The main reason I didn't get into Tsinghua back then was that I didn't do well enough in my studies.
Why weren't the academic results good enough to get into Tsinghua?
It's not that I didn't try, it's just that I didn't master efficient study methods.
What is an efficient way to learn has only suddenly dawned on me recently when I was researching the nature of technological evolution.
Before we talk about learning, let's talk about the technology stuff.
Not only does it seem to me, but in fact it does, that the sciences are technology and the humanities are technology, the big difference between them being that the sciences study technology in the material world, while the humanities study technology in the immaterial world.
In fact, learning itself is technology.
What is technology? In the book The Nature of Technology, author Brian Arthur concludes that the nature of technology is the purposeful programming of phenomena. How should this phrase be interpreted?
Phenomenon, purpose, and programming are the key words in this sentence. Phenomena are simply natural effects and therefore exist independently of humans and technology. For example, when water is boiled, the resulting water vapor will possess kinetic energy, which is a naturally occurring phenomenon.
When a wise man discovers a phenomenon, he thinks of how to use it for some purpose of his own. So technology is first of all a spiritual construct, and only after that a material one.
Again taking water vapor as an example, I seem to remember primary school texts talking about the phenomenon that Watt discovered that the water vapor produced by boiling hot water in a kettle would lift the lid up, and he then thought about how he could use this phenomenon to produce a machine that could have great power. Once he had this goal in mind, he began to put together some physical devices that led to the steam engine.
Again, we know that technology is getting more and more complex and advanced. So how did the advanced technology come about? They actually build on existing primary technologies, also known as standing on the shoulders of giants. The birth of steam trains, for example, must have followed the establishment of steam engines, steel smelting technology, and then a cycle of upgrades until more advanced technology evolved.
That is, technological advances are like children putting together blocks, using existing blocks to build new structures that are different (techno-novelty).
If you also acknowledge that learning is a technical task, then it's more obvious how to improve your learning skills.
First, accumulate a sufficient number of knowledge modules.
Second, existing knowledge modules are stitched together in different ways to solve complex problems.
The gap between students who study well and those who study poorly is in these two areas.
Students who study well are generally much more likely to accumulate knowledge modules than those who study poorly. In addition, these students who study well are able to make strong connections between knowledge modules and are able to call on these modules with purpose, which is often referred to by teachers as integration.
Now that I think about it, when I was in school, the textbooks were those ten or so points of knowledge over the course of a semester, and as long as I ate them thoroughly and could discover the connections between them, I could absolutely guarantee that my academic performance would be in the upper middle class.
Students who are poor learners have insufficient knowledge in terms of quantity on the one hand, and insufficient depth of understanding on the other, which in turn leads to an inability to make effective connections between knowledge points, with the result that difficult problems cannot be solved because their answers require the simultaneous invocation of multiple knowledge modules.
In terms of knowledge mastery, it's time to use the now more popular approach of deliberate practice. Stare at a point of knowledge and keep repeating the training, knowing that it's rooted in your brain.
Before I started junior high school, I never bought any extra-curricular exercises due to my limited access to them, and simply did only textbook exercises. When I got to middle school, one of my classmates was at the top of the grade every year, and I eventually learned that people were buying a lot of exercise books privately to practice.
If you don't practice enough, you definitely can't compete with others in terms of depth of understanding and connections, and because you don't practice enough, your brain won't automatically react to the appropriate knowledge modules when you encounter a problem, let alone put them together.
It's not too late to know the nature of this learning, live and learn, even as adults there is much to learn, try this to see if it works.
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