— C.S. Lewis, The Weight of The Glory
How to Study by MIT Graduate
Scott Young recently finished an astounding feat: he completed all 33 courses in MIT’s fabled computer science curriculum, from Linear Algebra to Theory of Computation, in less than one year. More importantly, he did it all on his own, watching the lectures online and evaluating himself using the actual exams. Check out the link for more in depth info.
The first step in learning anything deeply, is to get a general sense of what you need to learn.For a class, this means watching lectures or reading textbooks. For self-learning it might mean reading several books on the topic and doing research.
Take sparse notes while reading, or do a one-paragraph summary after you read each major section.
Practice problems should be used to highlight areas you need to develop a better intuition for.
Non-technical subjects, ones where you mostly need to understand concepts, not solve problems, can often get away with minimal practice problem work. In these subjects, you’re better off spending more time on the third phase, developing insight.
THE FEYNMAN TECHNIQUE
The technique is simple:
a)Get a piece of paper
b) Write at the top the idea or process you want to understand
c)Explain the idea, as if you were teaching it to someone else
What’s crucial is that the third step will likely repeat some areas of the idea you already understand. However, eventually you’ll reach a stopping point where you can’t explain. That’s the precise gap in your understanding that you need to fill.
Formulas should be understood, not just memorized. So when you see a formula, but can’t understand how it works, try walking through each part with a Feynman.
Most intuitions about an idea break down into one of the following types:
a)Analogies – You understand an idea by correctly recognizing an important similarity between it and an easier-to-understand idea.
b)Visualizations – Abstract ideas often become useful intuitions when we can form a mental picture of them. Even if the picture is just an incomplete representation of a larger, and more varied, idea.
c) Simplifications – A famous scientist once said that if you couldn’t explain something to your grandmother, you don’t fully understand it. Simplification is the art of strengthening those connections between basic components and complex ideas.
1. If you fall asleep now, you will dream. If you study now, you will live your dream.
2. When you think it’s too late, the truth is, it’s still early.
3. The pain of studying is only temporary. But the pain of not knowing—ignorance—is forever.
4. Studying is not about time. It’s about effort.
5. Life is not all about studying. But if you can’t even conquer this little part of life, then what else can you possibly do?
6. Enjoy the inexorable pain.
7. It’s those who are earlier than the others, those who put in more effort, who can enjoy the feelings of success.
8. Not everyone can truely succeed in everything. But success only comes with self-management and determination.
9. Time is flying.
10. The saliva that flow now will become the tears of tomorrow.
11. Dogs are learning, ambassadors are playing.
12. If you don’t walk today, you’ll have to run tomorrow.
13. People who invest in the future are realists.
14. The level of education is in direct correlation with your salary.
15. When today is over, it will never come back.
- Find a quiet place to study and make sure you are sitting comfortably
- Make sure your desk is well lit
- Keep background noise to a minimum
- Avoid studying in an area where there will be distractions (like television!)
- Have everything you need to do your revision to hand before you start.
- write ideas and facts on to cards to use as ‘prompts’
- create memory aids such as diagrams or mnemonics (e.g. initial letters to make a word you need to remember or SMART objectives: Specific; Measurable; Achievable; Realistic; Targets). These will help you remember key facts
- write key facts/notes out and display these around the house where you will see them
- record yourself reading notes to listen to
- Study with a friend and test each other’s knowledge, but remember you are meeting to revise rather than to chat!
- Work through past question papers – and use a watch to time them so that you can practise timing your answers.
- Remember course notes are also a valuable source of extra help
- Keep yourself more alert by changing revision methods during a session. For instance, try switching from note taking to memorising; from reading to asking someone to test you
- Attend any revision classes that your teachers may be running at school and get their advice on revision methods
Sometimes revision can become a competition – who stayed up latest, who worked longest, who’s worrying the most. But the more tired you are the less efficiently you’ll work. You need to rest as well as study, eat well, drink lots of water and make sure you pace yourself. Don’t rush, and equally don’t over-revise by doing too much too soon.
Don’t forget to make a revision plan example here
That is an interesting question. Personally, I prefer TV shows with hard working characters because, you know, there are more episodes to watch so more motivation. Even if they may not be entirely realistic (especially medical and legal tv shows), they usually motivate me well enough. Documentaries are a great way to learn something in a more fun way (they’re the reason I passed high school’s history).
- Grey’s Anatomy - Christina Yang’s character
- Gilmore Girls - Rory’s character
- Greek - Rusty and Dale’s characters
- even Gossip Girl with Dan who fights to rise above the money with the help of education, Blair who’s willing to do everything to go to the college of her choice,…
- Numb3rs if you’re into math
- Medical shows for med students
- Legal shows for law students
I tried to remember a couple of movies that motivated me (not all of them include characters who study but I’m going to include them anyway):
- Legally Blonde (being a law student this one is kind of obvious)
- Erin Brockowich (same as the above, but I think it’s a great motivational movie for anyone as it depicts a woman with no education who becomes someone with hard work and passion)
- Harry Potter (Hermione Granger’s character)
- The Oxford Murders
- The Internship
- The Perfect Score
- The Pursuit of Happyness
- Dead Poets Society
I also get motivated by movies about powerful people:
- The Iron Lady
- The Social Network
Also, YouTube videos - my personal favourites:
- How bad do you want it?
- Life = Risk
- Equestrianism: six rules to success
- Why I hate school but love education
- You are limitless
Hope I helped, good luck getting motivated :).