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Study Tips: Chains & Cycles (06/25/2020)

We can pick a topic, amass as many resources as we can about it, pick the one that calls out most to us, study it deeply until fatigue sets in, and then put it aside for a time. We can repeat this process over and over again in a chain, looping back every once in awhile to review what was already studied. This method helps us to keep our focus and stay productive throughout, thus allowing our understanding to continually grow and solidify. With careful planning, it is also a useful way of gaining a foundation in multiple subjects simultaneously. For example, we can have more than one "study chain" going on in parallel, and if we regularly switch between them in a sequence, none of them are neglected. A nice bonus is when it helps us to find connections between things that seem unrelated!

A few important notes:

• Resources do not necessarily need to cost money. By casting a wide net, we can always find at least some information on even the most obscure of subjects, especially with the Internet. However, libraries are still a good option. One can also seek out people who have a first-hand knowledge of the subject and try to strike up a dialogue with them. A dynamic conversation can often aid learning more than a static presentation.

• Even if all of these resources are redundant because they are focused on the exact same topic, having information from multiple viewpoints can help one to gain a fuller and more balanced understanding of it. In other words, getting information from multiple angles helps one to better "see" the archetypes that underlie it. Some resources also contain things that others don't and vice versa. In general, taking note of what is the same and what is different between the various resources can be quite helpful.

• Do not get stuck in just gathering resources without following through on the other steps in the chain. Likewise, try not to break the chain by skipping steps. If we get tired of one particular step, we should go to the next. It is important to find ways to keep each link fresh and interesting for oneself. Further, do not forget to loop back. Periodic reviews are what help to solidify the concepts learned. Some people find value in using a "Spaced Repetition System" (or "SRS") to do this. [This article is a good explanation of what they are, why they exist, and how to use a couple of them.]

Happy Studies!

Some music:
MC Rene - Spüre diesen Groove...

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