There are, I’ve learned, 2 ways to learn something:
- Learn it by yourself
- Have someone teach it to you
I’ve learned, in preparation with a lot of things, one needs to have a combination of both. For a lot of people, having a teacher is probably the best way to learn. A teacher has been where you are currently, so they already have been through some of the obstacles you have faced, and can help you find the ways they’ve discovered in overcoming them.
Months ago, I thought I could handle the monster that is the MCAT, while studying on my own, however, that proved futile as with the resulting score. So when in the midst of dusting myself off and starting back as Square One, I have to think of what I did wrong and how I can improve on my next attempt. So, when just trying to teach myself didn’t work, that means that I have to try a different approach: Someone else has to teach me.
A teacher, a mentor, a Sensei… Well maybe not that, but someone who has authority, if not mastered the subject, and can show me how to walk the path in terms of successfully utilizing the knowledge to my advantage, especially in a test as unique and difficult as this.
It’s interesting to be a student, it’s a humbling experience, because you’re listening to someone who (should, sometimes not always) knows what they’re talking about. But it’s invigorating, because your mind, or at least mine does, is creative in trying to find new paths, and the shortest, creative path to find the right answers, and this always satisfies my curiosity for how the mind works in random situations.
But all in all, to actually learn something, one needs a balance of both, Teacher-based and self-learning in order to truly master a subject, the teacher introduces the subject and the information that must be learned, however the integration into memory is solely dependent on the mind of the One.
It can be difficult though, there are just some things that will not stay in the mind, or will not translate perfectly into the mind, and that’s particular to the individual, but I believe that everyone with enough practice can master any subject, from Biology to Electronics to Philosophy to Poetry. All it takes is a good teacher, whether it’s you or someone else.