How to learn faster with the Feynman mental model technique


This article highlights the famous Feynman Technique or mental model technique to learn anything faster and effectively in a very short period of time. This very short and effective technique may be useful to students for their study or any competitive examinations.

Introduction to Feynman mental model technique

If you are a student or teacher or a person doing an exam or lecture preparation to understand an idea, topic or information, you should use a very popular Feynman technique. This technique was based on Richard Feynman's teaching style. He was a well-known American scientist, a noble prize winner, and a very good teacher when it comes to explaining the idea or physics principles. He has written a very popular book series "Lectures on Physics" by Richard Feynman.

Let's start looking at the technique. The technique is very basic in nature and it requires the use of plain paper and pen. If you are struggling to understand or grasp any topic, idea or information, you should follow the below-mentioned steps.
  • Step:1 Name the topic: Give a name to the idea or information or topic. Write it at the top of the paper. It should give a complete understanding of what you are going to learn.

  • Step:2 Explanation: You should keep putting the words describing the idea or topic as if you are explaining to someone else. It is rightly said by someone that if you want to learn anything permanently, teach the idea or topic to someone else. You should sketch the relevant information. Give notations or nomenclature to every part of the sketch. During this process, speak each and every word you write. Imagine you are explaining to someone who is not in that field or any layman person. Once you are finished with this step, go to the next step.

  • Learn faster by Feynman mental model technique
  • Step 3: Review, Re-read, Re-write: This step is all about reviewing the content that you have just written. Ask questions as many as you can. A question to refine the concept by identifying the gaps and help to add more insight into it. Now go back to the source and re-read the same concept or information or idea. Re-write the whole thing with a new understanding. Once you complete the review, re-read and re-writing, go to the next step which is all about simplifying the concept.

  • Step 4: Simplify it: Now that you have reviewed, re-read and re-written, just check the sheet, look at the sketch, words, and content you have put it on paper for that given concept. Write the whole concept in simple language, do paraphrasing or change the words. Use a simple analogy to make it understood for anyone who read it later.

  • Example of Feynman Technique

    I am giving an example of a nozzle. The function of the nozzle in fluid flow is to increase the velocity at the outlet. The statement of the Bernoulli's equation: "The total energy or head at any points in a fluid flow is constant". The total energy means the sum of kinetic energy, pressure energy, and potential energy. The example of nozzle shows that the variation in the area in the nozzle causes the velocity change. The variation is such that summation of the pressure energy, kinetic energy, and potential energy remains constant. The area variation causes the variation in velocity change as per the conservation of mass or continuity equation for incompressible flow (flow with no density variation of fluid).

    Summary of Bernoulli's equation: At any point in the flow which is steady, incompressible, the variation in pressure, velocity, and elevation are constant. The variation in any parameter (either pressure, velocity, area or elevation) causes the appropriate change in other parameters as per the conservation of mass, momentum, and energy.

    Example of Feynman mental model technique - Bernoullis principle

    Look at the paper and pen work as per the Feynman technique. It shows the simple explanation of the Bernoulli's equation with sketch and example. You can change the words to simplify it further.

    Conclusion:

    The effective way to learn any topic, concept or information effectively and faster, one should follow the Feynman mental model technique which is all about simplifying the concept by use of paper and pen by writing concepts in more detail with simple words and sketches as if you are explaining to layman person. One can use this technique to simplify any topic or information.


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