How do you learn unfamiliar programming concepts quickly and thoroughly?
You may have heard people endorse the benefits of practicing problems all the way to mastery, and the popularity of LeetCode suggests that this is a viable strategy for many individuals preparing for coding interviews. With the abundance of online learning platforms that are geared towards preparing people for tech interviews, it's actually fairly common to come across the same coding problem or other overlapping material on multiple sites.
So how do you decide what platform works best for you?
Let's take a step back because the answer to this question often lies in the metacognitive processes that shape our learning strategies.
Today we'll discuss the role that metacognition plays in retaining new information, and how you can engage your long-term memory to learn concepts more efficiently. Then we'll compare some of the advantages and disadvantages of using LeetCode for interview prep, and discuss some of the reasons why Educative is a great alternative.
- What's the best way to learn new concepts?
- Why is LeetCode popular?
- What makes Educative better?
- LeetCode Premium vs. Educative Unlimited
- Wrapping up and next steps
What's the best way to learn new concepts?
Use metacognitive strategies
What is metacognition? Metacognition is just thinking about how you think and learn. If you find that you're spending a lot of time studying without absorbing the material, then it may be beneficial to reflect on what strategies you're using to learn new concepts.
Metacognitive strategies can help you assess what you know, what you should know, and how you should go about learning that information.
One advantage of the course format for Educative is that it utilizes some metacognitive strategies for you. You don't need to figure out a roadmap for learning because courses come pre-built with one. All of our courses are designed by engineers and developers with years of industry experience, so you can trust that the roadmap will include a comprehensive overview of relevant concepts.
Connect concepts to create meaningful groups
Instead of trying to piece together seemingly disparate groups of information, each course module flows seamlessly into the next. By building on concepts that you've learned, memorizing new information becomes easier, and more sustainable.
Trying to memorize concepts in isolation works against our natural tendency to categorize information into schemas, which are mental frameworks that interrelate ideas and the relationships among them.
Educative takes advantage of our ability to use schematic processing to quickly absorb new information by accompanying problems with contextual information.
Learn to recognize patterns instead of memorizing answers
LeetCode focuses on learning how to solve problems through exposure (practice), but Educative puts more emphasis on learning how to recognize the underlying patterns of problems. Recognizing patterns forces you to focus on the bigger picture, which in turn, allows you to be more analytical, creative, and deliberate when it comes to creating a solution.
When interviewing at tech companies, your interviewers will want to know your thought process, and why you went with one solution over another.
Engage with interactive content
Interactive material tends to be more memorable. Solving problems on Leetcode is one way to interact with a concept. However, you might make better use of your time by familiarizing yourself with a concept and then using that newfound knowledge to build a project.
When you learn new concepts on Educative, you're not only solving problems, but you're also exposed to hundreds of opportunities to interact with concepts, play around with code, and test your skills.
Why is LeetCode popular?
LeetCode is an online learning platform that presents thousands of coding problems that are categorized by difficulty (Easy, Medium, or Hard). But is LeetCode the best way to prepare for interviews?
Let's take a quick look at some of the advantages of LeetCode.
Advantages of Leetcode
- LeetCode provides a wide range of coding questions, some of which may show up in interviews
- LeetCode supports the use of multiple programming languages
- LeetCode has a large and active community that provides users with opportunities to interact with other developers
Disadvantages of LeetCode
- LeetCode primarily tests the ability for you to perform well under pressure
- Trivia-style coding questions on LeetCode do not accurately represent the type of problems you'll be asked to work on as an engineer
- LeetCode does not prepare you for success in critical areas like the behavioral interview
- Grinding LeetCode questions can be tedious
What makes Educative better?
You may be wondering, What makes Educative different?
Educative is a text-based learning platform that comes with a robust coding environment, curated learning paths, a variety of interesting visual aids, and frequent quizzes.
Evaluations help you test newly acquired knowledge and require you to recall that information out of your working memory. Our courses apply this principle in the form of frequent quizzes. Quizzes are a quick and effective way to find gaps in your knowledge that could benefit from a refresher.
Getting the right answer on a quiz can act as a form of positive reinforcement by providing opportunities for immediate feedback. According to a recent study published in the International Journal of Emerging Technology in Learning that measured the impact of online quizzes on student success, immediate feedback had a strong, positive effect on maintaining interest and motivation. In addition, their findings support the conclusion that online quizzes enable the practice of self-monitoring while learning. Individuals who quizzed more often showed significant improvement in test results over individuals who quizzed sporadically (or not at all).
Finally, if your goal is to succeed in interviews, then Educative provides a wealth of resources and courses dedicated to interviewing preparation.
Educative provides fantastic resources for advanced learners, but it's also very beginner-friendly. When you're first learning how to code, it can be overwhelming to figure out what to learn, and in what order. All of our courses take care of that for you, so all you have to do is spend time learning.
LeetCode Premium vs. Educative Unlimited
|Feature||LeetCode Premium||Educative Unlimited|
|Price||$35/mo or $159/yr||$199/yr for Standard or $299/yr for Premium*|
|Interview Prep Courses||No||Yes|
|Personalized Learning Plans||No||Yes*|
|Access to over 300 courses||No||Yes|
|Interactive code editor||Yes||Yes|
Wrapping up and next steps
Educative courses come packed with loads of interactive features that allow you to have more structure and control over your learning experience. Our platform enables you to learn at your own pace while keeping track of your progress!
Also, because everything you need to learn is included within the platform, you never need to worry about downloading extra tools. Educative is an ultra-portable learning platform that focuses on producing high-quality technical courses that are rigorously vetted to meet industry standards.
If you ever feel like grinding LeetCode problems isn't working out for you, then give Educative a try! We're confident that the quality of our course content will get you the results you're looking for.
Continue learning about interview prep on Educative
- Land a job in tech: Career advice for recent college graduates
- 8 steps to an offer: Ace your Netflix software engineer interview
- How to prepare for the System Design Interview in 2022
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