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Does this happen to anyone else?

  1. Dec 16, 2011 #1
    So I have noticed something about myself that is quite strange and I cannot fully understand and I was wondering if it happened to anyone else. When I first study material from a course (Mostly Physics because it's my major, but it applies to anything.) I can do it but it takes a lot of studying (as any science does.) What is weird that, if I come back to the materials (Say at the end of the semester for the final, which I am doing right now) the problems seem WAY easier! Even though I have done NO work in them for months. An EXCELLENT example is the following.

    In my optics class, the first half of the semester was geometrical optics and the second was Physical optics. These are two TOTALLY different theories and their problems (referring to the problem sets at the end of the chapter) do NOT relate to each other in the slightest.

    Well it has been months since I have touched this stuff and it is WAY easier than it was when I first studied it at the beginning of the semester! It is very strange that problems that I was once bogged down on and never was able to complete I am doing with no problem now! This has happened to me before in other courses but I always blamed it on reviewing the material over the semester since it was all cumulative. Well geometrical optics is nothing like physical optics and I am thrown for a loop! I feel like my brain needs a "break in" period to better do these problems after learning something as this seems to happen every semester.

    Maybe my brain is at a "higher level" than it was at the beginning of the semester due to all the studying and work? I do not know!

    Anyone else experience this? I find it to be very strange especially for this optics example.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 16, 2011 #2

    micromass

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    Yes, it happens a lot to me. This is one of the reasons I love studying.

    You have actually matured over them. The more you study, the more mature you will be on the subject. A text that will seem to be very hard at first, will be very easy a while later.
     
  4. Dec 16, 2011 #3
    Let's hope so. I think the generic term for it is "learning", and it does seem to be correlated to reading, thinking about, and working through textbook material and related publications. Congratulations. You're experiencing what your courses are intended to produce.
     
  5. Dec 16, 2011 #4
    Well my main point wasn't the fact that learning material makes it easier, that is obvious. My point was that I can go back to material that I haven't touched in months and do it with no problem. I think micromass hit the nail on the head saying it becomes matured over time.
     
  6. Dec 16, 2011 #5
    An interviewer asked, “Mr. (William) Faulker, some of your readers claim they still cannot understand your work after reading it two or three times. What approach would you advise them to adopt?” Faulkner replied, “Read it a fourth time.”
     
  7. Dec 16, 2011 #6
    I was being a little bit facetious. :smile: Anyway, it shouldn't necessarily surprise you that you retain (and maybe even 'subconsciously' synthesize various 'connections' wrt) stuff you've previously read/studied. Especially if you're really interested in (ie., motivated to learn/understand) the subject matter. I get these little epiphanies or eureka moments now and then wrt stuff that I haven't consciously attended to in months, or even years sometimes.
     
  8. Dec 16, 2011 #7
    Haha! That made me laugh.

    Learning is truly an amazing thing :]
     
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