The Ultimate Strategy for Studying Anything (Feynman Technique)

Scott H. Young
6 min readApr 8, 2024

The most popular piece of studying advice I’ve ever come up with was the Feynman Technique. While the technique itself is only loosely based on Richard Feynman’s practices, the idea of self-explanations took off and became a studying meme that has since gone far beyond my own audience.

The basic idea for the technique is simple:

1. Pick an idea you don’t understand very well.

2. On a blank sheet of paper, write an explanation for the idea as if you are teaching it to someone else.

3. Whenever you get stuck, go back to the textbook to fill in the gaps in your understanding.

This technique was a staple of my studying during my MIT Challenge, and I still have dozens of pages I wrote while trying to work through tricky concepts in math, physics and programming.

That being said, there’s a lot of nuance in getting the technique right. Here are five tips to make self-explanations work for you:

1. Apply the technique selectively.

The biggest complaint about the Feynman technique is that it takes too much time. A course may cover a dozen or more concepts in a single lecture. Writing a couple pages of explanation for each is incredibly time consuming.



Scott H. Young

Author of WSJ best selling book: Ultralearning | Twitter: @scotthyoung