Friday, June 8, 2012

Tips for learning

Just for remembering:
I think everyone has some kind of photographic memory. Even if we live through something once in our life it might stay in memory for rest of the lifetime. 

Minimum requirement for remembering something seems to be just repeating it once without mistakes. I noticed that clearly visualizing stuff and then avoiding thinking about it worked better than learning it and then partially reminding it occasionally. At first i hoped that several repeats are good but later in university i noticed i passed exams (poorly like usual but with way less effort) if i visualized the sentences i wanted to remember like on a picture only once and after that i avoided thinking about what i remembered because i feared that when i think about these things then i might remember them wrong. I avoided thinking about painting over the images in my head so i avoided them by trying to look elsewhere in my thoughts. Mentally i imagined walking or running away from learned stuff that tried to remind itself. If i painted it over or messed in some visual way then memory about something could be lost. 
Weird thing was that when i avoided thinking i started to feel like learned stuff was gaining some pressure and tried to remind itself. Usually i felt tired and like my head was too full for extra learning but after i tried to think only once about exam topics then i didn't feel nearly as tired but actually bit energized with overactive brain trying to show what it remembered from studying.

Sometimes it seemed to help if i added some changing voice to thoughts so they'd go higher and lower like some melody. Maybe if memory fragment also have sound info then you may notice when you remember them in wrong order.

Don't be tempted to spell words wrongly. You will remember that stupid false spelling for days or months. I have learned new words for years by spelling them right once but usually by cutting these words into few letter long pieces.

For knowing many different topics

I've noticed that i could study biology, physics, chemistry, electronics and mathematics by just learning the words that explain what something does. The faster i learn new words the faster i get what the explanations mean.

Learning for autopilot

Different kind of learning (especially when learning movements) happens to all living creatures without them knowing how it works. Almost anything learned gets automatic after some repetition. At first standing up was difficult but soon kids learn to walk and run with increasingly less effort and concentration. Similar things happen when kids learn to talk, read and improvise verbally.

Additional good side about this learning is that if you learn to speak automatically you may find it easier to say even with interference or cannabis confusion. I've noticed that if i'm too high to remember stuff over 5 seconds i could still say the same things i could do automatically when i'm sober. It's like when you are very confused on cannabis you can mostly do stuff you do automatically when sober (like walking and speeches about familiar topics). I think i rediscovered such learning when i tried to learn everything so clear that i could function normally with 5 second short term memory. As time passed i noticed i got way more skillful while high and that i started to discover new skill in myself that i had practiced in some confused state and yet i seemed to remember what i wanted although i usually didn't remember how/when/where i learned that. With many skills i just remembered that some months ago i thought it would be good to know how to do something new.
Also future plans don't look so difficult if you could do required things without thinking about them.

If i want to learn to do something automatically then i try to do with least amount of concentration.

Personal development speed depends on how fast can the person find disturbing limitations with their skills and new areas to understand. Most jobs require many skills and tasks that can change a lot in 1 year.
To speed up learning it would be good to start with learning from best because average people may have many bad habits or standards that keep them average.

Best learner and public psychologist i know is Derren Brown (almost all his series can be found in YouTube). He said that studying entire London map took him 4 months (clip).
He learned english dictionary in about 20 minutes (he called it photo-reading) and Derren managed to remember other books by saying what was on some random page and line (clip).

Personal experience from university

This part is mostly just about how mistakes of other people have to be considered to get through university.

I don't have negative things to say about university while getting bachelor's degree but classes in MD level showed many different problems. I did notice that self-teaching myself about physics, biology and chemistry kept getting easier but school classes stayed difficult and looked out of touch with reality. Major lesson was that getting through some class would mean learning the false understandings of lazy or stupid teacher. Often it reminded me of my 1 year in philosophy when we had to learn everything philosophers thought including their absurd ideas of biology that were common in ancient Greece but knowing those stupidities was what we needed to pass exams and some biology teachers seemed to demand similar mistakes about their own mistakes.
First year in MD level class i noticed i failed exam due to stupidity of teacher. According to his view neurons have hydrogen ions around them to counteract potassium ions inside them (both should be in 0,15 molar concentration) but that would mean neurons would have pH of less than 1 around them. I mentioned sodium-potassium antiporter as the protein that creates normal concentrations of sodium and potassium in and outside neurons (+ other cells). There was internet in reach and i told him to check but he refused like other 2 who also made major mistakes and refused to use internet which was reachable about 1 meter away. He kept repeating i don't know anything and in next attempt (retried that exam around 5-7 times in one semester) he demanded that i'd explain with atomic precision how this sodium-potassium anti-porter moves those ions. I said how can anyone know that so precisely and again he went with his response of "see you don't know anything" and said i failed. By that time i had mentioned that farce to dean but he just told to ask for new attempts. In last try he looked more depressed and just ask me difference between acids and alkali which i could easily say and passed. Maybe he chose it as leverage point to keep me from bringing this up but as someone who tries to improve research i thought bringing this up would help school improve itself and deal with some glaring embarrassments.  
I skipped checking why i failed in most other exams in MD studies although often i felt during exam i could get A-C but kept getting F's on most tries. In third year i became more active about checking why i failed. In one case i asked for meeting to see why i failed. Response was they found the didn't read one correct answer which got me an E. In one exam there were 3 people doing grading and 2 of them did similar messed up mistakes i saw 2 years before. One kept stating that most mutations are too harmful to stay through generations. I wanted her to check study among many that show people get about 1 mutation per 100 million nucleotide which makes at least ~30 new mutations for newborns. Her response was that grading me differently for that would be unfair to others (like failing students due to her stupidity was fair to begin with). She tried to blame it on me for not being in class to learn her understandings. Other teacher was correcting questions on how evolvability is affected but while internet and even wikipedia could show many example she only knew one situation which she found in one textbook and i had to almost copy it from book to get points for that question. Like in first case she preferred i passed by getting through with too easy way instead of admitting any problems on her part. None of them were willing to accept their mistakes and were willing to risk their careers by even worse behavior than plain stupidity from laziness. I doubt scandalous behavior has helped with covering such scandals. I asked about getting to PhD courses but everyone kept saying my average was too low and any outside school activity doesn't count as it would be unfair to others who had good grades (but didn't do anything productive outside school). Some said they are not even putting me on maybe list due to low grades. I doubt i'll get to PhD studies but in fairness i can expose my side of story about why i didn't qualify.

I believe such behavior could show up in any university around world so better to prepare for it and if exam gets failed for unknown reasons then it is better to check if lecturers are to blame. I regret i learned it so late that by that time i didn't have any new exams to improve average grade with.
Problem with school trying to look ideal is somewhat similar to armies that pretend they are near perfect as both are likely to do mistakes but long term ideal image is preserved with covering up scandals and as times goes on people in there probably become more opportunistic about their immunity which further corrodes quality and repels people with better integrity.

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