Reddit Reddit reviews A Mind For Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra)

We found 47 Reddit comments about A Mind For Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra). Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.

Memory Improvement Self-Help
A Mind For Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra)
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47 Reddit comments about A Mind For Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra):

u/dwainetrain · 772 pointsr/Showerthoughts

Video games provide dopamine responses. So they are addictive. Good studying can provide this too if you structure it right. When you boot up a game, music plays, an intro video rolls, and you can start to feel your physical response system kick in. Anticipation starts dumping dope in. The quest and mechanics are clear. You could create this kind of environment for study time. Also check out, A Mind for Numbers , it's an excellent guidebook for keeping your study habits in line. It's not just about math.

Keep at It!

u/cleethby · 24 pointsr/india

Khan Academy. Start from the basics. I also highly recommend reading this.

u/Zuslash · 18 pointsr/ProgrammerHumor

This process (called the diffused mode of the brain) is discussed in depth in a book I read a few years ago called A Mind For Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra).

Would highly recommend if anyone is interested in how your brain learns things - especially abstract concepts like mathematics and programming.

u/tekalon · 15 pointsr/IWantToLearn

I suggest reading 'A Mind for Numbers' and/or take the companion Coursera course 'Learning How to Learn'. It goes through the science behind how you learn and give study strategies. I read this book before I plan on learning any new skill. I recently passed the PMP using skills from this book.

u/nomadProgrammer · 14 pointsr/learnprogramming

this is normal. You must get used to frustration. It's just normal and is the way the brain learns.

I have been programming for more or less 4 months and at the beginning the most simple problems where very diffucult for me. like for loops, then I mastered that, then came 2 level for-loops, and I was like damn, then I mastered. Then came for-each loop, diffucult at beginning easier with time.

When I first learned about arrays I was like what is this shit and why it's so difficult, now I get em, then arraylist, then hashmap, etc...

Just focus on baby steps. Don't try to shove in a million things at the same time. Exercise, eat well and your brain will be at 100% capacity.


Something that has also helped me is learn to learn (or metacognition).

a mind for numbers really good book.

Learning to learn will really help you understand the brain learns and how to hack it.

Also consider programming is as likely an art as it's a science, and in order to excel in any art you must practice, in this case code and code and code. Everyday a lil bit at least that my mantra.

EDIT: Also never consider yourself dumb because of a book, some book are just terrible at explaining and teaching stuff, its like if this Ph.D. guys that write this books know so much that they somehow forgot how it was not knowing about the stuff they are teaching! Look headfirst series they are pretty good and easy to understand.

u/b64fut · 13 pointsr/CSULB

Sounds to me like you are studying a fuckton, and that work ethic is not your problem. There are lots of hacks, like the pomodoro technique, or studying in a public place, or making schedules, etc, if you're having trouble with motivation or focus, but if you're studying as much as you say you are, I don't think that's the problem.

You don't need to study more, you need to study smarter.

"Studying" encompasses a lot of things. Reading. Re-reading. Looking over notes. Highlighting. Flash cards. Doing exercises. Etc. Not all studying is created equal. Not even close. As a general heuristic, you want to study in ways that are Active and Challenging as much as possible. If you aren't frequently getting things wrong, you're not doing it right. If you're reading or looking over notes, then you can't be wrong because "being wrong" doesn't even apply to that situation. Those are passive activities. You need to be putting yourself out there, taking a stab, and then checking if it's right. And you want to always be working at the edge of your abilities. If you aren't failing, you aren't learning. If you're getting everything right, move to something harder. De-stigmatize failure. Provided that you find out why/how you were wrong, and work to improve it and do better next time, failure is good. Fail often. Fail fast. Fail as fast as possible.

Think of it like physical exercise. You don't get strong by hanging around a gym. Or by reading about lifting. Or watching. Or thinking. You have to do work. And the work has to be hard. If you aren't struggling, you aren't building muscle. Being unable to do the last rep and needing a spot is a good thing. It means you are working at your limit. The brain is not a muscle, but it works an awful lot like one.

And on the topic of physical exercise, are you getting enough? A healthy/active body goes a long way towards a healthy/active mind.

Feynman Technique:
Basically, if you can't teach it, you don't know it. You need to be able to explain what you are doing from the ground up. Pretend you are talking to someone who has no familiarity with what you are doing, and you have to make them understand it completely. Or don't pretend, get a friend in a different major and take turns helping each other out. You'll uncover a lot of holes in your thinking that you didn't realize were there until you thought about how to communicate it to someone else. (this technique it's well known and there's a million articles/videos about it so look it up if you want more)

Also, why are you asking here? I mean, good for you , you're asking, you are actively seeking help, you are doing the right thing. But with the world wide web full of information at your fingertips, did you really think the people the best study tips were going to happen to attend your university? Sorry, I feel like I sound mean. I'm trying to help you, this is important. If you're trying to learn something, do so in the most effective way possible. Right now you are trying to learn how to learn. Seeking the advice of locals on reddit is not the best way to do that. There are probably subreddits dedicated to this topic that are repositories of years worth of accumulated advice from thousands of people. There are experts who have written books. Etc. It's not bad that you asked here. You just failed. Which is good. Next time you'll know there are probably more effective ways to find knowledge.

Further reading:

A Mind for Numbers- Barbara Oakley
Excellent book on how to learn. I've read a lot of books on this/related topics and this is the one I recommend the most. It focuses on how to learn Math/Science, but the knowledge is definitely applicable to any subject. I have a digital copy, if you have an eReader(or just want to read it on your computer screen I guess). Let me know if you want me to send it to you. .epub or .mobi. Also there are hard copies available from the Long Beach Public Library system.

Thomas Frank- youtuber
He has a million videos on study tips. Lots of really good advice. But be careful not to fall into watching hours of his videos instead of actually studying. Not that I've ever done that...
Here's a relevant few to start with:

u/jboyd88 · 13 pointsr/GetStudying

I'll share my reading list for the next 12 months as it's how I plan to become a better learner:



u/Tannerdactyl · 8 pointsr/tumblr

Hey if you truly feel this way and want to improve, I’ve got a recommendation for you:

Give it an earnest try and it’ll at the very least change how you view math. Good luck friend :)

u/avec_katzen · 8 pointsr/learnmath

Man, I feel like I'm pimping this book all over the place lately, but seriously everyone struggling in math (or science) should check out "A Mind For Numbers" by Barbara Oakley. She addresses the common reasons people fail at math and also teaches how to use your diffuse and focused modes of thinking (very similar, imo, to the comment /u/The_White_Baron made about math requiring both creative and critical thinking). Diffuse mode thinking is where your brain takes the ideas you've taken in during focused mode and makes the intuitive connections to other topics and areas of knowledge, setting up more diverse connections to that concept, which makes retrieval easier. I implemented the ideas presented in the book in my statistics course and went from a 79% (just below class average) on the first exam to a 97.5% (highest in the class) on the next exam. It is absolutely one of the most valuable books I've read in years.


Link for anyone who is interested:

u/DukeBerith · 7 pointsr/cscareerquestions

Eh I'm sure a lot of people will tell you it's normal. It is for me! I like to solve things and I hate leaving challenges unsolved.

Letting your brain rest from all that focus is one of the best ways to have it "click" later. There are a few books about this (I enjoyed this one personally, even though the title is misleading as it's more of a book about learning).

If you know your codebase is getting screwed from bugs, invest in learning how to use your language's debugger and learn it well. You can print('HERE') all you like but stepping through the code and inspecting the environment as you go is invaluable.

u/schrodin11 · 7 pointsr/Python

You can, also, still learn to be good at math, it is never too late and not as hard as you might think. Just time consuming.

Never believe it is some built in 'I'm just bad at math' thing. That is just silly.

I am not sure what your level is but just hunt down a High School Algebra book and get started. Just read a section and practice 4 or 5 problems an evening until you think you got that section down. You would be amazed at how it starts to come together after a month or two of that. Then build on it and you will be amazed that how, if you set the foundation, the rest builds easily.

I recomend the book I linked to a few people as well.

u/IamprisonmikeAMA · 6 pointsr/WVU

Honestly man, I’m sorta in the same boat. Doing engineering and calc is killing me, but if engineering is really what you want to do you should stick with it.

Failure sucks, and if you’re younger maybe this is the first time you’ve really been really challenged by school or life. Sometimes when things get tough its easy to look for an easy exit. But thats quitting on yourself, even if you dress it up all nice to fool yourself and your friends. At the end of the day you should be looking to push yourself at college, and breezing through your coursework is not that. You should be challenged. Embrace the suck.

That being said, if you’re just doing engineering just because its “prestigious” or for the eventual high pay then yeah go ahead and reevaluate. But if you want it, I can guarantee you can do it. Even if you have to retake a class or two.

This book has helped a lot of people improve their math abilities, it might be worth looking into.

u/dillanthumous · 6 pointsr/learnmath

+1 for Professor Leonard on YouTube - Slow and Steady pace, lots of detail, lots of repetition.

Also, buy this book and implement what it teaches you:

They also have a Coursera course:

u/NoEfficientAlgorithm · 4 pointsr/ASU

I took that class online with Loy. My guess is it's exactly the same as the one you took; just doing a bunch of MyMathLab questions. The class is difficult because the amount of content it goes through and the pace at which it does so, I doubt you're horrible at math or anything like that. Careful about selling yourself short.

My suggestion is to watch the videos put out there by ProfRobBob on YouTube ( and just keep drilling the MyMathLab practice tests you're given. If you can ace the those practice tests you will ace the class, the final and midterm are the same problems with different numbers. Get a tutor to help out if you're really stumped. I ended up getting an A+ in that class, not because I'm gifted a math but because I studied a ton. I imagine you're taking the course as a prerequisite for Calculus, best to establish the good habits now because the difficulty of material and the pace will ratchet up even more in subsequent courses. You've gotta put in time for math and science courses, no good way around it. Check out this book if you need study tips:

u/sanegulp · 4 pointsr/Suomi

Pari juttua:

  1. Eka vuosi teknillisessä oli ainakin siinä mielessä itselleni hankalampi kuin myöhemmät, että tehtiin paljon ns. peruskursseja, joihin ei syvällistä kiinnostusta ollut ja siten tuli hieman ongelmia. Tiedosta, että ehkä kurssien aiheet muuttuvat kiinnostavammiksi ja siten "helpommiksi" myöhemmin. Tämä tietysti auttaa vain jos sun ongelmat on ns. "motivaatiopohjaisia". Toisaalta jos tuntuu siltä että kaikki on paskaa, ja voit hyvällä syyllä olettaa ettei se johdu vain tämän hetkisestä vitutuksesta, niin voihan se olla että kannattaa vaihtaa tutkintoa.

  2. Paljonko on suunniteltuja opintopisteitä? Tähtää mieluummin siihen Kelan minimirajaan kuin 60 noppaan kun olet teknillisessä ja asiat tuntuu vaikeilta. Toki sielläkin on Einsteineja, jotka vetää 70 noppaa/vuosi opiskelematta, mutta kannattaa löysätä jos tuntuu että alkaa vanne kiristää.

  3. Opettele oppimaan tehokkaasti. Suurin osa ihmisistä ei osaa opiskella mitenkään järkevästi. Luennoilla käydään unohtaen kaikki ja viimeisenä iltana päntätään helvetisti, että tentistä ehkä päästään läpi. Suosittelen siis käyttämään kunnollisia opiskelutekniikoita. Niiden soveltaminen vaatii aluksi hieman kuria ja yritystä, mutta tekevät opiskelusta helpompaa ja myös tehokkaampaa, eli osaat oppimasi asiat kunnolla pienemmällä vaivalla. Teniikoita voit opetella joko tältä ilmaiselta Coursera kurssilta: tai samaisen Oakleyn kirjasta tai suomalaisen opiskelijan hiukan kevyemmästä kirjasta Noista suosittelisin erityisesti tuota kurssia ja sitten ehkä tuota Valkosen kirjaa.

  4. Käy opintopsykologille juttelemassa. Kävin itse jokunen vuosi sitten pari kertaa juttelemassa. Ihan hyviä neuvoja sieltä sai opiskelujen hallintaan yms.
u/[deleted] · 3 pointsr/islam

Walaikuma Salam Wa RahmatAllahi Wa Barakatohu.


  • As for the issue of masturbation, check out: /MuslimNoFap
  • For Salah, repent to Allah immediately (offer 2 Rakat, then do your 5 daily prayers on time from here on out).
  • Continue to recite/read the Quran daily.
  • Be patient with your parents.
  • Check this book and course out to help you with your failing classes: Learning How to Learn Course and A Mind for Numbers
  • Don't be too hard on yourself, when you sin, immediately repent and try again. If you fail and repent 100 times it's better than saying, ah, I give up!
  • For depression, try getting new hobbies, going to the gym, hanging out with good company, eating more nutritious foods (neurochemistry plays a role in feelings/mood).

    May Allah make things easier for you.
u/diegopsyco · 3 pointsr/italy

Mi sono iscritto su Coursera a Learning how to learn e tra le risorse consigliate c'è questo libro che ho comprato
Qualcuno lo ha letto? Sembra che spieghi metodi innovativi per approcciare lo studio di materie scientifiche.

u/KoshOne · 2 pointsr/college or you can read the book the class is based on.

Yes, it says math and science but really it's about how the brain learns and it could help you.

u/Namunelbo · 2 pointsr/learnmath

Since you're into programming and think very logically, I recommend as the stickied post on this sub 'How to Learn Math', specifically the sources from Art of Problem Solving AoPS.

If you don't mind spending a little then I think they're a great source for building up to pre-calculus and calculus. I started with their books and then build up enough confidence to read works from Serge Lang (like 'Basic Mathematics' and 'Geometry: a High School Course') and there's something so compelling in Lang's writing that make his reading enjoyable (mind you the basic math books from Lang and not the more advanced books that some people might consider a mess).

You can check also the free videos from AoPS on youtube Link, the way Richard Rusczyk teaches math makes me want to learn math everyday. Mind you, that although AoPS advertises itself for math competition students or gifted students, older students (including adults) can also benefit greatly from this.
Their approach is to let the student think and try to come up with a solution before teaching you the theory behind, I find their teaching ideal for people with interest in programming (like their problem solving books).

Since you mentioned pre-algebra using Khan Academy, if you're also interested in some examples from AoPS pre-algebra book just message me.
I know sometimes using Khan can also be confusing, I had those feelings at first too, before diversifying into more sources to learn from.

Edit: Also don't worry and cheer up! Whether you have dyscalculia or not, I don't think it changes the fact that you want to understand math and by asking here you're also proving that fact. When I was younger, dumber and more immature I also thought I had dyscalculia, no matter how I tried to understand and do math, I just couldn't do it. Eventually finding sources like AoPS, gave me the little push I needed, giving me another perspective and made me realize how terrible my fundamentals were. Don't be afraid to start from the most basics, also Barbara's Oakley book is great too link, math is a lot about practice, having your fundamentals well set and looking from multiple perspectives.

u/peregrin5 · 2 pointsr/college

Study smarter, not harder.

May I direct you to: "How to become a Straight-A Student" by Cal Newport. In this book are a lot of strategies to help you learn more while not burning out at the same time.

Also there are smarter ways to study for math and science courses than just chugging at the material again and again until hopefully some of it sticks in your head. "A Mind for Numbers" by Barbara Oakley is a good read for math/science courses.

u/totallyTubu · 2 pointsr/getdisciplined

I highly recommend the book A Mind for Numbers especially if you'll be taking any type of math courses. It's a really great book that gives you tools about learning HOW to learn. Read this before the semester starts. Once you start school, definitely take advantage of any campus resources you can. A lot of times schools will offer study groups for lower level classes that students commonly struggle in. Go to those every week. Make friends with other students. You can compare homeworks with them or study together. Never skip class (not even once). Once you skip for the first time it ALWAYS snowballs into skipping more often. Get a good planner/agenda. The first week of class write down all your midterm, final, and homework due dates. Use your planner to keep a to-do list of what needs to be done. Each day, sit down and complete at least one thing on the list. After a while, getting things done off of your to do list will become addicting and it will feel good to get things done early vs procrastinating and waiting until the last minute. Try to start off your semester with good habits. Once you get that first good exam grade back, that feeling of good grades will help push you to keep it up for the remainder of the semester. Good luck!

u/Skizzy_Mars · 2 pointsr/uofu

The actual calculus is actually really simple, you just have to avoid letting it intimidate you. Almost every problem can be broken down into a few easy steps. If you're not great at math, or just interested in getting better at it, A Mind for Numbers is a really good read.

Trig just isn't really relevant to business applications, you're not missing anything. They skipped it when I took the class 2 years ago, not sure what the current curriculum is.

u/javendao · 2 pointsr/IWantToLearn

Check the “Learn to Learn” course I’m Coursera. One of the instructors is an author of books that are related to improve learning of science subjects. The course link is: Learn to Learn. One of the books is A mind for Numbers. I really recommend you to do this course or read the book. If it makes it easier, get the audiobook. Audible has 1 month trial that you can use.

u/iOzmo · 2 pointsr/EngineeringStudents

A Mind For Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra)

This book is written by a professor with a PhD in mech eng who always hated math and avoided it until she learned how to learn it. It teaches you the most productive ways of studying and how to get the most out of your effort, and it works wonders if you follow it. There's also an audiobook version, which is what I did.

u/captainhamption · 2 pointsr/learnmath

I'm pretty sure everyone struggles with that stuff to some degree. I know I did. Time and practice got me past it.

I've been reading A Mind For Numbers and it has some solid advice on how to study math. Nothing earth-shattering (focus for a while, take a break; don't procrastinate; be active in learning, etc), and nothing everyone here is telling you, but it's conveniently packaged.

u/LyapunovFunction · 2 pointsr/math

I've seen similar claims made in Barbara Oakley's A Mind For Numbers which does try to cite relevant papers in neuroscience.

u/Aspie-ju · 1 pointr/aspergers

You should brush up your study skills:

u/b1eb · 1 pointr/LawSchool

Check out the book A mind for numbers. Despite the title it is a book about learning efficiently. The authors also put a free course on Coursera that covers the same topics.

u/AquaQuartz · 1 pointr/getdisciplined

I recently read a book called A Mind for Numbers. It specifically is targeted at people in school who are struggling in difficult subjects (STEM specifically, but the techniques are applicable to any subject). I definitely recommend you give it a read - I'm not in school anymore, but I have found it to be relevant to my own personal studies.

If you feel your memory is really bad, look into techniques to improve it. The TED talk linked by /u/tripledolan is a good place to start. You can read the book by that same guy, Moonwalking With Einstein. It's about the national memory championships, and how people train their memories to almost superhuman levels.

Finally, if you have access to a school counselor, maybe try making an appointment with them. Poor memory function is a symptom of depression, so that may be a root cause.

u/uno_in_particolare · 1 pointr/italy

Io conosco questo libro, che ho letto e mi sento di consigliare. Eventualmente lo trovi anche su libgen, c'è un corso su coursera ecc. (in poche parole non sei costretto a spendere soldi).

L'unico problema è che devo ancora testarlo sul campo (almeno in parte: ti posso dire già ora che la tecnica del pomodoro, anki e la spaced repetition con me funzionano da dio), quindi non ti posso dire "con me ha funzionato", ma magari vale la pena buttare cinque minuti per vedere se secondo te può essere interessante o meglio lasciare perdere.

Penso che valga la pena almeno vedere cos'è, perchè è molto famoso e apprezzato come libro. Se proprio non hai voglia di leggere, questo video sostanzialmente fa un riassunto in 10 minuti dei concetti principali

tl;dr ti voglio proporre un libro che secondo me merita molto, ma ho paura di sembrare un sotuttoio e anche un po' stupido... perchè devo ancora iniziare l'università. Valuta te.

u/Militant_Buddha · 1 pointr/Fitness
  1. Use This
  2. Use This
  3. Change how much you eat based on how much your weight changes per month, assuming the change is large enough or consistent enough for you feel reasonably confident.
  4. You are now following a dieting model that matches what scientists do in science land.

    Fitness is, at its core, a huge fucking pile of "science and math shit." The fitness products that are sold to consumers aren't intended to make it easier or do the thinking for you; they're built to make people think they're working hard and making progress by introducing game-like systems (gamification) that feel rewarding. The easiest way to cut through the bullshit that's made to make money is to embrace the science.


    Tangent time:

    You're in your fucking 30s. You're young. Your ability to learn new things can be developed and rehabbed up until your mid
    70s.** The old studies about language and skill acquisition limits past age 25 had multiple design flaws and their results aren't supported by modern research. You're the only obstacle you're dealing with.

    Take this course (here's a summary on reddit) that's based on this book. If you complete it with certification and send me verification I'll personally cover the certification fee.
u/NotFromReddit · 1 pointr/DecidingToBeBetter

I was going to post this as well. I haven't done the course due to no time for it. But it's supposedly based on this book:

So you could take a look at that as well, if you don't feel like going at the course's schedule.

u/balanced_goat · 1 pointr/IWantToLearn

For thinking like a mathematician, try this book. May be a bit simplistic in the beginning, but it is clear and may offer you a different perspective.

Another issue may be with your study or practice habits. Try this course on Learning How to Learn (or this book, which is by the teacher of that course and essentially the same material).

Finally, this dude's site has some good descriptions of difficult concepts.

Good luck. You can do it with effort.

u/IronHulk42 · 1 pointr/india

Read this book

And do a lot of practice. Always write down what's given in the question and question why that particular information is given. This will help a lot when you study physics/chemistry in higher classes.

Don't practice till you start getting it right, practice till you can't get it wrong.

u/life180degrees · 1 pointr/Accounting

I've read a lot of posts on here where individuals state that you will get "real-life" experience on the job, once you're an accountant.

I agree with your sentiments, book-learning is different from "on the job" learning. Perhaps, a lot of this theoretical knowledge that you pick up from the books will be solidified once you begin working in accounting. I'm not sure, because I haven't started working yet, but this is what I assume and what many others have said.

However, I tend to agree with your method of learning. At the end of the day, after reading: [Make it Stick] (, A Mind for Numbers and several other similar books, you are learning properly. Reading a textbook gives you more of a baseline knowledge/framework to then apply to practice questions. Practice questions then reaffirm your framework constructs or let you know where you need to fill in knowledge gaps. Then, you must fill those gaps. The Feynman technique is excellent for this. Just make sure you are not wasting tons of time on anything that isn't "Active Learning." Active learning is the basis of all true learning, at least as far as doing well on exams go and in life.

Edit: Check out this video featuring Cal Newport on "Active Learning." Skip to time stamp 19:20

u/tubaccadog · 1 pointr/suggestmeabook

A Mind For Numbers by Barbara Oakley is the book to the MOOC on Coursera: Learning How To Learn. I believe that is the most important one. Take the free course, read the book - this changed everything for me, finally I have to knowledge and tools I was seeking!

u/amaraNT2oo2 · 1 pointr/EngineeringStudents

You should check out Barbara Oakley's A Mind for Numbers - it's a whole book dedicated to study techniques for engineering students. One of the big ones is pomodoro technique, but another big suggestion is testing yourself.

So for example: rather than going through practice problems with the solutions manual next to you at all times, write out 10 practice problems and treat it as a test. No looking at solutions, no wolfram alpha, etc. Just work through it like any other test, and when you finish, check the solutions and grade yourself. Whatever you get wrong, that's what you need to practice more.

As for actual study techniques, using the "recall" method of note taking works pretty well. Instead of taking notes simultaneously while you read through a text, read a paragraph/section/page and then close the book. Summarize what you just read by recalling the information, and write it down. If you can't do this without opening the book back up, that tells you right away that you don't understand the material yet. If you just write notes or highlight while you read, it gives you an "illusion of competence" (term used in the book mentioned above) such that you think that you understand something that you really don't yet.

u/hip_modernism · 1 pointr/italianlearning

Yeah I wish there was any actual detail about exactly the study method they used in that article RE language (edit: see bottom of post).

>When native English speakers used the technique to learn an entirely unfamiliar language, such as to generate English-to-Swahili translations, the results were better, the same, or worse than after blocking.

I could be wrong but this sounds like just dumping translations (words or sentences) into Anki and then studying them? If you do that even without interleaving, you're going to have a bad time. Although I agree that interleaving would make the problem even worse.

Language learning (and all learning) works best when you are learning the word in some context, this is why just memorizing raw vocabulary lists is the worst sight unseen. I'm just a beginner in Italian, but in the other languages I'm not terrible at (Japanese, Chinese) my best results have come from first firming up the word in some context.

I used to go to pretty crazy lengths to do this, I had a Chinese language partner that I would drill different verbs at me, and I would act them out on objects in the room (OPEN the box, <I open the box>, now PUSH the box <I push the box>). That's just the total physical response method, but it's an example of manufacturing a context.

Right now for Italian my context is mostly just Coffee Break Italian podcast. If I just dumped all the content from coffee break Italian into Anki, even lesson by lessons, without first listening to the podcast it would be baaaaad news. I think that's what the linked article is suggesting. (I actually listen to each episode twice, initial listen, drill in anki for a few days, re-listen).

But there could still be times where blocking review method is useful for an initial pass to continue firming up what you learned in context. The nice thing now with Anki, that's doable, just select your sub-deck with say "parts of the body" or whatever it is you are studying first in your review session. Review those, and then later once you are feeling more comfortable, then you can review at the meta deck level.

I'm not claiming to be some language learning expert, just relaying my hodgepodge approach...a lot of my study beliefs come from the book A Mind for Numbers which is really about general study habits, not just STEM study, and the work of Stephen Krashen.


I just noticed the blurb I copied in included links to the studies, however only the last one is readable in full ("worse after blocking"). I read through the experiment design and it is terrible/exactly what I said. They had people with no prior experience with French, and who were given no context/study information, to just memorize a list of french words.

Certainly in this case blocking will be better than interleaving, because it's the only thing giving you some way of making your own connections between the words. But a real test would be to have a student take a lesson of some kind where they learned these words in a meaningful context, then have some review blocked and some review interleaved.

u/m_farce · 1 pointr/stopdrinking

I'm a developer and started noticing similar issues. I kind of think my brain just got lazy and fat from years of numbness with a bit of age thrown in the mix. This book helped me quite a bit: "Mind for Numbers"

It has a companion course on Coursera: Learning How to Learn.

u/helpfuljap · 1 pointr/japanlife

I did a year of a physics degree. That shit is hard....

I had the textbook Fundamentals of Physics by Wiley. It gives pretty good explanations. With physics and maths you just have to do loads and loads of problems to get good. It's like going to the gym or something.

I also recommend this book which is all about how to study math and science subjects.

Good luck!

u/not_my_real_name_2 · 1 pointr/Advice

As to 1), I'd recommend reading A Mind for Numbers by Barbara Oakley (

u/technotitrium · 1 pointr/suggestmeabook

Barbara Oakley's a mind of numbers shows almost a step to step method of both reading and learning. Especially if you want tackle a fun reading of the sciences every once in a while.

She also has a course available at coursera:

u/theSkylarkJoker · 1 pointr/IWantToLearn

Then I cannot recommend this enough

And the book by the author of the course

Really invaluable and easy to follow. Works great for me and I hope for you as well.