day 160: experting

From my chance encounter with Joshua Foer’s Moonwalking with Einstein, I gained an awareness that it is possible for me, ugly-duckling-of-memorizing that I am, to recall and accurately repeat a string of hundreds of randomly chosen multiple-digit numbers from a single exposure.

With practice.

And technique.

For weeks I have searched for a way to morph my latent potential to memorize lists into a latent potential to memorize the body of knowledge I need to score the coveted 45 on the MCAT. This desire, and Foer’s extensive list of references, led me to the interesting topic of “experts”: what they are and how they became such.

Anders Ericsson is the expert on experts. He states, in his great body of work, that to become an expert requires daily deliberate practice. His theories were tested through studies of chess masters, internationally-ranked musicians, and Olympians along with their equivalents in American football. He and his colleagues have expanded his characterization of deliberate practice in a way that is useful to professionals: from Duvivier et al. with regard to medical education it is

  1. repetitive performance of intended cognitive or psychomotor skills.
  2. rigorous skills assessment
  3. specific information feedback
  4. better skills performance

lifehacker’s Noa Kageyama paraphrases the general characteristics of deliberate practice:

  1. focus is everything
  2. timing is everything, too
  3. don’t trust your memory (to remember insights or solutions to problems)
  4. smarter, not harder
  5. stay on target with a problem-solving model

This information will

  1. serve as my blueprint as i construct the perfect MCAT
  2. prove instrumental in my essay to the Cleveland Clinic Lerner’s College of Medicine

More on this (probably) tomorrow.

In other news, Game of Thrones season finale was good. I imagine it would have been excellent had I not read the books. This does not make me wish I had not read the books; had I done so, I am sure I would be sad to see some elements in the show missing from the original.

Now, I will deliberately practice my apology. And my empathy. I became frustrated at the state of the TV tonight and expressed my emotions in a destructive manner.




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