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Do you get annoyed about forgetting old curriculum?

  1. Jul 21, 2013 #1
    Hey. So it's 2 months since my last university exam, and that curriculum is already starting to become a bit shady in my head. It's even worse with the curriculum from my last year's subjects - I've nearly forgotten everything except the calculus (because I use it often in my physics and maths classes)!

    I get a bit guilty and start wanting to reread my old books, but then I just think it won't be worth it because it's kind of useless and I will forget it later anyway (:(). So I just enjoy my vacation instead...

    Do you guys experience my predicament?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 21, 2013 #2
    What topics are we talking about here? And what do you remember/forget after a year (for example)?

    Forgetting old material is pretty problematic since you might need these things later on.

    It's of course natural to forget some parts of what you learned. But you should still remember the important things. Otherwise, I think your study methods might be wrong. For example, are you a type that likes to cram in stuff at the last minute?
  4. Jul 21, 2013 #3


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    It's fairly common. It's the reason why I hang around this forum to be honest. Looking at people solve problems I used to have to solve keep the ideas in my mind, even if the techniques are rusty. I wouldn't particularly worry about remembering every little detail in a class, but there are certain key concepts every class has that should remain readily at hand. For example, I'll have a hard time solving some of the 'difficult' related rates problems in a calculus book, but I can still recall and prove the intermediate value theorem. Last time I solved a related rate problem was in high school. The last time I used IVT was in graduate school. So with that said, focus more on the main ideas instead of every little detail and you'll be fine.
  5. Jul 21, 2013 #4

    Well I might've been hyperboling a bit, only wanted get a discussion going. I'm just sad I'm losing all my knowledge =(. Can't wait to get one of those memory implants into my brain!
    I did cram in philosophy last year, and accordingly I can't recall much of it. In the other subjects I tried to understand everything. In chemistry I remember the core stuff and how things work, but forgot most of the mathematical formulas from the thermodynamics part. When it comes to programming, I remember the vast majority because there was very little memorization involved.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2013
  6. Jul 21, 2013 #5
    Sometimes forgetting is part of the learning process. You think you know something, then forget it, but when you learn it the second (or third) time around, you suddenly find you have a much deeper understanding of it than you did before.

    I think in a way forgetting helps you let go all of the loose threads and confusion mixed up with the understanding, and re-learning it lets you form a new understanding that is much more pure.
  7. Jul 22, 2013 #6
    +3 instant recall implant needed.
  8. Jul 22, 2013 #7
    There is a great deal of uncertainty when it comes to knowledge. The problem with the 'learning hysteria' arises essentially from a common misunderstanding about how cognition and the brain operates..

    The truth is graduates are not really masters of the information they have assimilated, or at least this is not expected of them. One should first learn to remain humble. It does not matter how much you have retained. Instead it is your ability to seek-out, relate and interpret information that is of value.

    When one learns for instance a new language, you do not go about trying to memorize every word in the vocabulary, nor does one attempt to facilitate a conversation by remembering every sentence they ever heard in the hopes that they might carefully select from their stores of acquired knowledge, the appropriate sentence to give in response. Instead, a new language is learned intuitively by immersion. By reworking error, and re-defining one's grammatic understanding or interpretation of a particular phrase or material implication ect..

    Thus one should not commit to memory meaningless facts and solutions to particular problems, instead we learn the broader concepts, and learn to apply them to solve harder and harder problems with expertise. I mean, does one really go about cumbersomely trying to learn a thousand techniques to tackle the infinite number of problems available to him? or does he simply learn only a small number of much simpler concepts from which he may cleverly construct any number of suitable techniques to solve all of the problems available to him?

    Well my advice to anyone who is attempting to become proficient in a topic is to constantly redefine and re-invent your strategy and find new ways to better evaluate and consolidate your experience. Try to keep yourself saturated in the core material and constantly work with your deeper intuition. Learn to construct proofs and derivations, have them torn apart and reworked. Develop a rigorous and wholesome exercise regime, use journals ect. to supplement and organise your learning process. Practice proper nutrition and keep to a regular sleeping schedule. Try not to be too hard on yourself. As Dipole has pointed out, forgetting the material is all part of the learning experience. Good luck and don't freak out dude!

    Nature uses only the longest threads to weave her patterns, so that each small piece of her fabric reveals the organization of the entire tapestry - Richard Feyman
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2013
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