About this course
In this lesson, you’re going to learn how to use the entire study system using the skills and subsystems you’ve gained in the earlier modules.
This is the “narrative glue” of the entire story, so to speak.
I must warn you, though, because this might seem like the least valuable lesson of the course.
Quite the opposite.
It is, in fact, the MOST valuable one because it helps you connect all the pieces together — the Bracket Reading Strategy, Metamnemonic Cards, The Lean Cornell Note Taking, Autodidact Projects, your Productivity System, and the Project Activation Strategy — in a single, coherent flow .
See, it’s so easy for influencers and productivity gurus to give advice like “do this technique to get X result”, all while the responsibility ends there.
They don’t even tell how you can solve at least the most immediate problem you’ll encounter when you do implement the advice.
It’s different this time.
While everything I’ve told you so far are incredible pieces of advice, I know that the “perfect advice” doesn’t exist, simply because solving problems lead to the creation of more (but better) problems.
The truth is that you WILL encounter problems as you use the system — or ANY system, for that matter.
But having a single, coherent flow allows you to easily know where things go wrong in your entire system, mainly because you now have a cause-and-effect pattern as a basis for your problems.
Tips and hacks don’t allow you to do that; heck, it’s easier to think that you are at fault when you encounter problems after doing them.
All I’m saying is flow is easily the most underrated part of productivity, and we should be incorporating it in every repetitive task/project we do.
So, let’s get started with the study workflow.
Follow the Project Activation Strategy here. Of course, you need to have something to study and break it down into tasks before you actually start.
This will form the bulk of your knowledge acquisition . Which means this step covers the encoding part of information encoding.
If you think you’re making great flashcards already and you’re still not remembering what you learned, this is where you should start paying more attention to because that’s not a flashcard problem — it’s an encoding problem.
This basically means you do the “Cornell Note-Taking” part of the Lean Cornell Note-Taking Strategy.
Again, make sure you cover everything you’ve just studied — no need to create “trick” questions for yourself.
Alternatively, you can use the chapter objectives by turning them into mini-essay questions, or outright use the end-chapter questions from your textbook.
Recall the questions you made from your notes — it shouldn’t take you more than 15 minutes to recall everything successfully if you’ve done the work for the Bracket Reading Strategy and Lean Cornell Note Taking.
Because initial recall helps you retain the material in the short-term, it also allows you to delay the card creation part at the end of the week .
I believe this is important, because let’s face it: there’s a LOT of friction to start studying when you think you “have to create Anki cards after studying.”
It doesn’t have to be that way, and Initial Recall allows you to do that.
This also helps you avoid the illusion of knowledge and test and further enhances storage of material in your memory because as you’ve learned in the Lean Note Taking lesson, note-taking alone is NOT enough.
You can choose to create cards immediately by breaking down the questions you got from Lean Cornell Note Taking, though.
But just a quick note for atomizing your questions: You don’t need it to be perfect right away , because in the next lesson, you’re going to learn how to make your cards better as you review.
Choose sustainable, continuous progress over unattainable instant perfection.
You’ll learn more about opportunistic reformulation in the next lesson, but essentially, the big idea here is to revise the poorly formulated cards only when they appear in your reviews .
In my experience, I found that it’s best to do this right before studying new material because it helps you get that extra consolidation of prerequisite concepts, helps you “warm-up” your focus, and take advantage of the fact that you have plenty of energy to use for reviewing.
Because this is a system that works with your brain and incorporates two feedback loops — opportunistic reformulation and retention — you’ll find that the more you use it, the better you’ll get at it .
By building your mental infrastructure this way, you’ll be able to learn harder and harder subjects without any perceived change in difficulty.
That’s because retaining what you’ve learned helps you understand better and more precisely, take better notes, create better questions, and thus create better flashcards that reinforces the entire cycle yet again — allowing your knowledge to compound , rather than stagnate or decay.
No you don’t. Not all the time, at least.
The thing about LASS is that it allows you to study in the “laziest way” possible as long as you follow the same process.
So, if you feel this way, I recommend doing what I (pretentiously) call the Lazy Reader Technique .
The only prerequisites are a smartphone and a PDF copy of the book you want to read in your phone.
Now you might be thinking, “This is great — now I don’t have to bother taking notes and sitting down just to study.”
For easier readings, yeah, you can get away by using the Lazy Reader Technique.
But remember that note-taking frees up cognitive load, and is a useful tool to help you organize what you’ve learned in a coherent way.
See, there’s a reason why dense textbooks aren’t meant to be read on commutes.
They inflow of info just exceeds your capabilities to understand new information that note-taking becomes a necessity when reading them.
That being said, for easier undergrad textbooks (especially conceptual ones), you’ll find that this allows you to leverage your “down” time and turn it into learning time.
Here’s what I want you to remember after a recall session:
If you’ve recalled what you learned successfully, then you don’t need to actively think about it anymore.
I know you feel like you have to hold everything in your head to remember them, but really, memory doesn’t work that way.
I’m pretty sure you can remember your childhood experiences without constantly holding them in your head — that’s because they’re already stored in your memory.
Anything you can successfully recall works the same way.
After you do a recall session, you can rest assured that you will remember it. It’s NOT going anywhere.
If you’re not yet confident, just do another recall session after a few hours, and you’ll see what I mean .
Take note, though, that if you haven’t done the encoding part correctly, then you’re inevitably going to forget things along the way because it’s not built on top of a strong cognitive structure — does that make sense?
If you think you have learned a concept correctly but you’re constantly experiencing that “tip of the tongue” moment, then I’d recommend you use a memory technique for it or make up some funny story to remind you of it.
Memory techniques are your best friend for inherently unmemorable information — those without much structure built-in. (think: random lists and isolated facts)
After this module, you'll have the foundational skills that will turn you into what I call an Anki Virtuoso — someone who can Anki-fy increasingly complex subjects and remember them for life.