How To Study Physics By Using Feynman Technique

A method of learning more efficiently.

how to learn by feynman technique

Richard Feynman was one of the world’s greatest scientists who won a nobel prize for physics in 1965. But we recognize him more as an outstanding teacher, a story-teller and an everyday joker whose life, was a combination of his intelligence, curiosity and uncertainty.

Feynman was once asked in an interview whether an ordinary person could understand physics. After a brief pause, "of course!", he replied, "I was an ordinary person who studied hard."

In this post, you will learn to study physics by using the Feynman Technique, a method involving four easy steps, which was designed to help you understand concepts you don't get and to remember stuff you've already learned.


SEMrush

1. Write

how to learn by feynman technique

This is a no-brainer. Always write down everything you know about the topic on a notebook page. Add examples and illustrations in your notes whenever possible.

Why is it important to write? Because writing anything down makes us remember it better. This is also the reason why many life coaches advise to pen down our goals.


2. Explain

Describe whatever you have learned to an empty room. This step will not only test memorization but also help you to become a better teacher.

how to learn by feynman technique

Yes, many of you may not want to go into the teaching profession but it is a good practice to convey your learning in loud words.


3. Analyze

There is a famous saying which many attribute to Feynman, "If you cannot explain it simply, you do not understand it", which is fairly obvious.

how to learn by feynman technique

Did you teach it well? Where is the gap in your understanding? Identify it. Then, revisit your notes for revision.

Revision often increases your confidence because the gap in your understanding is reduced. You may even want to rewrite your notes in a more simple language than before.


4. Repeat

Because of revision, you have better grasp of the subject. So gather your best friend and explain the topic once again, to him/her. Teaching is a tool for learning because, when one teaches, two learn.

how to learn by feynman technique

At last, take feedback from your friend and see if you did a better job than last time. Did you know that Professor Walter Lewin, famous for his physics videos on YouTube, used to teach five times to an empty hall, before actually taking a class?


Summing up

Feynman had once said, "I don't know what's the matter with people: they don't learn by understanding; they learn by some other way, by rote or something. Their knowledge is so fragile!"

But if you follow what is known as the Feynman Technique, as described here, you will be able to learn more efficiently and firmly. Please share this post with fellow students.

Comments

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  4. This was amazing similar to the techniques described in Randy Farmers IIntroduction to Physics" book. I used the techniques to teach introductory physics. I didn't realize the techniques pedigree. If I had, I definitely would have passed it on to my students. Cartoonist Bill Amen (?) had several cartoons based on this technique. I wish I had know about it when I took physics 50 years ago.

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