How do you think?

<p>Well, I was just sitting here on this lovely Friday evening thinking...</p>

<p>And I'm curious about how certain people think and approach problems (academically). I'm more curious about those people who are very strong in math, logic, etc. or anyone really, who doesn't need to study long in order to understand complicated subject material. Or those who can take an extremely difficult exam and demolish it in a matter of minutes while the rest of us sweat it out. Without cheating =p.</p>

<p>Genetics plays a part in intelligence to a limited degree, but what else is there? People who are very intelligent/mathematical/logical must think differently and more efficiently than the greater population, and approach problems in their own unique way...but I'm wondering how...what goes through a mind like that? Is there a way to train a brain to think more efficiently? (not talking about those phony programs that claim to do this...)</p>

<p>Just thinking away :).</p>

<p>You should read this</a> article, Cal Newport has done research on what you're asking - he took prodigies in the following fields: concert pianists, tennis players, swimmers, mathematicians, sculptors and research neurologists - to figure out what makes a prodigy a prodigy. </p>

<p>People who think a certain way (more efficiently) have more practice thinking a certain way. One thing that fields like physics, chemistry, and other Liberal Arts fields emphasize is learning to think logically and analytically. That is what the PI whose lab I work says (he's a biophysicist): that spending years learning and thinking about physics has taught him to think differently and that way of thining can apply to various fields.</p>

<p>I'm hardly one of those super-smart students Newport frequently blogs about, but to give a personal, more realistic example, I was a bookworm as a kid - reading by 3, and reading/writing in 4 languages by age 7 - so I always excelled in reading comp throughout school and college, which comes in handy in both humanities and science (bio is a crapload of reading). The best way to develop strong reading comp skill is simply to read a lot, or "deliberate practice" like Newport likes to call it. </p>

<p>Somehow I ended up a biochem major where my reading comp skills aren't that useful :/</p>

<p>I don't know how to answer this question without making it sound like I am bragging. >.< </p>

<p>I habitually finish two hour exams within 10 minutes. In the class I am taking right now our tests are designed to be an hour and I finish them in five minutes. It's kind of embarrassing, really, and I am always afraid that the prof will think I am cheating. My IQ is above the average range but I am not a genius. I mention this since you mentioned intelligence, there is a lot more that goes into the skills you mention besides intelligence. I really don't think I'm very smart, it's not intelligence that helps me breeze through tests, it's just memory. I immediately know whether or not I know the answer to a question. I either know it or I don't, and I know which one it is as soon as I read the question. I don't have to sit and think about whether or not I know the answer. I can't fathom spending more than 20 seconds on any kind of a test question. So that makes me finish tests really quickly. I don't get crazy high test scores or anything, I am just on the upper end of average as a student, but I am very fast test taker.</p>

<p>I am very good at logic style problems-- I scored in the high 160's cold on the LSAT and my best subtest is always the logic games, which I guess is supposed to be the hard one-- I had a hard time with reading comprehension, actually. For that I really don't know what makes me good at that. I guess I am just a really analytical thinker naturally, so it is easy for me to break things down. It helps also, I think, that I tend to take things extremely literally. It can be a detriment at times, but in logic problems it can help because it is harder to distract me with misleading information. I just have the innate ability to break things down into very simple pieces very accurately and look at exactly what the problem is telling me or asking of me. Sometimes not having any intuition is a good thing, it keeps you from making silly errors when the answer is right in front of you.</p>

<p>I haven't done anything special to develop these skills. I read a lot and I play a lot of video games (and not even good ones or ones that make you smart, I mean like banjo kazooie.) My short term memory is crap, my working memory is literally non-existent, and I could easily fail any class I take if I don't work my ass off and get lots of help. So REALLY, don't think I am bragging, because I completely suck at life and at school. XD It just so happens I am one of those freakishly fast test takers.</p>

<p>Thank you for the link, pinkstrawberry. I'll definitely have to take a look at that :).</p>

<p>Brag away, Emaheevul. I'm curious more than anything lol. I've always been a slow test taker, much to my dismay... It's interesting that you mention videogames. I know many people who, like you, are strong analytical thinkers and they play videogames. I'm curious what kind of influence playing videogames has on the way people think, or if strong analytical thinkers are just drawn to videogames as part of their inherent nature. Chicken/egg idea.</p>

I habitually finish two hour exams within 10 minutes

Dude, how is this even possible?! In humanities classes, the tests are essay-exams in those blue books, and in science classes, the tests are problem sets - how can you physically write out all the problems step-by-step or the essays that quickly? Unless all your tests are multiple choice. </p>

<p>Ok let's trade skills - I want to breeze through 2 hours worth of Chem problem sets in 10 minutes, and you can have my awesome beirut/pong and painting skills. because that's all I've got going, sadly. Sorry Sky Pilot.
I know many people who, like you, are strong analytical thinkers and they play videogames.

I know many people who are stoners and all they do are play videogames...idk, I never thought there would be any correlation between that and intelligence. actually come to think of it, nearly every asian guy I've met (and my major is composed mostly of asian guys somehow) plays videogames constantly and they're all smart and mostly not stoners.</p>

<p>I have dysgraphia so for written exams I get to type, so that helps a lot. Essay style exams are more likely to take me 10-15 minutes, but usually not more. There are always exceptions of course, but that's very typical. Most of my exams these days are mostly multiple choice/short answer with a couple long essays at the end. </p>

<p>Right now I am just taking Spanish (which is what I had in mind when I wrote this post, not my poli sci essay exams), we have about an hour to do our exams, they are all essay and I am writing them by hand, and the longest I've spent on one was 20 minutes-- most of which was spent reading. The last one I finished in 5 (and got an A-) and the one before that I finished in 10 and got a B+. I have no idea how the recent test went, that one was kind of hard.</p>

<p>I would totally take your painting skills, by the way. I have no artistic ability whatsoever. I failed ceramics in high school. lol</p>

<p>I love Cal Newport's blog. Great rec. </p>

<p>My best friend and I recently were paired up for a poetry presentation in AP Lit. She's a math/science nerd who was accepted to MIT, Princeton and Harvard. I'm a hippie, humanities oriented, Reed College-esque type of thinker. </p>

<p>Since we both know each other's strengths, she made me find the poem. She then attacked it like should would a math problem-- finding all of the lit devices, meter, etc.<br>
I tackled tone and helped link everything together. Basically, I helped her take the concrete lit devices and explain them through abstract terms (i.e. there are some things you can't really explain in poetry- it's not what's written, or how it's structured, but it's how it makes you feel, and that feeling is what colors the interpretation). Her writing is also VERY formulaic. I could barely get through it. (Think Hawthorne)</p>

<p>I fit the bill the OP asked about. I've always believed my intelligence is partly due to inherent skills I have in many fields, partly due to how much I read as a child, and partly due to my personality</a> type. To be fair, I'm very capable, but don't rush through exams for the sake of completing them quickly. I prefer to make sure all of my answers are right. This works, since I test very well. Any specific questions you have, OP?</p>

<p>I'm nothing like this... even if I was, I'd probably stay in the class and double-check and triple-check just to make sure I got everything correct and can't improve anything (which coincidentally happens more than enough times)</p>

<p>I actually wish I could write an essay in 10 minutes because usually the first time round my essay is horribly written but when I write an essay for a second time it is much more immaculate.</p>

<p>Whenever I bother to double or triple check my answers I never end up changing any of them. After making it all the way to the middle of college without ever finding a single error I wanted to correct, I've stopped bothering. It is a painful bore to take an exam exactly the same way twice, and I just don't seem to ever make mistakes-- except for the kind where my knowledge is completely wrong and the correct answer is not in my head somewhere waiting to come out if I recheck. If I am capable of getting the correct answer I just do, immediately, the first time. Sometimes I do not always have the right answer in me and in that case I make a mistake, but there's no fixing it if I literally do not have the correct knowledge in me for that question. And it's not like I am rushing through my tests in a hurry to get them done, that's just how fast I finish. I always think I must have spent 30-45 minutes when it's really only been half that or less.</p>

<p>Math is the exception. I usually can't even complete math exams because I am so slow and make so many mistakes. No matter how careful I am I still reverse numbers or operation symbols or just plain do something backwards, and then I have to start the whole problem over or else I screw it up worse. Doing systems of equations with matrices in algebra (yes, i had to take algebra in college) sucked because i knew exactly how to do it but COULDNT because i kept effing up the arithmetic no matter how slowly and carefully I went along.</p>

<p>In high school, it was so easy for me to take an hour-long test in ten minutes, and that was after double-checking. I was thoroughly confused as to how people took the whole school day for TAKS (state-standardized testing).
In college, it's a lot less rote memorization or just recall, so I actually do get stuck on problems now, and second (and triple and quadruple) guess myself, which takes a lot longer. </p>

<p>I have a very, very logical-based brain, and I think it is mostly inherent, but not necessarily hereditary. Neither of my parents were too smart (my mom was a really hard-worker and my dad just slacked), nor were any of my grandparents or relatively close relations. My family is pretty centered on the bell curve of intelligence, and I'm a little above that. We've actually had conversations about it, because they're pretty curious too about why I am this way.
I did love to read from a really young age, and I think that factored a lot into it. I was like a trash compactor for books, I just couldn't gobble them up fast enough, and it opened my brain to a lot of new materials.</p>