How to complete an MIT Physics Class in 4.5 days

Here’s something to inspire students as they gear up for classes again. Scott Young specializes in rapid learning. His latest experiment was to complete and pass an MIT Physics class in 4.5 days!

He had a threefold strategy:

  1. Watch lectures at 1.5x speed
  2. Work early. finish early (6am to 7pm, including a 25min midday nap!)
  3. Relate everything to the subject

And his big three tactics were:

  1. Deliberate practice
  2. The 5-year-old method
  3. Visceralization

The last one sounds a bit scary, but you can read his explanation here. The one that resonated most with me was “the 5-year-old method.”

My best method for that was to write on a blank piece of paper the name of the concept and write out an explanation to myself in terms even a 5-year old could understand.

This is something I often do in sermon preparation.

His three takeaways from this experiment were:

  1. Have a clear strategy
  2. Never memorize what needs to be understood
  3. Clearly separate work from time off

I’m not suggesting Scott’s method as the best long-term educational approach; there’s a significant difference between passing an exam and learning. However, he’s pushing the boundaries of intellectual possibility and providing us with valuable and challenging lessons in the process.


I’m no poet, but I think this is a touching and moving poem. It was written by Kara Dedert, whose son, Calvin, was born with multiple disabilities while Kara and her husband Darryl were serving as missionaries in Cambodia. You can read her full story on her blog. This is how Kara introduces this poem:

Loss comes in different ways. I’ve been thinking about my friend’s mom with Parkinson’s, a girl recently separated from her husband and struggling to care for her disabled daughter, a father fighting cancer, a family whose children have been unjustly taken away. I think all of those situations, especially those that surprise us, leave us with these sentiments.

The cool thing about having a blog is you can write what you like. So here it is folks, the editor’s nightmare. And that’s okay. I have no idea if it’s poetry, an essay, or just freehand words. Whatever it is, it spilled out on paper and I wonder if you can relate to it too.


Loss sweeps you off your feet.
It comes, uninvited, with no apology.

It lifts you up, tips you upside-down
and shakes you til you’re empty
and it’s hard to find any piece of you left.

It broadsides you. You may be
looking up at the sun, reaching
for the next mercy that’s before you.

It hits you from behind and your feet,
they flail wildly unable to touch
the ground and find security, stability.

Survival makes them quiet. Makes
them set down beneath you and move
forward shakily on this new ground.

Your hearts stays behind but your feet
they move, driven by routine,
producing a stilted rhythm but
it’s in moving that your heart keeps
its beating and your life keeps on living.

They say time heals. Maybe it does.
But when I look back I still see
a deep, deep, hole. It has a sign
called LOSS at the edge. And a face
of a little boy there.
What face do you see?

But these feet shuffling forward
point my eyes to another spot. It is
a sign with GAIN written all over.
It also has the picture of
a little boy there.

In the folds of His providence
there are mercy treasures and
unexpected joys that my tired eyes
and slow heart never thought to see.
It continues beyond even what my
eyes can see.

So all these holes and
all these mercies exist, together.
The gains do not erase the loss.
And the loss opens our hearts to
gains we never imagined.