Please Try again!
Study Hack: Master The Art of Learning With The Feynman Technique

Study Hack: Master The Art of Learning With The Feynman Technique

Richard Feynman, one of the most famous physicist and a fast learner, employed a peculiar and very effective method for learning. In his biography, the author James Gleick mentions this learning technique, which in now know as the Feynman Technique. He explains how Feynman mastered his exams during his Princeton years:

" He opened a fresh notebook. On the title page he wrote: NOTEBOOK OF THINGS I DON'T KNOW ABOUT. For the first but not last time he reorganized his knowledge. He worked for weeks at disassembling each branch of physics, oiling the parts, and putting them back together, looking all the while for the raw edges and inconsistencies. He tried to find the essential kernels of each subject. "

According to blogger and computer scientist Cal Newport, the technique is to "translate your growing knowledge of something hard into a concrete form and you're more likely to keep investing the mental energy needed to keep learning."

How to employ the Feynman Technique

To get started with the Feynman Technique all you need is a fresh notebook and reference or study materials for the particular subject. It is highly recommended to dedicate a separate notebook for the specific skill or subject you want to learn.

Once you had the notebook and the study material, move to a distraction free environment and follow these four simple steps.:

1. Choose your concept

Write the concept you want to learn in the top of a fresh page. The concept can be anything of your choice, from the solar system to the First World War. It will be beneficial to write down what you already know about the topic and things you don't as you begin learning.

2. Pretend to teach the concept to a student

Explain the topic on the paper as if you are teaching it to someone. To simplify ,explain it as if you are teaching the concept to a five year old. Thus you will get a better understanding on the parts you actually understood and wherever you might have some gaps in your learning.

3. Go back to books when you get stuck

If you ever find yourself stuck, not being able to recall or properly explain a certain part, then go back to the abook or the source material. Learn it again till you can explain it better on the paper.

4. Simplify and use analogies

Use analogies to link the concept you are learning with something you already know. Connecting new piece of information to existing ones in your mind has a lot of advantages. It will help you comprehend a concept better, as well AIDS better memorization.

To see the Feynman Technique in action, check out this short video by blogger and writer Scott Young, who used the Feynman Technique to go through the entire MIT computer science curriculum in only one year.

(Image Credits: Flickr)

Contribute to LifeHacker

Write for Us

Subscribe for latest stories