Struggling to learn and remember

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In summary, the individual is currently in their third year of a five-year medical physics program and feels they do not have good study techniques. They tend to write down everything from the textbook but struggle with knowing where to draw the line. They also forget what they write and have difficulty understanding theory. The individual considers themselves ambitious and willing to learn but often gets stuck and gives up, feeling intellectually incapable of becoming a scientist. They have considered using a pill to improve their neural connectivity. However, despite their struggles, they have managed to pass all their courses and exams and question the point of continuing if they do not understand the material and keep forgetting what they learn. The expert suggests that the individual may be exaggerating their difficulties and encourages them to perse
  • #1
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I'm currently about to start my third year in the medical physics programme (5 year long) and I feel like I don't have any good study technique. Currently I have passed all of my courses and exams apart for the exam in Complex analysis and Transformations (laplace, Fourier etc).

Problem 1:

When I study I tend to write down everything there is in the textbook but in my own words. The problem is I don't know where to draw the line. At times, there are simply too many pages or too much information to write down and it can be extremely slow/tedious. Especially in a math course where seemingly every word is important.

I also inevitably forget what I write. Perhaps its due to bad memory or because I spend so much time writing text that I simply drown in information and forget what I previously wrote.

My hypothetical solution: Perhaps only writing down theory is the way to go and skip writing down examples as that takes time?

Problem 2:

I have difficulties understanding the theory. I would consider myself as being ambitious and willing to learn. The problem is when I try to understand a mathematical proof, or even in physics, I tend to get stuck on one detail and be unable to progress beyond that. At that point I simply give up and look up how I can use this knowledge to solve problems rather than understand what the theory is, how it is constructed.

I feel really dirty when I skip through proofs or when I'm halfway through one only to get stuck and give up. Asking for help is complicated when you have about 20 proofs you want explained.

My hypothetical solution: Try some Asian pill that improves neural connectivity, preferably one made from ivory.

------------------------

Bottom line, I feel intellectually incapable of becoming a scientist or even a medical physicist for that matter. I'm slow, I forget what I'm learning and I get stuck often. The only reason why I have made it this far is because I practice old exams and even then I'm usually bordering failure.

Whats the point if I don't understand how physics/maths work, only how it is applied? And even then, what's the point if I keep forgetting what I learn?
 
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  • #2
@Mulz , I have a question for you. Think about what you do or read on a daily basis. What kinds of things do you remember?

For example, when you read a book or watch a movie, do you remember the plot, the characters, or individual scenes? When you listen to a song, do you remember the lyrics? Or the basic beats?
 
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  • #3
StatGuy2000 said:
@Mulz , I have a question for you. Think about what you do or read on a daily basis. What kinds of things do you remember?

For example, when you read a book or watch a movie, do you remember the plot, the characters, or individual scenes? When you listen to a song, do you remember the lyrics? Or the basic beats?

Never thought of this and I'm not sure how to answer, I would frankly say that my mind is mostly blank - literally, been like that since 15 and I'm 22 now.

If I'm forced to answer otherwise: I only remember the beats to music (I only listen instrumental). When reading, I mostly remember scenes I create in my head that best fits the storyline (basically the environment).
 
  • #4
Mulz said:
I'm currently about to start my third year in the medical physics programme (5 year long) and I feel like I don't have any good study technique. Currently I have passed all of my courses and exams apart for the exam in Complex analysis and Transformations (laplace, Fourier etc).

Problem 1:

When I study I tend to write down everything there is in the textbook but in my own words. The problem is I don't know where to draw the line. At times, there are simply too many pages or too much information to write down and it can be extremely slow/tedious. Especially in a math course where seemingly every word is important.

I also inevitably forget what I write. Perhaps its due to bad memory or because I spend so much time writing text that I simply drown in information and forget what I previously wrote.

My hypothetical solution: Perhaps only writing down theory is the way to go and skip writing down examples as that takes time?

Problem 2:

I have difficulties understanding the theory. I would consider myself as being ambitious and willing to learn. The problem is when I try to understand a mathematical proof, or even in physics, I tend to get stuck on one detail and be unable to progress beyond that. At that point I simply give up and look up how I can use this knowledge to solve problems rather than understand what the theory is, how it is constructed.

I feel really dirty when I skip through proofs or when I'm halfway through one only to get stuck and give up. Asking for help is complicated when you have about 20 proofs you want explained.

My hypothetical solution: Try some Asian pill that improves neural connectivity, preferably one made from ivory.

------------------------

Bottom line, I feel intellectually incapable of becoming a scientist or even a medical physicist for that matter. I'm slow, I forget what I'm learning and I get stuck often. The only reason why I have made it this far is because I practice old exams and even then I'm usually bordering failure.

Whats the point if I don't understand how physics/maths work, only how it is applied? And even then, what's the point if I keep forgetting what I learn?
I'm no expert, but it sounds like you are exaggerating your difficulties. A medical physics degree is a huge challenge. It's partly to educate you in something that will be directly useful in your career and partly to test you, your fortitude and resilience. It's not supposed to be easy!

Why not just hang on in there?

There are successful scientists on this site who struggled early on. You'll never forgive yourself if you give up now.
 
  • #5
Mulz said:
Never thought of this and I'm not sure how to answer, I would frankly say that my mind is mostly blank - literally, been like that since 15 and I'm 22 now.

If I'm forced to answer otherwise: I only remember the beats to music (I only listen instrumental). When reading, I mostly remember scenes I create in my head that best fits the storyline (basically the environment).

First of all, I doubt your mind is mostly blank -- I suspect that you remember more than you are consciously letting on, and this is quite common.

But you did state that when reading, you remember scenes you create in your head. Studying math or physics (or any subject) is much like that -- you create scenes in your head related to the material, and work on problems related to the material. If there are missing pieces, you go back to the scene (or the material) and try to fit in that scene.

Focus on those strengths of yours. Work on practice problems. Constantly review areas you do not understand. Find the answers through the texts you have, or additional references available. Participate in study groups and ask your fellow classmates questions. Ask your professors or TAs the questions (I thought I recall you are based in Europe from your past posts here -- do you not have TAs at your university?).

The more you do this, the stronger and more knowledgeable you will become in this field, and the more you end up "remembering" the material.

[Aside: As far as I am aware of, there does not exist any credible evidence that those so-called "Asian pills" you speak of (including those made of ivory) actually improve neural connectivity. I strongly suspect this is pure quackery.]
 
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1. Why do some people struggle to learn and remember?

There are a variety of factors that can contribute to a person's struggle to learn and remember information. Some potential reasons include learning disabilities, lack of motivation or interest in the subject, ineffective study habits, and mental health issues such as anxiety or ADHD.

2. What are some effective strategies for improving learning and memory?

Some effective strategies for improving learning and memory include creating a study schedule, using mnemonic devices, practicing active recall, and getting enough sleep. It's also important to find a learning style that works best for you, whether it's visual, auditory, or kinesthetic.

3. Is it possible to improve one's ability to learn and remember?

Yes, it is possible to improve one's ability to learn and remember. The brain has the ability to change and adapt, known as neuroplasticity. By implementing effective strategies and consistently practicing them, one can improve their ability to learn and remember information.

4. How does stress affect learning and memory?

Stress can have a significant impact on learning and memory. When a person is stressed, their body releases the hormone cortisol, which can interfere with the brain's ability to form and retrieve memories. Chronic stress can also lead to long-term memory problems.

5. Are there any foods or supplements that can improve learning and memory?

While there is no specific food or supplement that has been proven to enhance learning and memory, a well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can support overall brain health. Some nutrients that have been linked to improved cognitive function include omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, and antioxidants.

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