In recent years, thousands of people around the world have been able to learn new subjects quickly using a four-step method known as the Feynman Technique.

This form of study was created by a Nobel Prize winner and has recently received due attention again.

One of those responsible for making this method of study popular again was none other than Elon Musk, known for being one of the most inventive, controversial, and successful entrepreneurs of recent years.

Today you will be able to learn what the Feynman Technique is and how you can use it to learn faster both academic subjects and practical skills to implement in your life.

We will see in detail:

  • What is the Feynman Study Technique?
  • Why Richard Feynman’s Method Works
  • The Four Steps to Learn Anything with the Feynman Technique
  • What happens to those who study efficiently

The first step is to understand exactly what this method of study is.

What is the Feynman Study Technique?


Richard Feynman was an American physicist who won the 1965 Nobel Prize in Physics for his pioneering work in the study of quantum electrodynamics.

Feynman was a critic of the way people studied, prioritizing memorization over reasoning. For him, knowing something’s name and really knowing something are different things.

To correct this error of decorating rather than understanding, the physicist has developed a simple four-step method for students to better learn any concept.

Although it sounds simple, the Feynman Technique was designed so that students deconstruct ideas and then understand and reconstruct them.

Why Richard Feynman’s Method Works


Richard Feynman’s method of study yields encouraging results by aligning with the way the human brain learns.

Instead of focusing on memorizing concepts, names, dates, and numbers, the Feynman Technique prioritizes deep understanding.

Under the method, deep understanding means that the student is able to explain the subject he has learned to others.

The logic is that only those who know a subject can explain to others what they know.

Think of a subject you master. You could certainly explain this to others, right?

Now think of a subject you are probably not familiar with, such as quantum electrodynamics.

Could you teach quantum electrodynamics to other people?

Probably not. Even if I memorized some basic concepts, if I tried to explain this subject to others no one would understand anything.

That’s why the Feynman Technique works so well. Let’s see, then, the four steps that make up the study method.

The Four Steps to Learn Anything with the Feynman Technique

The four steps to learning anything from Richard Feynman’s method are:

  1. Choose a subject
  2. Teach the subject chosen for a child
  3. Identify the flaws in your understanding
  4. Review and Simplify

You may be surprised at the simplicity of the method, but that is one of the reasons for the success of the technique.

Let’s take a look at each step separately, remembering that you will need paper and pen to perform it.

Step 1: Choose a Subject


The first step is for you to clearly define what you want to learn.

In this first step, try to be more specific. Do not choose something as broad as “Mathematics”, but rather a more focused topic such as “Combinatorial Analysis.”

You can be even more specific and choose only one concept within the topic “Combinatorial Analysis”.

Take a sheet of paper and write the subject at the top.

Then write down everything you know about the subject on the sheet. Whenever you learn something new in the next few steps, you will add that knowledge to the page.

Write in simple terms and using your own words. This roadmap will serve as the basis for the second step.

Step 2: Teach the Child a Chosen Subject


The second step of the Feynman Technique is to teach (or pretend to teach) the subject chosen for a child.

Take your notebook and start explaining it to a child. Ideally, you really have a 7-10 year old in front of you, but if that is impossible you can pretend to be teaching to someone that age.

The important thing is not the presence or absence of the child, but rather that you explain the subject in terms of easy comprehension.

Of course the child will not understand perfectly, especially more advanced topics. But the focus here is on what you teach, not what the child learns. After all, you are studying.

At the end of the process, you will notice that some points of the subject were not well understood. And that is precisely the third step.

Step 3: Identify the Flaws in Your Understanding


From your explanation to the child, you will notice the parts of the subject that need a better understanding.

Write down these holes in your understanding and return to books to learn these parts better. Everything you learn new should be added to your notebooks.

This is an important step. The parts that you have been able to explain clearly to a child probably no longer need to be so revised. You already understood them well.

With this clarity, you can focus on the parts that do not yet have a deep understanding. This optimizes your time and allows you to properly prioritize what to study next.

Ideally, after the review, you will be able to explain this new learning back to a child.

This is the main marker of the Feynman Technique. When you can explain a subject to a child, it means that you really learned what you were studying.

Step 4: Review and Simplify


The last step of the Feynman Method is to revise your work and further simplify the language to write what you have learned in your own words.

Avoid using personal jargon and technical terms in books and teachers in your personal notes. Write down in your own words the simple terms you use for everyday speaking.

If necessary, use analogies with everyday actions to further deepen your understanding.

Try to make a cohesive text that can be read aloud. If you spot new flaws in your understanding, return to Step 3.

What happens to those who study with the Feynman Technique


Imagine what your academic or career performance would be like if you could learn new subjects quickly and efficiently.

This can be done if you start practicing the Feynman Technique as another tool in your arsenal of study.

For this, keep in mind that the cornerstone of whether you really learned something or not is your ability to explain it in simple terms to a child.

To do so, follow the four steps of the technique:

  1. Choose a subject
  2. Teach the subject chosen for a child
  3. Identify the flaws in your understanding
  4. Review and Simplify

If you find the technique too basic, remember that it was developed decades ago by a Nobel Prize-winning physicist who has stood the test of time, even being used by names like Elon Musk.

Do not view the method as something that will solve all your study problems. Instead of creating this kind of expectation, think of technique as one more tool you can use to learn new things.


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