Three Strategies for Learning and Mastering Any Subject

Learning is a lifelong pursuit that opens doors to new opportunities, expands our horizons, and enhances our understanding of the world around us. Whether you’re embarking on a new academic journey, acquiring new skills for professional growth, or simply pursuing a personal passion, the process of learning can be both exhilarating and challenging. To make the most of your learning experience and accelerate your progress, it’s critical to use effective strategies that optimize knowledge retention and comprehension.

In this article, I’ll discuss three valuable strategies that can significantly enhance your learning journey. These are based on my personal experience learning technical subjects over many years. By following these strategies, you can cultivate a solid foundation of understanding, maintain motivation, and master complex subjects with greater ease.

1. Learn the simple basic concepts first and dive into the more complicated details later.

When learning a new subject, it’s essential to start with a strong foundation. By focusing on the simple basics of a subject before delving into advanced material, you build a solid framework on which to expand your understanding. Once you are comfortable with the basics, it is easier to understand and absorb the more advanced topics.

Sometimes it’s useful to go through course material twice. The first time you build the basic knowledge, but the more advanced topics and small details are difficult to absorb and remember. The second time, once you know the basics, it’s easy to “scoop up” the advanced material and the remaining details.

2. Have a purpose for what you are learning.

The human brain is a remarkable organ capable of processing an immense amount of information. However, part of this ability is due to its tendency to discard knowledge that it deems irrelevant or lacks a purpose. To counteract this, it’s crucial to have a clear purpose or goal for your learning journey. By identifying a specific reason for acquiring new knowledge, such as solving a problem, pursuing a passion, or achieving a professional objective, you provide your brain with a compelling reason to retain and reinforce the information you encounter. Having a purpose not only enhances your motivation but also helps you retain and apply what you learn effectively.

For instance, if you are interested in artificial intelligence, learning a programming language like Python may be driven by your desire to work in AI development. If Python were not popular in the field, learning it would be more challenging due to lack of purpose and motivation.

3. Practice what you learn in small ways and then in a big way.

Practice is not only important for retaining information, but also for understanding a topic fully. Once you do something yourself, you must go through and focus on all the details and nuances necessary to accomplish it – otherwise, you simply won’t be able to finish. This process is extremely difficult to replicate by just reading about a topic.

As you progress in your learning journey, it’s beneficial to practice sub-topics and concepts individually, honing your skills step by step. By starting with small-scale exercises you actively engage with the subject-matter immediately as you learn it.

For example, when learning a programming language, practice using language features such as lists, functions and classes, gradually expanding your expertise in a structured manner. Your practice can be as simple as typing in and running an example in a book and then modifying it a bit. If the book or tutorial has an example with a “Dog” class, for instance, write a “Car” class on your own. This type of practice is great for learning from material that doesn’t have official exercises.

Eventually (and sometimes rather soon), as you develop a strong grasp of the basics, you can go big by applying your skills to a full project, consolidating your learning in a significant and meaningful way.


By incorporating these three learning tips into your study routine, you can optimize your learning experience and unlock your full potential. Building a strong foundation, establishing purpose, and practicing both the sub-topics and the subject as a whole are key elements in your journey toward mastery.