If you're having a hard time with retaining what you have read, this may help. You really don't have to be hard on yourself if you find it difficult to retain what you have read/studied. Our assimilation method and levels differ. Some people pick up something immediately, others may need to go over it as many times as possible before it sticks. Understanding yourself is one key that helps your learning process. In my first year in the University, I will just read through everything that has been taught but when I got to examination hall I realized I had forgotten some important things...meaning I didn't retain a lot of the things I read Fast forward to my second year I decided to change my reading method because I must have over assumed my abilities. I wasn't 'as good ' as I thought I was.. So I went back to the basis. I designed a new method that I felt will work for me. I created a new reading pattern, a bit more intense than what I was doing. I started giving myself tests because I needed to be sure I could remember. There was this time I will go for choir rehearsals and while waiting for others I will start sketching Biochemical pathways. I had another big problem. I couldn't read in a noisy environment. I devised a method. Playing slow music and listen with an earpiece. It worked. I was able to separate myself from my environment. Every weekend I was free I will spend it in reading room from morning till evening. Packed my snack,water and books. Then I started studying my courses deeply from other people's perspectives, it helped me understand better and then retain because I could paint the pictures better in my head.