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While learning C++...

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Is it important to remember every concept? So far I have done the hello world thing, variables, data types, strings, constants, and operators. Is it important to remember every little thing about these or just the main concepts? Should I know all of the operators by heart? All the constants by heart? With upcoming things should I know only the main concepts or should I learn some things by heart? How'd you guys do starting out?

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Nah, don't try to remember stuff like that. Overall concepts are what you need to focus on - for everything else, that's what books and the internet are for.

Stuff will start to sink in over time, but remembering stuff like that has very little to do with being a good programmer. Knowing where to look to find an answer and knowing how to solve a problem are the important skills.

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What is important is not learning things by heart. This sure is useful.

What is important also is not knowing how to retrieve information which you have not learned by heart—although it's useful, it's not fundamental.

What is extremely important is knowing what you don't know. The point is that, whenever you do something in C++, you should:
  • Know by heart how the thing you're using works, including all its specific properties, pitfalls, limitations, guarantees and so on. Or:
  • Have a reference manual open either on your desk on in a browser, listing the specific properties, pitfalls, limitations, guarantees and so on.


If you do something because "you think it should work this way" without being able to quote for certain the exact and precise reasons why it would work (and by this, I mean references), then there is an extremely high probability that it does not, in fact, work reliably at all.

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Memorizing the operators etc. will come once you understand how everything works and fits together. You don't need to sit there and memorize it...the more you do it the more it will stick.

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As others have said, in time you will eventually know some of these things by heart from applying them. I'm sure most professional programmers keep reference books handy just in case. Don't sit there and memorize a list of operators and datatypes; instead apply them and learn from what you actually do with them.

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Trying to memorize is a common obstacle ultimately leads to frustration and giving up, especially when you are trying to learn something that might be completely new to you (like a different engine or API for the very first time).
APIs are becoming easier to use in that respect, with easy to remember class names, descriptive functions (like glVertex3f), etc. Eventually you will remember them after using them enough. Like everyone said, learning the concepts will even aid any transitions to other engines and such.

I currently work in the university setting, and we have a plethora of reference manuals handy, whole shelves in fact. It was a little awkward to pick one up the first time, but everyone was reading them too.

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It is more important to learn what can be done than how to do it.

I would say you should learn all the concepts, but not all the details.

It is also important to practice. Anything you learn you should write a program to try it out.

But spending time trying to memorize stuff is generally a waste of time.

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