If you’ve ever looked at ways to learn more effectively, you might have run into techniques like the Feynman. According to a few pro writers, it’s said to work really well and is sworn by. If you don’t know about it already, we’ll introduce you to the Feynman Technique and share some ways that you can incorporate it into your next study session.
What Is the Feynman Technique?
You might be wondering, “what is the Feynman Technique, and how can I benefit from it?” Well, it’s a technique that was developed by Richard Feynman, a world-renowned physicist who liked toying with different methods of learning and retaining information. His technique was based on one simple rule: if you can explain it, you fully understand it.
Feynman Technique in Action
If we’ve captured your curiosity and you’re wondering how you can incorporate it into your current study routine, we’ve got three steps with examples below.
Step 1: Explain to a 5-Year-Old
The first rule of thumb when you’re attempting to learn and retain information is having the ability to explain it to someone else. For instance, you want to break it down in words that are easy to understand for someone who has no idea about the topic. Try thinking about expanding your topic to a 5-year-old; how would that go?
Let’s think about the concept of entropy. Entropy is a pretty interesting topic that you’ll surely learn at some point throughout your academic career if you haven’t yet. You can pass on the responsibility to someone at paying someone to sit my exam if it’s a writing assignment. If not, you’re on your own. So, how would you explain it?
Instead of saying: “Entropy is a measurement of disorder and randomness within a system based on energy conversions and work,” say: “An example of entropy is imaginable to most of us. Think of an ice cube. It goes from solid to liquid, oozing out of its form and completely dissociating right before our eyes.”
See the difference? The second explanation is much easier to understand and provides those listening to you with more understandable context instead of highly technical terms.
When you see a long and complicated equation, you may be able to get away with filling in the blanks and solving it to get the final answer. However, sometimes you have to dissect these equations into simpler components to get the correct answer. If you are in this situation, you can use the Feynman method to explain (in words) what is going on and what each piece of the equation means. If you can do that, solving it will be a piece of cake.
Step 2: Jot Down What’s Hard to Explain
During your explanation, you may have realized that you lack a few fundamental pieces. That’s when this technique gets interesting, as it attempts to help you find those weaknesses and turn them into study time. When you get to a kink in the road or if the person to whom you’re explaining asks you a question that you can’t answer, jot it down. You’ll use these notes later to help you put all of the pieces together and understand what you need to study better.
Step 3: Read up on the Gaps
Once you know where all of the gaps are, it’s time to start studying. Study the things you cannot explain and, if someone did ask you a question, find out what you need to answer it. Then, you can attempt to teach it either to the same person or someone else to see if you can finally explain everything in a detailed and accurate manner.
Why the Feynman Technique Works
The discussed techniques are simple, but there are still many people wondering whether it works. The basic technique is really helpful, especially when dealing with topics like physics, literature, or even mathematic applications. One of the main reasons why it works is that you need to have a good grasp of the topic you’re talking about to explain concepts and processes to someone else.
Just think, when you ask your professor a question that they don’t know, what did they do? Typically, they freeze and promise to research the subject in-depth to get back to you with responses. For you, it should be the same thing. You can explain many concepts within your subject area using the Feynman technique, finding where you lack knowledge and working the material through until you understand topics completely.
Using the Feynman Technique is a Study Method
When you use this method to study, it’s a lot more benefits than you might think. You’ll notice that you start to do better on exams and even write better. During writing, you need to explain things in a way that many readers of all levels can understand. When expert writers create a piece, they try to avoid lengthy and drawn-out definitions and just stick to simple terms.
The easier it is for you to explain, the better you’ll do on exams and writing assignments, answering questions about how things work and why. Don’t let complex topics and concepts drag you down. Instead, break them down and learn how to explain them more simply, understanding more than before.