (by its definition!). But that's OK.

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