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KuroKage

Tips in learning

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Hi, I hope that in this thread, people will give their insights on how they learn things. Not just in programming, but in general. I'm asking this because I feel that I don't maximize the time alloted to me for studying. A lot of times I don't feel motivated and a few times that I think that my energy is overkill. Let me start by asking for advice in reading books. I'm basically not used to reading books until I hit 18 years old (I'm now 21), so I'm not so much used to it yet! Sometimes I just read a sentence/paragraph then realizing that my mind has flown very far away and I didn't understood any of what I have just read at that particular point! Does this happen to you guys too? If so, how do you motivate yourself in countering this? Do I need to eat something that will give me energy or something (my only supplement are vitamins)? Do I need to take a break once every 1 hour? Any insight would be very very much appreciated. What my problem is, basically I don't have enough concentration! I hope a lot of people (in any level) will reply in this thread not only to help me but to others who are possibly in the same boat as I am or just want some tips to maximize their time learning something. THANKS A LOT IN ADVANCE!!

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hi,

I have the same problem...and i usually learn when i want to...f.ex like: "K, now i'll make Half-Life 3!" :), then i'll just go coding and i learn quite a few things. But sometimes i dont want to code at all, most of all beacuse i think: "****, i'll never make anything like Half-Life anyway, why waste time coding?". But the counter for that, is to tell yourself: "If i code,and learn things properly, i might acctually be able to make a game like Half-life 3!" i think of this especially beacuse i'm so young. I'm 14, and you are 21, but that doesn't change anything at all. Just keep coding, and you'll get the motivation. =)

Sincerely,

Zeptera

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Perhaps you're in the same boat as I am. I usually have a lot of trouble concentrating on specific subjects, not only when reading but when listening to people talking or when discussing things. My mind tends to drift away from the subject and I have to force it back down all the time which makes me tired very quickly in these situations.

My personal theory is that since the synapses of the brain to a certain degree is connected differently for different people, my mind tends to think very broadly taking more time and energy to get to the right place, when others' are thinking more narrow but direct causing them to be quicker. The good part is that while thinking so broadly I can encompass a bigger picture more thoroughly than the average, but it doesn't compensate the lack of speed in my thinking.

Anyways, I do have some tips for reading books.
1. Begin in due time.
2. Read the book in multiple passes. First read the topics in the table of contents to get a rough picture of what it is going to cover. Second just flip through the pages looking at all the images(!) Yes actually images are very distractive when you read the text. The mind likes images and will tend to wander off to look at the images instead of the text. Third browse through the text quickly not stopping for difficulties or going back. It is again the rough picture your'e looking for. Fourth read the text if you need to freshen up details about it.
3. Take a lot of (very short) breaks. Just go outside for two minutes and get some air or something like that to flush your mind with different impressions.

Those are some guidelines that I try to follow and I feel they make it somewhat easier to get through the text.

Good luck.

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The same thing happens to me all the time. I'll start off strong, going through like two or three chapters in an afternoon and then do nothing because after three chapters in a beginner programming book all you learn is how to make a better console-mode tic tac toe, unless you actually read and understand it properly.

My advice is to take it slowly. Try a 2 chapters a week + lots of examples. You really should test your knowledge in meaningful ways. So, give yourself "assignments" if you are studying independently, or ask your instructor for extra programming exercises. Also, assign yourself a project that should take about a week to finish and is related to game programming in some way. Ask on the boards, folks should be able to suggest something reasonable if you give an honest description of how advanced you are. So that is two weeks, approximately, devoted to a chapter or two. Then you move on.

Make sure that you continue to use what you learned in previous weeks. In the beginning, you can go at little faster pace but as you go along you should slow down.

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Hi again,

Thanks for all the replies everyone! I truly appreciate it.

@staaf:

Tip no. 2 really hit me in head! It's kind of a bad habit for me to understand every bit of sentence that is laid out. I never consider passing it until I fully understand it, and it takes so much time!!! I also like making art (character/landscape). I realized that tip no.2 is synonymous with a rough sketch! I've been doing this art thing since I was little and never get to realize to apply the sketching principle (meaning 'just a rough idea') to reading books. Really man, thanks a lot! And to skulldrudgery and Zeptera as well. Nice tips bros!!!

Favor, please keep the tips coming!! Don't let this thread die so fast. There's so much more to know! For now, I need some sleep! It's actually 2:30 in the morning here in our country and it's hard to understand 'The art of assembly' when you're in a near-dead state.

THANKS A LOT IN ADVANCE!!

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I (26) too have the same problem most of the time. Mostly when I read to learn it is at night before bed, that tends to help. Also studies have shown that alot of encoding from short-term memory to long-term memory occurs during REM and SWS (Rapid Eye Movement and Slow Wave Sleep respectivly) so make sure you are sleeping good after trying to commit something to memory. See here for a reference.

Also do not study to much at once. It is also show that when learning (e.g. reading actual hands on learning etc.) you will remember more of what is at the begining and ending times that you are learning. So taking a break every hour sounds like a good idea. Also if you do not get something read or do it over and over or try to find another source for the same concept that may be explained a different way.

Personally, I learn much better from doing than just reading, so if you are learning to program or math or something and there are examples in the book and the author suggests to do it by yourself even though they have it all layed out for you- ACTUALLY DO IT! It should help you learn better.

Motovation is also another factor.
Quote:
"If you want to do something, you will find a way...
If you don't want to do it, you will find an excuse..."

Many times I lack motivation, or would rather be playing games than programming them. To help you on this...well I can't, same problem. But ask yourself how bad you want it and how much are you willing to sacrifice for it?

You memtioned food. There are things called 'Brain Foods'. These are things that typically contain a lot of amino acids, gama-aminobuteric acid (GABA), norepinephrine, increase circulation to the blood vessels in your brain, balance serotonin levels and other such healthy stuff. Then...caffeine!! I used to be a 2 pot of coffee and a few Red Bull a day guy, but now after being off it for a few months, my body does not react well with it. Or try guarana (the natural source of caffeine) which is I believe a bark from a tree. There are also dietary suppliments that suposedly help memory, which can be found on-line or in a local store. An Example. My advice on this, dunno, take it or leave it.

Also try looking on line for different learning methods, there may be some things out there that will work better for you.

Finally, I am not a doctor but have you ever been tested for ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). This is a chemical imbalance in the brain which can cause you not to be able to concentrate on any one thing for any amount of time and make your mind wander. I also feel this disease is very often misdiagnosed and may people (especially children) who are on medication for it shouldn't be. But parents today just have a kid acting normal (hyper) and pump them full of ritalin. Sorry to get off topic there but that issue just pisses me off.

Well hope I helped and whatever you are trying to accomplish I hope you stick with it and succeed.

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That last post was me I don't know why it logged me out. And as an AP it didn't show the links.

I (26) too have the same problem most of the time. Mostly when I read to learn it is at night before bed, that tends to help. Also studies have shown that alot of encoding from short-term memory to long-term memory occurs during REM and SWS (Rapid Eye Movement and Slow Wave Sleep respectivly) so make sure you are sleeping good after trying to commit something to memory. See here for a reference.

Also do not study to much at once. It is also show that when learning (e.g. reading actual hands on learning etc.) you will remember more of what is at the begining and ending times that you are learning. So taking a break every hour sounds like a good idea. Also if you do not get something read or do it over and over or try to find another source for the same concept that may be explained a different way.

Personally, I learn much better from doing than just reading, so if you are learning to program or math or something and there are examples in the book and the author suggests to do it by yourself even though they have it all layed out for you- ACTUALLY DO IT! It should help you learn better.

Motovation is also another factor.
Quote:
"If you want to do something, you will find a way...
If you don't want to do it, you will find an excuse..."

Many times I lack motivation, or would rather be playing games than programming them. To help you on this...well I can't, same problem. But ask yourself how bad you want it and how much are you willing to sacrifice for it?

You memtioned food. There are things called 'Brain Foods'. These are things that typically contain a lot of amino acids, gama-aminobuteric acid (GABA), norepinephrine, increase circulation to the blood vessels in your brain, balance serotonin levels and other such healthy stuff. Then...caffeine!! I used to be a 2 pot of coffee and a few Red Bull a day guy, but now after being off it for a few months, my body does not react well with it. Or try guarana (the natural source of caffeine) which is I believe a bark from a tree. There are also dietary suppliments that suposedly help memory, which can be found on-line or in a local store. An Example. My advice on this, dunno, take it or leave it.

Also try looking on line for different learning methods, there may be some things out there that will work better for you.

Finally, I am not a doctor but have you ever been tested for ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). This is a chemical imbalance in the brain which can cause you not to be able to concentrate on any one thing for any amount of time and make your mind wander. I also feel this disease is very often misdiagnosed and may people (especially children) who are on medication for it shouldn't be. But parents today just have a kid acting normal (hyper) and pump them full of ritalin. Sorry to get off topic there but that issue just pisses me off.

Well hope I helped and whatever you are trying to accomplish I hope you stick with it and succeed.

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1. Sleep properly and regularly. This is the most important aspect of learning anything - if you don't sleep enough you will have huge difficulty learning.

2. Eat plenty of *fresh* fruits and vegetables.

3. Eat oily fish (Tuna and Salmon for example). This has been proven to stimulate your mind. *Do not* use tinned fish instead of fresh!

4. Fresh air and exercise regularly. This helps your heart and blood flow, as well as stimulating various chemicals which help your mind.

5. Sleep properly. I know it's number 1 too, but it's really that important.

I know all this stuff because I'm disabled and in constant pain, so I can have huge problems concentrating. This is a list of advice I've been given by various medical people over the years which I've found very helpful.

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Hi again,

@McCoy:

Thanks for the links!

Quote:
Sorry to get off topic there but that issue just pisses me off.


Not at all. It's actually very useful. I realize that being able to concentrate well in learning things has a lot more factors than anyone could have thought of and those links and insights you've provided are one of those.

@phatdom:

Yes, I would definitely agree that sleep is by far the most important! There's just no way that 5-6 hours of sleep will be effecient. Also, I exercise in the morning with no food in my stomach yet! I hope that's not counter productive or anything with regards to my brain. Anyways, thanks too.

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What I did was, take up multiple little, easier things and work on them, instead of focusing on 1 'difficult' subject.
I tend to get mad when I do not understand a subject, and I was a slow learner, but thanks to this approach I mananged to increase my knowledge about several things which interested me. I do the same even now (when one project is getting stuck, I switch to the other. This helped me a lot.:P

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