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Feynman Technique: What and how for exam prep

Feynman Technique: What and how for exam prep

Seated with plenty of textbooks on the desk, one can’t help but feel restless at the sight of it all. Is this one of your child’s many ‘been there, done that’ situations? There are many ways in which students can study better and more efficiently, such as listening to calming music, making notes, or through the use of study techniques that fit them best.

Many of us have heard of popular studying techniques, such as the Pomodoro Technique we covered a few months back. These techniques help boost students’ abilities to study, retain, and recall information better instead of just cramming textbooks mindlessly. In this article, we’ll be talking about the Feynman Technique that has been rising in popularity in recent years, and how it can help your child prepare and revise for their exams better.

What’s the Feynman Technique?

The Feynman Technique is a learning method named after Richard Feynman, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist who was known for his ability to explain complex concepts in simple terms. The technique involves four simple steps.

1. Pick a topic or concept to learn

Your child should identify a topic or concept that they want to learn about, and write it on a blank piece of paper. After that, they should jot down everything they know about said topic or concept as if they were teaching it to a child.

2. Explain it to a 12-year-old

Now that your child has seemingly grasped the said topic or concept well, get them to explain it as though they were speaking to a 12-year-old. They can use their notes they jotted down earlier as a reference, but encourage them to remove any jargon or complexities entirely. Use words that are simple enough for a 12-year-old to understand.

The reason behind removing jargon is that they hide a student’s lack of understanding. When a student is forced to write an idea from start to finish in simple language, they can discover the areas that they actually struggle with. Only by identifying gaps in your knowledge can you fill them.

3. Reflect, refine, and simplify

Once your child is able to explain the said topic or concept in simple terms, you know that they’re now en route to understanding it! They should review their notes to make sure there’s zero jargon or that they did not gloss over anything complex.

Next, your child should read their notes aloud as though they were talking to a 12-year-old. If the explanation doesn’t seem to be simple enough or is confusing, this is a good indication that they should reflect and refine their notes. They can then go back to their textbooks to review the parts they don’t quite understand yet. Repeat this process until they have a fully simplified explanation on their notes.

4. Organise and review

To really test your child’s understanding of the said topic or concept, they should run it by someone else to see how effective their explanation was. Did that person ask any questions at all? What were they unsure of? These are questions they need to answer as well.

Once your child is happy with their understanding of the topic or concept, they should take the piece of paper containing their refined explanation and file it properly, along with other explanations they will be creating in the future. They can follow this technique for any topic or concept and review them as and when needed!

How does this technique help with exam prep?

The Feynman Technique can be a powerful tool for exam preparation as it requires active engagement with the material at hand. Instead of simply reading through notes or textbooks, your child will be forced to think deeply about the concepts and explain them in their own words. This process helps to cement the information in their long-term memory and identify any areas where they may need further review.

Additionally, it can help your child develop better study habits. By breaking down complex topics into smaller, more manageable pieces, they can approach their studies with more confidence and less stress. In addition, by focusing on understanding rather than memorising, they can develop a deeper appreciation for the material and its real-world applications.

Wrapping up

Anyone can make a subject complicated, but only someone who understands can make it simple.

This technique is a powerful tool for exam preparation that can help your child develop better study habits and achieve long-term success. By explaining complex topics in their own words and identifying areas where they need additional review, students can approach their studies with greater confidence and understanding.

The next time your child is struggling to study or revise for an upcoming exam, encourage them to try the Feynman Technique!

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