The Feynman Technique-Best way to learn

Richard Feynman

One of the common problems with most students is that either they cannot understand a concept in their syllabus or couldn’t memorize it enough for the required standard. Students have a really hard time going through that phase and often lead to stress and anxiety. Today, I’m gonna teach you the best technique(from my experience) to overcome this hectic situation.

Richard Feynman was a theoretical physicist in Caltech specializing in quantum mechanics. He received the Nobel Prize in physics in 1965 for his contribution to the development of quantum electrodynamics. Apart from all his academic achievements he was very popular for teaching hard complex theories and concepts in a very simple way. For his this particular ability he was known as “The Great Explainer”.

“If you want to master something. Teach it.”

-Richard Feynman

Richard Feynman
Richard Feynman

The philosophy behind Feynman’s extraordinary explaining is that he believed that

“If you can’t explain something in simple terms, you don’t understand it”

It is the foundation of the “Feynman Learning Technique”. This technique may sound simple or silly to someone but it has proven to be highly efficient.

1st Step

Chose a theory or a concept that you couldn’t understand.

2nd Step

Study the concept as hard as you can. Research it or memorize the required areas. If you have a hard time studying or having productivity or efficient problems use The Pomodoro Technique.

3rd Step

Now take a pen and paper and write down the concept you learn in that paper as simple as you can. Try to think that you are explaining it to a 4-year-old or cat. After you write everything possibly you can remember, compare it to the original note, slide, video or whatever you study first.

If you are unable to describe the theory fully or you missed parts, repeat the 2nd and 3rd steps until you can.

4th Step

After the 3rd step, you must be fully aware of your study. So it’s time to explain it to your friends. Chose one or two students that want to learn(or make them) and teach the area you study. The importance of the 4th step is that you probably get a different perspective that you didn’t get when you studying alone.


Tips from the author

  • Feynman Learning Technique is a great concept to understand a theory, but if you want to achieve more in your academic area(especially if you are a math or science student). I recommend you to do more questions as much as you can to practice your knowledge.
  • 3rd step is the most important one. Don’t ever think you memorize or understand the concept after just read it. It’s a hallucination and you won’t remember the concept after 2 or 3 days(maybe even after one hour). By contrast, writing down is far more productive and it will last more than 3-4 months or maybe forever according to the researches.
  • The beauty of this technique is it makes you a better learner and a better teacher. So be the “Great Explainer” in your college/school.





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