Study Techniques

A friend of mine was watching a video with me the other day. There are concepts and words within this video that he did not understand and he told me, “I don’t know what this is..”

I said: “Hmm, that complicates things as it is intermediate required knowledge for the entire video. Now what can we do about that?”

Friend: “I don’t know..”
Me: “Huh? What don’t you know?”
Friend: “ to understand this.”

In utter amazement about the apparant dead-end in studying my friend had come to. I tried with various methods and questions to figure out why it was that he thought that the non-understanding of a few terms, that were detrimental to grasping the meaing of the video, was an apparantly unsolvable problem that could lead to absolutely no further progress in understanding. It was obvious to me that he had dropped the ball. I attempted to “lure” him towards seeking the information he required to no avail.

It appeared to me, that my friend was deadlocked on Fig 1. on this Study-Tree I have painted with great skill and artistry.

Figure 2. displays my usual way of studying.

I fan out from the original text and seek understand of non-understood concepts in this text from other sources. I consider this normal. Fig 1. is also normal, but being limited to percieving the existance of only fig 1 is insane to me. Especially because if conditions are not optimal and there is a interuption in the flow of understanding, my friend ends up doing this:



The most tragic part of this is, my friend contintuall states that he REALLY REALLY wants to understand the topic I speak out, but he simply can’t grasp it. He has done so for months. Yet, his actions speak differently. The video we were originally watching, was watched by us for the 5th time over the last half year. From the first time, there was something in that video that required more in depth study of differtent topics, or understanding would not come.

Having explained what to study and showed him a few vidfeos on quantum mechanics and q-physics, I thought we had solved the problem. However, what he failed to tell me was, that he had just commited Fig 3 on “required knowledge” as there was apparently even more intermediate knowledge to be aquired before understanding could come to the topic of quantum mechanics. However, he made no efforts to gather that information on his own.

Considering he had half a year to catch up on that learning i fail to see how badly he wants to understand the topic.

Friend’s words: “I really really want to understand this!!!!”
Friends actions: <not attempting to understand what is required to understand what is not understood>

The bottom line. Sometimes reading a book means jumping to another book in order to understand the first. Sometimes you even have to jump out of the 2nd book into a third to understand the 2nd. Failure to do so just yields nothing, and for some reason, my friend thought that was the only study technique available. Don’t be like my friend. Be like me :p

“You have to learn to crawl, before you learn to walk” – Amazing, Aerosmith


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