Reading and grasping technical material

binarysoulbinarysoul Posts: 993Member
I thought this would be the proper forum to post this.

While everyone has a different learning style, broadly speaking, what's the best way to quickly and effectively learn and grasp technical material, e.g. networking, programming, database, security and etc. I sometimes try to read a book from cover to cover and go for the details, which causes me to get bored. I recently changed my strategy to practice more than just reading about a technical topic. Sometimes I find it hard to visualize and connect different dots in a question.

What's your experience, how do you learn IT?
How do you grasp so much knowledge quickly?


  • 12thlevelwarrior12thlevelwarrior Posts: 302Member
    go through the book, mark areas that i need to run through in real life and come back to those areas.
    Every man dies, not every man really lives.
  • sprkymrksprkymrk Posts: 4,884Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    I learn way more in an interactive setting (like a classroom) than I do from something passive like reading a book. However, as we all know good classroom training is either hard to come by or too much $$$, so I have to use multiple sources and techniques to get the most out of self disciplined study. I like to study with a partner if possible too - it helps with the discipline and motivation.

    1. I generally use at least 2-3 books and read the same topic/subject from book to book. Usually I'll use one book as my "main" source and then just skim the relevent chapters in the others, and see if I can do the practice questions in each.

    2. If possible I look for training videos (my job sometimes will pay for them). I use these to vary my study and keep from getting too bored with the books. These are good to use at work during downtime or from a laptop at a coffee shop. I watch the video once through to absorb it, then a second time taking notes as if I was in a classroom.

    3. Practice tests - but not too much. I like to take one early on to see how much I know from scratch, then I'll take the same exam again after a couple weeks of study to see how I have progressed. After completing my general studies, I'll take another (not the same) practice test or sometimes 2 from different sources like Exam Cram and Sybex or whatever. If I do well on these I just shore up any questionable areas and schedule the test. If I don't do so well I go back and read/take notes etc. until I have it down. I must emphasise that I don't take the same practice exam more than twice, and never close together time-wise. You only fool yourself that way by memorizing answers.

    4. Whenever possible use what you learn in a practice lab environment. Doing it reinforces what you read/heard.

    All things are possible, only believe.
  • JDMurrayJDMurray Certification Invigilator Surf City, USAPosts: 11,449Admin Admin
    As I read through a book or a chapter, I'll use a yellow high-lighter to emphasize what I think is important information. I'll then go back and reread the material and take notes based on the high-lighting. Any topics I still don't understand I'll do additional research from books, other materials, and the Web.

    I do like training videos, but I need to take notes from them to really remember the material well. The same is true for classroom lectures.

    If I find that I can't keep my mind focused on the material, I take that as a cue to go work on something else that my brain will find interesting. I always have several concurrent reading, writing, and programing projects that I can switch between when needed. Oh, and computer games too. icon_cool.gif
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