Download Mark's BrainHow to Use Mark's Notes and Flashcards

Efficient learning is one of the most valuable skills to acquire. The scope of what we are required to learn for our jobs is ever-increasing, especially in fields like software development and data science.

The goal behind Download Mark's Brain is to help you speed up your learning and ensure that you get more value out of what you learn by retaining it forever. Below are some tips on how to use this site to your advantage.

  • Glance through the notes / flashcards for context: If you haven't read the source material, glancing through the notes / flashcards will give you an idea what is in the source and help you decide whether you are interested.
  • If you decide you are interested, study the source first: These notes / flashcards are all about retaining important material, not learning it for the first time. The source texts contain far more explanation and context around the material to help you learn for the first time. If you just jump into reviewing the decks, you’ll learn something, but it will be very inefficient.
  • Add your own material: There will almost certainly be some information in the source documents that you want in your personal collection that is not included in my material. Fill in any gaps with your own notes / cards.
  • Cut ruthlessly: There may be material in my notes / flashcards that is not relevant to you personally. Cut this material without thinking twice.
  • Use the context clues: For all of my flashcards, I add a short, consistently-named context clue in brackets () at the beginning of each card referring to the source and the particular chapter / sub-section if applicable. This means that when you work through the source material, you can immediately hone-in on flashcards of relevance by searching the context clue in the Anki browser search bar.
  • Use the tags: Each Anki deck has a unique tag that you can use to find all the cards. For example, the Mastering Oracle SQL deck has the tag mastering_oracle_sql. You can find all these cards in Anki by typing tag:mastering_oracle_sql in the browse search bar.
  • Read about the triple-pass system: I call the method I use to develop all my notes and flashcards the Triple Pass System. Reading about it will provide you some context about how my material is developed and it may provide you with some ideas you can incorporate into your own personal knowledge management system.