The Feynman Technique is an efficient way to learn practically anything you want to know. I’ve used this technique and a variation of it to get through various subjects in college. Once you get these simple steps down, it’s all a matter of execution.
So who is Feynman? Richard Feynman was an American physicist who contributed his entire life to physics and mathematics. He also created Feynman diagrams, which are basically diagrams of mathematical expressions. He also spent many years teaching university courses, though it was no surprise that he was able to teach his subjects well.
Basically, this is a method to explain things in simple terms.
- Write the name of your concept. Something not too broad that there’s too much to talk about, but also not too specific like a vocabulary term.
- Write an explanation of the concept in your own words. Try to keep it simple.
- Review what you don’t know. Did you notice that as you were writing down your explanation, you weren’t sure about something? Go through it as if you were trying to explain this concept to another person. If there are holes in your description, these are the sections you need to study again. Return to your original study material and study it.
- Rewrite in simpler terms. Now that you have a better understanding of your concept, you should be able to simplify it further.
As you go through the steps, ask yourself questions. Would I be able to teach this to the class? If the professor asked me a question about this section, would I know the answer? Review the material and rewrite.
That’s the technique! It takes some time, but I feel it takes much less time than had you tried to repeatedly take notes from your textbook and study off those. The act of rewriting information into your own words is also definitely beneficial. And now that you know how to utilize the Feynman Technique, good luck on your exams!