(If you’re wondering where the water is going, there’s a bucket below the glass.) 🙂
After watching the above demonstration, you might be wondering: Why do we forget? Is it worth learning anything if we are going to forget most of it?
We remember what our brain determines is relevant to us. Relevance, in turn, depends on two criteria: necessity and recency. Necessary information, like our birthday, we are not going to forgot. But, the vast majority of information that we learn is going to be judged by our brains to be non-essential, and, thus, overtime we will lose that knowledge. The more important for our everyday lives, the more and longer we will retain the information. Similarly, our brains put a premium on recent knowledge. By virtue of encountering an experience or information a longer time ago, our brains determine that experience or information to be less relevant to our current life and thus able to be forgotten.
So, is there a reason to learn if we are going to forget most things? Absolutely. The brain is a muscle. The more we work it, the stronger it becomes. Thus, the more we learn, memorize, and use accumulated knowledge, the better we get at doing all three of the latter. We will learn and memorize new topics more quickly and remember them for a longer period of time. And we will get better at applying that knowledge to our everyday life and integrating it with our existing knowledge to experiment, innovate, and create. Additionally, we cannot know what will be necessary knowledge for us until we have learned it. If we end up forgetting some knowledge, that is ok. But, the knowledge we do retain and the thinking skills we gained will help us for the rest of our lives.
Our brains are efficient machines. To succeed at anything, such as the SAT and ACT, we need to learn how to operate those machines to achieve optimal results. By consistently practicing on their own and learning from and reviewing with their tutor, students can retain the necessary knowledge and skills to achieve their potential on the SAT and ACT.