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I have known the Feynman technique two years ago, I tried to use it in my studies. I usually read a text about some topic(usually math, physics) and wrote in some paper what I understood. But I had a bad experience with that, I spend a lot of time, I didn't learn and it caused frustration what makes me leave this technique.

I'm doing electrical engineer graduation so all of my studying is about math and physics, I wanna learn more effectively and efficiently, in other words, well and as little time as possible, just spend the necessary time and no more no less.

Recently I watched a video about this technique and I'm thinking in apply it somehow, but I wanna know to do it in a way that works, and then I wanna ask about your experiences and for advice on how to implement the Feynman technique to get improvements in my learning.

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    Reading and note-taking will only get you so far. The best way to improve your understanding of topics in maths and physics is to do lots of practice questions and exercises. – astronat Mar 10 at 11:12
  • @astronat Regarding my experience I got the same feeling. – Lucas Vital Mar 10 at 11:58
  • @CGCampbell I changed the title to be more clear and specific, maybe now it's better. – Lucas Vital Mar 10 at 11:59
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    People learn in different ways, and so take this with a grain of salt: in my estimation, any attempt to learn something "in as little time as possible" is unlikely to yield good results. Indeed, my understanding is that Feynman advocated the opposite: pick something you want to learn, and keep investing time into it perhaps past the point where you feel "finished", so that you learn it more deeply. Good luck. – academic Mar 10 at 13:51
  • The other comments are very good. Also, maybe you need an additional textbook. I often find that reading one text will leave me confused or not understanding everything. Reading two may help. Especially reading sections of a second text on the parts I am most confused about. Different wording or different emphasis often helps me through. – puppetsock Mar 10 at 14:56
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There are two key parts of the Feynman method: teaching and keeping a record.

The basic insight behind the first is that if you can teach something effectively then you know it well. Many professors have had the insight that "I didn't understand X until I had to teach it". But if you are going to teach something complex to another person who has (much) less understanding, then you will probably need to resort to analogy and metaphor to get them into the correct mind set.

So, the application to the Feynman method is to form analogies about what you are studying, where the analogies are common (enough) and easy to recall.

But the recording part, using notebooks, is also essential, since writing down your insights engages the brain in a somewhat different way and that reinforces the physical changes (synapsis and such) that make deep learning possible.

So, one suggestion for using the method is to imagine someone, like one of your parents or siblings (unless they are also field experts) and imagine teaching some complex topic to them. Jargon and technical figures probably won't work, so you appeal to what they already know and come up with some analogies that will help them get started. But you don't just do this as a mental exercise. Write it down, as a lecture outline.

The other suggestion is that when you read and take notes (or listen to lectures and take notes) that you follow it up by summarizing those notes in a simpler form, say using analogies that will remind you of what you have just read. In fact, I'll guess that when you read something your mind is already working out some analogies. Record those. Having a "faithful" record (copy) of what you have read/heard isn't the same as learning. You need to engage the brain. Forming analogies and writing summaries are both good ways to make that happen.


There is more to learning that just the Feynman method, of course. This is why instructors give assignments and exercises. Exercises help engage the brain in another way that is even more effective. It is also why cheating on assignments is counterproductive to learning. Reinforcement and feedback are keys to learning. The feedback is needed so that you don't reinforce incorrect things.

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  • Thanks! this answer is very useful and helped me understand more about Feynman's method, you explained it very well. – Lucas Vital Mar 10 at 17:06
  • Another thing to note is that applying any technique verbatim won’t generate success. It’s important that you take the critical aspects of the method and distort them just enough to be unique to your own implementation. – GrayLiterature Mar 10 at 21:56

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