The Feynman Technique

Feynman’s learning technique is effective to learn something new, deepen your understanding of what you already know or when you study for an exam.

The first step is to pick a topic you want to understand and start studying it.

Once you know what it is about, take a piece of paper and write about it as if you’re teaching Ideally write and speak at the same time, just as a teacher does it at the blackboard. This makes you realise which parts you understand and where you still have gaps. Whenever you get stuck, go back to study and repeat that process until you have explained the whole topic from start to end.

When you’re done, repeat the process from the beginning, but this time simplify your language or use a graphic analogy to make a point. If your explanation ends up wordy or confusing, you probably have not understood it well enough, so you should start over.

Thinking about an idea by explaining it makes this learning method very effective. Once you can explain an idea in simple language, you have deeply understood it and will remember it for a long time.

Richard Feynmann was a leading theoretical physicist who received a nobel prize for his work in quantum electrodynamics. He was notorious for asking his fellow mathematicians to explain concepts in simple language to test their understanding.