How to Teach Yourself Almost Anything

Did you know that you’re living in the best time, in all of history, to learn something new? Right now, you’re using the greatest library ever: the internet. Not so long ago, a scholar had to travel across continents to find information specific to their topic of interest. Now, even the most obscure details are available at your fingertips!

If you’re consistent about when and how you study, teaching yourself a subject might result in an even better understanding than if you took a class on it. Here’s how you start your career as an independent scholar:

  1. Look it up. A great way to begin is by running an internet search and reading everything you can about the subject. Read web pages, forums, blog posts and Wikipedia articles until you run out of batteries and need to sleep. Then continue the next day!
  2. Find a good book. A good introductory text will lay out all the foundations of whatever it is you want to learn, and will point you in the right direction to learn more. Universities often post the syllabi of their courses, which include the book that will be used. Even though you’re still in high school, you should be able to understand the books for introductory courses if you put in a sincere effort.
  3. Get an expert’s help. When you find an expert, don’t pester them with every single question you can think of; you’ll just be wasting their time. Instead, try to answer your own questions, even if it takes weeks of study. Then, if your questions persist, you’ll know they’re worth asking. In that case, an expert will be happy to help you find the answers you’re looking for.
  4. Take and review notes. This isn’t like school; you won’t be graded on your notes and you don’t have to copy everything down. When you find something you want to remember, or have an interesting thought about, record it so you can return to it. Before you know it, you’ll be taking more notes than you ever did in school — and you’ll be having a lot more fun doing it!
  5. Set aside time each week. Don’t spend 12 hours studying one day at the beginning of the month and then 13 hours another day at the end of the month. You’ll see better results if you spend the same 25 hours over the course of many days, a few hours at a time.

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