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Joe Schmitt
Joe Schmitt

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How I run through a tutorial and actually remember things

This post is part of a (hopefully) long-running series of Dev Diary entires on my process of teaching myself Swift and Swift UI in order to build an app.

As I mentioned before, Apple has some amazing tutorials dedicated to Swift UI. The presentation of these is the best I've ever seen, broken down step-by-step with clear diffs and explanations on what you're doing, and even a quick quiz at the end to make sure you actually understood what you've done.

When doing these types of tutorials, you might often find that you've gotten to the end to that quiz having retained almost nothing. It's ok, it happens. Here's what I do that oftentimes helps to make sure I'm paying attention and actually learning, not just regurgitating.

  1. Re-read every instruction/step more than once. It's too easy to just skim and not really take in what they're saying. Forcing yourself to do it at least twice, or maybe even once out-loud, forces you to slow down and pay attention
  2. Never copy-paste the sample code. I learned this one the hard way from having done these types of tutorials from a text book back in the day. Copying and pasting has the same issue as skimming: you're not actually retaining anything. Forcing yourself to write the lines at least gives you a shot at remembering, just like note-taking helps retain a lecture
  3. Try to do the tutorial step yourself before you copy the step. I can't stress this one enough. When I read an instruction that wants me to do something, I immediately ignore the code they're asking me to write and try and write the code myself. Nine times out of 10 I fail miserably, but that's ok! Eventually I start getting the hang of it and I start being able to complete the example just from its description, without referring to the sample code at all. That's when I know I've nailed it.

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