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Hey guys

I'm going through SICP after a break from an intro programming course using C++.

Basically, the book is over my head and so are the lectures, unless I go slow as fuarrrk. I know I'm dumb, but man this really puts the last nail in that coffin.

I find it helps if I keep my text editor open to take diligent notes in LaTex, pause and/or rewind and sometimes even tangentially diverge to Wikipedia or a seperate YouTube video to explain a concept.

Is this normal or am I just dumb? Also, study method general. I generally use scratch paper or create a rough .txt when watching a vid, revise later when reviewing, and keep everything as concise as I can (the concision standard forces me to understand and digest things to be able to repeat it simply).

>pic related


Don't worry, you are not dumb. You're studying smart, rather than just skip ahead pretending you understood, as many (myself included) would do. I think it's great to make use of available resources. Often I find myself jumping between different resources when one isn't clear enough for me.


This is one you have to take slow. If this is your first encounter with LISP, maybe check out The Little Schemer first.


Don't feel dumb. It took me one month to read SICP pretending I understood it, and six months of re-reading to actually understand it. I'm a much better programmer because of it.


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Here's a study methods thread with plenty of good posts: >>>/sci/270

When I was doing SICP I would read the section and then do the exercises. If I couldn't do an exercise I would reread the parts I felt were relevant until I could finish the exercise. SICP has awesome exercises you should do as many of them as you can.


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Lain, I often find myself reading research papers that are over my head initially. I find real-world workshops or classes most useful in filling in gaps within my own working knowledge of a particular theory. If you're struggling to grasp something in particular, my best advice is to try to apply it or teach it to others.

While I find that writing notes on paper has the effect of making the information more memorable and easier to recall, I also find it useful to re-write written notes in .txt files to ensure that I can search and refer back to a section of interest in the future. The fact that I know that I can refer back to something difficult to recall keeps me moving forward. Having more pieces of a big puzzle makes it easier to see how the existing pieces fit together.

You might never fully comprehend another person's writing or research because you're not the person who wrote the book and won't have time to read all of their reference materials or complete the same research they have. That's why we keep information in books and files for reference - why do what's already been done? Learn what's already been done so that you can do what hasn't been done and record your own observations.

Teaching others who don't know what you already know is a great way to improve your own learning due to the questions and observations that you wouldn't have otherwise considered. You probably know a lot more than you think, and questions from newcomers often reveal that.

As you study, distill what you're learning into short, simple guides or exercises that a lay person could perform and put them out there or conduct your own workshops for lay people in your spare time. Even if someone else has already made a guide for the same subject matter, your personal perspective or application might make more sense to certain people due to differences in learning styles and language comprehension.



That's how you're actually supposed to study. You're doing it right. SICP is a mountain for many many brilliant programmers. Books like TAoCP too. Take it your own pace, read and re-read. Watch and re-watch. Work on the exercises. Check out this map between the lectures and the book: http://community.schemewiki.org/?sicp-text-to-video-map

Try to work through programming exercises like Project Euler in Scheme to give you a better handle on the language. It's very important to understand that SICP is there to teach _computer science_, not _programming_. For SICP, Scheme is a tool to teach CS.

The package you want is `mit-scheme` and should be in almost all package repositories. You can also use racket and install the `racket-sicp` package: http://www.neilvandyke.org/racket/sicp/



Oh, also, check out the OP in lisp general. It's got a lot of stuff you may find useful. The Little Schemer is a great book to spend some time on if you want to take some time to really get into Scheme.




It's good to be aware of your weaknesses. You can do this. The industry is full of people who don't understand what they're doing, only they can't admit it and never try to correct it.