I tend to use a variety of meta-learning techniques. The first one is simply to monitor my daily work and progress. I have notebooks from 30 years ago filled with my daily juggling notes, notebooks from 20 years ago full of daily banjo progress, and notebooks going back 10 years full of mathematical success and failure. Other notebooks on my shelf document medical progress. If I look, I could find the note from 1988 when I first was strong enough to drive a stick shift, a year after my 1987 automobile accident.
Here is a photo of what some of my notebooks look like at this very moment:
If you are curious, here is a random page from a random notebook:
The page reads:
December 15, 2003
New Things I’ve done in the last 5 days
Flown in an airplane
Seen the Pacific Ocean
Been in California
Seen the Bush Man
Had an In-Out Burger
Rode on a cable car
Been in San Francisco
Been in Hyde Park
Been in the Redwood forests
Had an Art Opening
Saw rice paddies
Been in a telecommunications switching facility
Crossed the Golden Gate Bridge
Flown over Salt Lake City
When working on a computer, there are other simple ways to document ones progress. Here is a picture of the current graph of my progress on the 153 SOA sample problems:
The graph goes back about 70 days, and simply shows how many of the problems I solved each day (about 15, on average). Those problems are only part of my daily studying.
It is funny, but 36 days would at one time have seen like a lifetime. As a kid,
I would have never even thought about starting a project until a couple of weeks before it was due. Later today, I will add some of my current study strategies, plus some info on my new kitchen.
I have been running a little behind with my study work each day this week, but I am finally all caught up. There are 44 or 45 days left until the exam.
There are only a few of the 153 sample problems giving me grief right now, so it is time to move on to doing a wider variety of problems. Luckily, I have piles of them.
For whatever I am working on, I like to make “kits.” My study kit consists of a college ruled legal pad, a photocopy of several dozen problems without solutions, 6 Dixon Ticonderoga black pencils, a pencil sharpener (looks like a tube of mascara), reading glasses, and my trusty TI-30XA calculator. A year ago, I also carried around a couple of probability books, and some calculus cheat sheets. The great thing about memorizing everything is that you can travel much lighter.
Remind me to write about my motivational thoughts next post.