How to Study Efficiently: Feynman Technique

Physicist Richard Feynman is credited with the creation of the Feynman technique. It revolves around explaining a concept in simple language as if you were teaching it to someone else. Active learning is an important way to really understand the concepts that come up for a class. This is even more accurate for a class that is more difficult than normal. Using this technique will help you to learn the material to a high degree, because having to explain something to someone else mandates a good understanding of the material.

1.Write the Concept’s Name/ Topic Area on the Top of A Page

It would be best to write the concept’s name/topic area using pen and paper. But, typing things out could be useful as well. Although. keep in mind that there have been several studies showing the utility of writing things out.

2.Explain the Concept Using Simple Language

The best way to do this is to picture that you have to explain this concept to a young person or a child. The most important thing to recognize is that anyone should be able to understand what you say, so you have to define what you need to define. A few good examples of this can be seen on YouTube! I really like to watch videos from the 5 Levels of Difficulty series . This series is awesome and brings experts from a variety of fields including biology, astronomy and music. For reference, the “5” levels that they are using are 1.explaining to a child ; 2. Explaining to a Teen ; 3. Explaining to a College Student ; 4.Explaining to a Grad Student ; 5.Another Expert. It’s a great show to watch because you can see how the complexity builds. If you can explain rocket science to a child, then you can truly explain anything.

3. Identify Problem Areas and Review Them

One of the ways you’ll learn through this method is by realizing gaps in your knowledge. This could arise in the form of “why is this ___” type questions that you cannot answer or a general bad grasp on the content. Regardless, it’s good to acknowledge when you don’t know something because that helps to guide your further learning.

4.Pinpoint Complicated Terms and Further Simplify Them

Similarly to before, you’re going to want to read back what you’ve written out. Make sure that you’ve defined complicated terms or simplified as much as possible. A good way to illustrate challenging concepts is by incorporating analogy. When I was doing a research presentation, I had to present to humanities students when my research was in biochemistry. Given that they didn’t have any background in the field I was talking about, I found it helpful to incorporate analogies throughout my presentation. By using the analogies, I was able to take complicated terms or concepts and make them understandable to any audience.

All in all, this technique is a helpful way to make your studying efficient. Plus, if you end up knowing the material really well that will help you to be a great tutor (which can pay super well)!

Published by Magda Wojtara

Magda Wojtara is Junior at the LSA Honors College at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor on a pre-med track with a major in Neuroscience. In her free time, she write articles, volunteers at a chronic pain outpatient facility with UM Medicine, does research, competes in HOSA, and, of course, enjoys photography and singing. In her spare time she manages her own travel and lifestyle blog: @journeythedestiantion on instagram and journeythedestination.weebly.com

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