Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Expert study habits

  1. Mar 30, 2012 #1
    I was just curious if anyone had any information on how 'the greats' went about studying. People such as Feynman, Einstein, etc. studied.

    Of course omit the scientists who mastered analysis by the age of 5 like Neumann and Landau.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 30, 2012 #2
    Re: Study habits

    Einstein skipped a lot of classes, depended on his roommate's notes, graduated with a "c" average, and after graduation got a third rate job in a patent office through the influence of his roommate's father.
  4. Mar 30, 2012 #3
    Re: Study habits

    I relearn stuff online, to check my understanding.
  5. Mar 30, 2012 #4
    Re: Study habits

    Uuuuh no... How do you know this??
    You know that Einstein had a PhD right??
  6. Mar 30, 2012 #5
    Re: Study habits

    I'm actually curious how some people go about studying as well. Maybe not the "Greats" but people that can maintain a 3.8 or so in college. For instance, if a class was strictly homework and quizzes, I would have a 4.0, but tests really bring me down. I some how manage to NEVER score above a B on my tests. Quite upsetting actually. Tips or suggestions on study habits? :D
  7. Mar 30, 2012 #6
    Re: Study habits

    There is a documentary called "Einstein" that airs on the history channel sometimes that tells this exact story. I cannot gauge the truth of it, (especially considering this is the channel that brought us the great giorgio tsoukalos), but the documentary did say explicitly that he did mediocre at best during his undergraduate, somehow managed a PhD due to his fathers influence, and manage the patent office job via a friend of the family.
  8. Mar 30, 2012 #7

    jim hardy

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Re: Study habits

    You said it's the exams that bring you down?

    What i found is this:

    First you gotta keep up with the class work. Never get behind inhomework.

    Second - and this is equally important -

    Always walk into a test well rested and well fed.
    The night before have a steak for dinner.
    Then glance through the chapters in your textbook just to remember what they were about. No more than thirty minutes.
    Be in bed by 9PM with absolutely no alcohol.
    Have a breakfast that's not very high in sugar.
    Walk in to test feeling great - rested and alert.

    old jim
  9. Mar 31, 2012 #8
    Re: Study habits

    Stephen Hawking also admits to spending most his time in college getting drunk. He says he's not proud of the fact, but it was "fashionable" at the time for the truly brilliant to prove they did not need to study.
  10. Mar 31, 2012 #9


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

  11. Mar 31, 2012 #10
    Re: Study habits

    lol I just found out I use Einstein's method since my 1st year of undergrad, I don't think I'm a genius though :biggrin:
  12. Apr 4, 2012 #11
    At the age of 12 I loved physics and was finishing up year 10 because my study habit was ridiculously brilliant (and I'm jewish haha). One day when I was 11 I sat myself down with a huge pile of books, and studied all night after school, every single day. I just had an amazing passion, I couldn't stop, I'm still the same now, still far ahead (multi-variable calculus at 15) and passed year 12 exams for double specialist 3 months ago. I obviously hired a tutor to fill in small gaps I need help with, but not much really.

    Literally this technique worked for me since I had a passion, try and find a passion in your work, because if you can't find a passion, in my opinion, apart from money, studying seems so pointless.
  13. Apr 4, 2012 #12
    Unfortunately I think the guys you mentioned had different kinds of minds and circumstances and that their success was not really a matter of study habits. Feyman had a father who encouraged critical thinking from a very young age, and he taught himself mathematics including calculus from library books before he was even in high school.

    Probably better to find out the study habits of a respectable, accomplished, but not-too-famous people that you'll find working as professors in universities.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook