How to Learn Faster with the Feynman Technique (Example Included)

There’s this pretty well
known quote that gets thrown around a lot and it’s often
attributed to Albert Einstein and it goes, Now whether or not Einstein was the person who actually said this, let’s
be real he probably wasn’t, it’s still really insightful
and reversing it reveals a pretty powerful piece of study advice. Now this idea is something
I touched on briefly back in my video summary of
the Study Less, Study Smart lecture by Doctor Marty
Lubdell, because in that lecture he talked about one of the
effective study techniques being to teach what you’re
learning to someone else. So in this video, I want to
dig deeper into that idea and share with you a step-by-step
process for doing this, which has been called
the Feynman Technique. Now this technique is
named after the physicist who was, in his own
right, a great scientist. In fact, back in 1965, he won
a Nobel Prize for his work in quantum electrodynamics,
which is something I had to practice saying a
couple of different times, and he contributed to science
in a number of different ways, including in the development
of what are called Feynman diagrams, which
are basically graphical representations of the math behind how subatomic particles work. But in addition to
being a great scientist, he was also a great teacher
and a great explainer. And in fact, one of his nicknames
was “The Great Explainer,” because he was able to
boil down incredibly complex concepts and put
them in simple language that other people could understand. And that’s why he’s one
of those great scientists who is also known as a very good teacher. And in fact, even in his own
learning, Feynman was famous for tirelessly working through
equations until the concept he was wrangling with was
intuitively easy to understand, in his mind. So that’s why this technique
is named after him, but you don’t have to be a
physicists or you don’t have to be working on math or
science problems to use this technique, because
explaining a concept works to improve your understanding
of that concept in basically an area, be it history or be it math, or be it web development. It doesn’t matter, and it also works for multiple different purposes. If you’re shaky on a concept
and you want to quickly improve your understanding,
you can use it. But if you already have
a pretty confident grasp of a subject, and say you’ve
got a test coming up soon, you can also use it to
test your understanding and challenge your assumptions. As Feynman himself said, The ultimate way to ensure
that you actually understand all the little nitty-gritty
details of a concept in head is to explain it to someone else, or at least to pretend you’re doing so. And that is the crux of
the Feynman technique. So, let’s get into it. It’s a process of four
steps and the first step is to simply get out a
piece of paper and write the name of the technique down at the top. And in the example I filmed
here, we’re gonna use the Pythagorean Theorem
because it is simple and it won’t get in the
way of the actual steps we’re going to go through. Step two is to explain
the concept and to do it in simple, plain English, or French, or really whatever
language you happen to speak. But the idea here is to
do it in a way that’s easy to understand as if you
were teaching someone else. And don’t just settle with
defining the concept either. Also work through examples
and make sure you’re able to use the concept in practice, as well. For step three, identify any of the areas that you’re shaky on
after your explanation or identify areas that you got stuck on that halted your explanation and go back to the source material
or go back to your notes or work through examples
until your understanding of these subareas is just as solid as all the other areas. And finally, step four is
to look at your explanation and try to identify any
areas where you’ve resorted to using technical terms
of convoluted language and then challenge yourself
to break down those terms and explain them in simplified,
easy to understand words. Remember, the key here is simplicity. The act of explaining a
topic as if you were teaching it to somebody who
didn’t have the same base assumptions and base
knowledge that you have is the ultimate test of your
own knowledge in that subject. And that’s pretty much
it, that’s all there is to the Feynman technique. Now using this tecnhique
is incredibly helpful because it, number one,
helps you to quickly overview the concept and see where
your knowledge is solid, but number two, it helps
you to instantly pinpoint the areas where you’re shaky and where you need to do extra work. And that makes this
technique a great first step in reviewing a concept
because it’s very efficient and it helps you waste less time. I did want to give you guys
one extra suggestion though, and it relates to how you frame your mind going into step four. Instead of just thinking
how can I make this simple, how can I put it in plain
English, also think, how would I explain this to a kid? Why? Well besides asking questions like, “Can I have another Oreo,” or “Can I go watch Dragonball Z?” A kid’s gonna ask, “Why does that work?” And that’s gonna help
challenge your assumptions. For instance, going back
to our Pythagorean Theorem example, maybe you know the formula, but a kid would ask you
why does that formula work? Why does the Pythagorean
Theorem hold as a rule for all right triangles? And yeah, maybe you
understand that intuitively, maybe you could bust out
the proof by rearrangement, but maybe you can’t. Maybe you’ve always looked at the formula and taken it at face value, in which case, you have some more learning to do. Now speaking of the Pythagorean Theorem, maybe that was a bit
too simple of an example for you and you’d like
to see this technique applied to something
more complex or something that has nothing to do with math at all. If that’s you, in the companion
article for this video, I’ve included a couple
of different examples. One going through Bayes’
Rule, which is a concept and probability theory in statistics, and one going over the CSS
Box Model, which is related to web development and not
related to math, at all, that you can check out. So if you want to see those,
you can click the card on the screen right now to
get over to the article, or you could find the link
down in the description below. Beyond that, if you enjoyed this video and found it helpful,
definitely give it a like to support this channel and
if you have addition tips or ways that you use this
technique personally, I would love to hear from you
down in the comments below. Additionally, if you’re not
subscribed to this channel yet and you want to get new tips
on how to be a more productive student, you can click
right there to subscribe and you can also click right
there if you want to get a free copy of my book on
how to earn better grades. Otherwise you can click right around there to find another video which you will probably find interesting. Thanks for watching and I
will see you in the next one.

Comments 100

  • Correction on the example – 25 + 9 = 34, so C would be 5.83.

    Bonus tip: Don't do math at midnight while also trying to pack for a 5am flight

  • I have the slight feeling…. This will work with music as well…..

  • من ترجم الفديدو؟

  • Anybody notice his hairline has improved quite a bit? 👌👏

  • I kind of was already doing this without realizing it, I work in IT and we have a shared knowledge base. In the past my colleagues have written them up and they are hard to read and understand. When I began writing some of my own I was determined to write it exactly how I would want to read this and thats to eliminate as many questions which might arise as you are going through with also adding images (as often they can clarify meaning and confirm what you should be seeing)

    Overall my writeup's even months after first doing them I can go back and easily follow them

  • Could anybody tell me how to stop procrastinating in Feynman technique?

  • You can't explain. You are full of BS

  • very good,, helpfull for me

  • This is how i got through biochem

  • Will surely like it if it works

  • Does anyone have some ideas for this technique can be applied to learning a language? I'm not very academically minded so struggle when revising my class notes/homework
    Thanks for the video

  • Hmm… Sherlock Holmes did that by explaining stuff to Dr. Watson and he often discovered missed links in his logic by doing so.

  • I was actually doing IT all along.
    But its nice to know that more people will know IT. I AM Just making fun out off those concepts

  • “Can I watch Dragon Ball Z?”
    Shows a naruto figurine

  • Why is Naruto DBZ may I have to grow up… Plus am almost 40 but know the difference 😂

  • Record yourself explaining or record your lecture, and listen to it while on transport or while running etc

  • Incredible video. I will certainly recommend it to my students, who constantly are in need of finding the best strategy

  • thank you so much for such a great explanation, with an easy way

  • I think that quote (about not understanding if one can't explain) is probably true, but probably only in "calm situations", haha, if one is shy…one might not be able to explain something because one is nervous too, even if one understands…and, yes, I would know, haha…

  • You make awesome videos! Thank you! ❤️

  • I find the "try to explain it to a kid" part to be wrong. You don't have to make it simple, you have to make as simple as possible, which most of the times it means it will still be complicated. Otherwise you will have to not go into details and I think that, when you are in college and after, details are what makes the difference

  • Guys, this is remarkable. I am not a snowflake. There must be many. But I discovered exactly this technique 4 weeks ago. I write a topic down in the centre of a page then I build a mindmap around it. I go as far as my memory, intuition and other thinking faculties take me. Then, I look at it and say to myself 'this is all I know when I am at rest. Not more. Not less.' Then I look back into source material to build more content in the mind map. When I revise, I do the same exercise. If I don't recall some parts i.e. they need some mnemonic which I can further link with the mindmap.

  • Lol, am I the only person who noticed that 25 + 9 = 34, not 36? So its square root is not 6! 3, 5 and 6 are not even a Pythagorean Triple! LMAO
    Other than that, thanks for the video dude!
    I realized that 100% of the times I was successful in teaching myself something new, it involved talking to my brothers about it, making a meme about it, talking to myself about it in shower etc.

  • How to become a theoretical physicist ?

  • "I was a normal person, who studied hard" – Jerry Seinfeld

  • kind of cool technique….. and I will confirm after I tested it practically.

  • So many otakus here👆🏽👇🏽👈🏽🤟🏽✌🏽

  • Thank you sir, it's an amazing technique

  • This channel is amazing. Thanks dude.

  • Just have kids, why dad but why yeah dad I get that but why? You always come to a point where you go, I don’t have a clue sweetheart

  • says dragon ball z, shows Naruto

  • I have been using this tech…un consiously.

  • the energy you put out is the energy you gain like in game exp is what you get for doing something

  • how to master a language fastly

  • If I was to describe how I think I'd have to say…Feynstien

  • koi hai bhartiya to isko bolo pythagorean theorem to ham bachpan me padha karte the

  • "I don't care if Richard Feynman was a purple Leprechaun who lives inside my butt"..

  • This is not the way to make you learn faster. But will absolutely make you more knowledgeable and wisdom.

  • "Can i watch Dragon Ball Z"
    (Shows a picture of Naruto)

  • New sub! Just found your channel, so wrapped I stumbled across your content.. Greetings to you from me here- (as it turns out to be – named famously this county as it is) ,,we are known to say from the big Downunder(haha, bit of history) ..anyhow thanks heaps!! and much love all the way from Oz 🇦🇺

  • This guy is brilliant.

  • 💓☑💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜☑💓
    If you want to memorise fast and you can't cram then
    Try this approach for a week and if results are fruitful then continue using it
    🌐 Select 2 chapters
    🌐 Read those selected chapters critically for 5-7 days,(don't repeat paragraphs or lines more than once in a day) just read deeply thoughtfully once, that whole chapter e.g
    Chap A read critically ,done ,Chap B critically read done (Day 1 of 7 done) after following 7 days you will get a grounded grip of those 2 chapters in particular
    🌐 Then give a test honestly of those 2 chapters at an institution(Don't shy away from tests please)
    Followup result of such test
    Do try it for once ,especially people who can't cram
    🔊🔊🔊🔊 ‼‼‼‼
    By critically reading I mean
    💟You must know the meaning of each and every word/term
    💟You must solve all illustrations and examples on the page
    💟(optional)You must try to link the idea of paragraph or line with real life situation)

    ⚠ However
    if the content on a page in your subject book has step wise procedures,well then you have to cram its headings only…ofcourse you can cram headings in contrast to cramming explanations..Good luck 🎓

  • Thank you for teaching us how to learn better.

  • All this seems simple but however when you are trying to explain this to no-it -all's they just don't want to deal with it as you are explaining it to them .

  • I had never heard of Baye's Theorem but I have been using it to understand and win at blackjack.

  • "If you can't explain it simply, then you don't understand it well enough"
    Nobody understands anything anymore in that case and its all just memorization. Or people just try to explain things as complex as possible to sound smart.

  • This is very useful. Thank you.

  • Hey, It's Naruto not Dragon ball Z Thomas,

    BTW the video is awesome, keep posting these helpful videos

  • Wonderful

  • In 4:21 you say Dragonball but that's actually Naruto on the screen 😀 but nonetheless it's a great video, very helpfull 🙂

  • To the "Why" question, I would add "How can I use it" because sometimes we rely in the formulas and don't give actual application to the real life. And that happens to a lot of topics/subjects.

  • chutiyapa

  • Sir Hindi subtitles please

  • Speaks about dragon ball and shows naruto! Lol😂🤣

  • Love u from india

  • Why does heat cause an object to glow, where are the photons coming from- is light a component of matter?

  • 0:44 should have said "a fine man" missed oppurtunity 🙁

  • Waste of time!! He could have said everything he said in ten seconds!! “If you want to learn something new, practice teaching it to a six year old”

  • Why always 2 minute introduction

  • Sometimes you just can't teach astrophysics to a cockroach. I rather save my breath.

  • I use faster speed on vids, teach my mind to adapt, which it has to. Also, take a speed read course.

  • To know in deep know the history of it, it creates more roots in your mind. This is what Bill Gates does.

  • Hewhosmelleditdealtit

  • You have to be slow when you are explaining something…that's the rule number 1, you have to learn.

  • I had a bad economics professor in college. He didn't know how to explain things. He actually spent most of his time writing books just to make money. Students couldn't understand what he was saying. Everyone would go after other books or ask other teachers. He is still there and he doesn't care about being a good teacher. When students write complains he says that the subject is hard to understand. I had the same class with other teachers and I could understand perfectly. Sincerely you can learn a lot of things by yourself today without going to a class. There are many YouTube videos better than many university classes. Some professors should just shut up and play a You tube video.

  • Thomas, you're a Legend 😎

  • Lol I didn't know the name of this method before watching this video but I'm using this since I was in 3 or 4 std.

  • Multiple different

  • this is a technique I've been using since god knows when. College? I think just after high school. It's also a good method to use to group lots of theories or segments or ancillary information together to come up with overviews of varying depth and/or complexity.

  • Start of your video is slow

  • After utilizing this technique, your child will become an engineer at the age of 10.

  • The Feynman technique is simply a subset of the GSS system.

    The General/Specific/Summarized system… is the best way to learn and understand a given topic.

    The 3 phases of this system are:
    #1. General – doing the overview of the entire topic.

    #2. Specifics – drilling down the components of the topic. This is where the Feynman technique is very useful.

    #3. Summarized – another general overview of the components of the topic in an holistic sense after phase #2 is completed.

    Some components of this system can be combined to lessen the period of studying. Eg phase #1 and #2 can run concurrently.

  • Dude, that’s Naruto. He ain’t from DBZ. lol 😅

  • I stumbled upon this principle independently when I wasn’t sure I understood something. It wasn’t coming together in my head comfortably. But when I started to explain it to someone I found myself grasping concepts as I went along like a series of lights turning on as I walked down a dark tunnel.

  • This video could have profited from actually reading/listening to Feynman and Einstein. About explaining something simple, well, Einstein stated it this way: he would have to teach you mathematics at least for months, more probably for years – mathematics being a necessary language – if you were to understand the theory of general relativity. I do not think he ever claimed that one understands a thing if one can explain it “simply”, as to an ignorant person or a child – this seems like propaganda employing an “Einstein ghost” to push its agenda. Feynman is of the same opinion as Einstein (uses the same argument), see some of his lectures on Physics here on Youtube. It is also weird to hear this when what Feynman seemed to stress was that one should aim for “understanding” rather than “literacy” of scientific knowledge. That one must be able to use the knowledge to solve problems, that one must attain it in a form such that it is a key. Did someone just dub the technique “the Feynman Technique” because it sounded good?

  • Tried this technique for the first and it does work and my memory is not so good. Hopefully, it continues to work now with longer sentences or music

  • 4:20: “Can I go watch Dragon Ball Z?”
    *naruto figurine slides into view*

  • I always used this technique but thought only i knew about it.I don't even know a scientist discovered this!!!!😅😅🧕🧕

  • Going to use this with korean grammar!

  • 4:20 Talking about dragon ball z but showing naruto😂😂😂.

  • Was that Richard guy dyslexic or something?

  • "I was a normal person, who studied hard" – Jerry Seinfeld

  • Why teaching other helps you study?

  • I love that desktop wallpaper.

  • Don’t think I didn’t notice that Naruto mfer

  • I'm using this technique from last 3 years and honestly saying this technique had helped me lot
    Ty Feynman Technique
    Lot's of Love 💚 from Kashmir (India)

  • I thought it was, "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it fully."


  • Where can I get this awesome desktop background?

  • While try to be a teacher myself.
    Thank you

  • I think I have used the Feynman techinique my whole life. I think I started to use this method in middle school for studying History, I saw it worked really well and kept doing it. Now I am in my second year of university, and I can assure you that it's giving great results.

    It sure takes a lot to try to re-organize all of my notes taked during lectures and maybe textbooks information in a logical order and always making sure I have everything clear, but when I am in my revision time it takes zero time. Everything is already clear and well understood!

    Before an exam I always repeat all the infomations speaking out loud not looking at my notes, I basically fake to explain the concepts to sombody else.

  • I think the best way of learning science topics is to go through the misconception and prove them why they are not correct…….and then explain the rule

  • If u had gotten to the point, I would have watched….

  • 1 take a piece of paper and write the concept's name on top
    2- Explain The Concept using simple language
    3-identify the problem areas then go back to sources to review
    4-pin point any compicated terms and challenge yourself to simplify it

  • Good explanation.

  • "The Great Explainer".
    These days he would be called The Great Mansplainer 🙁

  • awesome video man thank you

  • Thank you so much. 😊

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