Reading guide:
Ultralearning
by Scott H. Young

Reading questions

Chapter II: Why Ultralearning Matters

What is ultralearning? (25)

What are three important aspects of ultralearning? (25-26)

What is ultralearning not? (25-26)

Why is ultralearning a necessary skill in this age? (27)

Why is ultralearning crucial in this economy? (28-29)

Why are schools not the best option to learn skills? (29-30)

What tools have made learning more accessible? (31)

What are three career areas where ultralearning can help? (32)
What is the ultimate reward of ultralearning? (34)
What are the three main ways (time-wise) to do ultralearning? (37)

What's the core of ultralearning? (37)

Chapter III: How to Become an Ultralearner

Why is ultralearning a set of principles, not a method? (47)
What are the 9 ultralearning principles? (48-49)

Chapter IV: Principle 1—Metalearning

What is metalearning? (53)

How does metalearning make you learn faster and more effectively? (54-55)

What are the why, what, and how of any ultralearning project? (57-58)
What is instrumental learning motivation and why does it require more planning? (58-59)
What's the expert interview method for planning an ultralearning project? (59-60)

How can you find experts to interview? (60)

What are three types of knowledge you need to identify before starting an ultralearning project? (62)
How do you spot potential bottlenecks to learning? (63)
What's benchmarking and how does it help you learn? (64-65)

What's the emphasize/exclude method and how does it help to learn? (65-66)

How much research should you do before starting an ultralearning project? (67-68)
What's the meta/overreaching result from doing ultralearning projects? (69)

Chapter V: Principle 2—Focus

What awareness do you need to start tackling procrastination? (74-75)
What are some (progressive) crutches to beat procrastination? (75-76)
Why is flow state not a goal in ultralearning? (78-79)

Why don't you need multi-hour time blocks to learn? (79-80)

How can note-taking during reading improve focus? (80)
In what ways can your mind distract you? (82)

How might you immediately work through these distractions and overcome them over time? (82-83)

How can diffuse mode thinking help you with complex tasks? (84)

What's first needed? (84)

Why is it important to match your current arousal level to the type of task you're planning to do? (85)

Chapter VI: Principle 3—Directness

What is direct learning? (90)

What is the indirect (ineffective) way most educators teach? (91)

What is transfer in learning? (94)

Why does transfer seldom happen? (97)

How does directness solve the problem of transfer? (97)
What are ways and examples in which the ultralearning approach solves the problem of transfer? (99-100)
What are four ultralearning tactics for direct learning? (101-105)

What is project-based learning? (101-102)

What is immersive learning? (102)

What is the (flight) simulator method? (103)

What is the overkill approach? (104)

Chapter VII: Principle 4—Drill

What can cause bottlenecks in your learning progress and how do drills help to learn through them? (109-110)
How can drills reduce cognitive load during learning? (111)
What is the direct-then-drill approach and what are its steps? (112)

How often should you switch/cycle practice types? (113)

What are three challenges when designing drills? (113-114)
What are five strategies to tackle the challenges in designing drills (114-117)

What is the time-slicing strategy to design learning drills? (114)

What is the cognitive components strategy to design learning drills? (115)

What is the copycat strategy to design learning drills? (115)

What is the magnifying glass strategy to design learning drills? (115)

What is the prerequisite chaining strategy to design learning drills? (115)

Why are ultralearning drills not mind-numbing like drills in school? (117)

What mindset/attitude should you develop toward drills? (118)

Chapter VIII: Principle 5—Retrieval

What is the testing effect? (123)
Why are humans prone to pick ineffective learning strategies? (124)
What are desired difficulties and how can you use them during testing? (125)

When does a difficulty become undesirable? (126)

What is the forward-testing effect? (127)
How can you decide what to practice retrieving (learn deeply)? (128)

How can passive exposure to a topic help you decide what approach to take when solving a problem? (129)

What are five retrieval tactics? (130-133)

What is the best use case for flashcards? (130)

What is free recall and when would you use it? (131)

What is the question-book method and what trap should avoid (and how can you avoid it)? (131-132)

For what type of knowledge do (self-generated) challenges work best? (132)

What is closed-book learning and why does it work? (133)

Chapter IX: Principle 6—Feedback

How is ultralearning feedback different from normal feedback? (137)

Why is feedback essential in learning? (137)

What do ultralearners need to keep in mind when seeking feedback? (139)
What are three types of learning feedback? (141-145)
What is outcome feedback and what is one major limitation of this feedback type? (141)

Why is outcome feedback still valuable? (142-143)

What is informational feedback and what do you need to get it? (143)

What is corrective feedback and what is the easiest way to get this type of feedback? (144)

What are four tactics mentioned to improve feedback? (148-151)

How can you reduce noise in feedback? (148-149)

How can you hit the difficulty sweetspot? (149)

What is metafeedback and what are two ways to use it? (150)

What makes high-intensity, rapid feedback effective? (151)

Chapter X: Principle 7—Retention

Why is retention crucial in learning and life? (158)
What are the three main ways people forget what they've learned? (159-163)

What is decay, but why isn't it a full explanation of why we forget? (160-161)

What are two ways that other memories can interfere when learning something new? (161-162)

What is a cue and how does it play a role in remembering? (162)

According to researchers, what is actually happening when we retrieve something from memory? (163)
What are four memory mechanisms to help you remember what you learn? (164-175)
What is spaced learning and how does it work? (165)

What is an SRS and what is it best used for? (165-166)

What is procedural knowledge and what's an important characteristic of it?

What are ways that proceduralization can help you remember or learn new skills?

What is overlearning and what's a major advantage of it? (170-171)

What are ways to apply overlearning? (172)

What are two characteristics of mnemonic strategies? (173)

What are two disadvantages of mnemonics? (174)

What are potential use cases for mnemonics? (175)

Chapter XI: Principle 8—Intuition

What are four rules to grow your intuition? (185-191)

What strategy should you apply to hard problems? (185-186)

How does re-creating results deepen understanding? (186)

Why do you need to work with concrete examples? (189)

How can you avoid fooling yourself into thinking you understand something? (190-191)

What's the Feynman Technique and how does it help to dispel the illusion of knowing? (192)

What are the three steps of the Feynman Technique? (192)

What are three situations in which the Feynman Technique is useful? (193-195)

Chapter XII: Principle 9—Experimentation

What are three reasons that experimentation is crucial as you move closer to mastery? (203-204)
What are the three levels of experimentation? (204-207)

How can experimenting with learning resources help you make progress fast? (205)

How can experimentation help you find direction in your learning process?

How can experimenting with style help you? (206)

How does experimenting with style work? (206)

What do you need to keep in mind when experimenting with style? (207)

What are fixed and growth mindsets, and how do they relate to experimentation? (207)
What are five tactics to experiment successfully? (208-212)

How can practicing by copying others' work help? (208-209)

How can you compare learning methods and what are two advantages of doing this? (209-210)

How can constraints help you find new ways of doing things? (210)

How can combining unrelated skills lead to mastery? (211)

Why does it pay to explore skills to the extreme? (212)

Why is learning by definition experimentation? (213)

Why is it crucial to develop an experimenter's mindset? (213)

Chapter XIII: Your First Ultralearning Project

What five items should be on your research list before you start learning? (217-219)
What four steps should you take when planning time for your ultralearning project? (219-220)

What additional step should you take for long projects? (221)

What can you do to keep ideal learning conditions? (224)
What three questions should you ask yourself when reviewing your ultralearning project? (224)
What are some low-effort ways to maintain a skill? (226)
Why is relearning a skill sometimes better than maintaining it?  (227)
What are ways to master a skill? (227-228)
What are the two alternative strategies to ultralearning? (229-232)

What's the main consideration between cultivating a habit and doing an ultralearning project? (230)

What are reasons to choose formal education over ultralearning projects? (231)

What is ultralearning, ultimately? (232)