Forgot what I learned. How to avoid this happening again?

I started the camp in March 2016 and got through HTML and CSS in two weeks. Then I started the Bootstrap.
After doing a few challenges, I realized I don’t remember most of HTML and CSS syntax and even what exactly I was learning.

I’m trying again now. I wonder if there’s any way to avoid it? Also, there isn’t much explanation about how stuff works. Is one intended to read some book or do other course when doing the challenges?

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I made notes while doing exercises. Additionally one can also use spaced repetition software(SRS) like Anki.

This happens to me as well, even though I try to avoid it, occasionally a gap will happen where I don’t practice or study any sort of code for a week or more. Inevitably when I come back to it I feel like I’ve forgotten everything.

I’ve found that it is extremely helpful to go back through the lessons for HTML/CSS or even beginning JavaScript, even though it can be frustrating to feel like you’re backtracking or doing the same thing twice.

In my experience whenever I do this, syntax and comprehension comes back to me much more quickly than I expect, which makes it feel a lot less like backtracking and more like a review or a nice warm-up. I typically don’t have to review for more than 20-30 minutes TOPS before I feel comfortable enough to jump back in to new stuff.

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I would just keep up with consistency. Never let a day slide where you aren’t coding.

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Practice, Practice, Practice … Not even joking, learning is a thing, but it doesn’t mean you’re used to it :slight_smile: Notes are a way to quickly remember but definitly, having the hands down the code is the best way :wink:


I’ve also found sometimes that building something right away using what you’ve learned helps a lot. Doesn’t have to be pretty or very nice, just something
Humor helps too! Make a pretty web page with the sole intention of messing with a friend.

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I would go through everything once more and save a file or a folder of files containing notes and examples of everything. Then when the need arises in the future, refer first to your notes/examples. If what you need isn’t there, try google (which will probably lead you to MDN web docs, w3schools, or css-tricks for HTML and CSS questions).

Repetition and, more importantly, necessity, will lead to retention. After you create your own page from scratch (possibly the Tribute Page challenge) you’ll have the basics down. Then you’ll have a foundation to build on.

Underneath freeCodeCamp’s gamification of the process lies the reality that it’s hard work. It’s not to be done casually unless it’s just for fun.


Thanks for replies.

I started saving various stages of the “cat photo app” (of course it would be impossible if I already didn’t know how to work with files and what is the basic HTML structure which fCC doesn’t teach.). The basic, the forms, etc. so I can look at it.
I’ll have to make my own page with that functionality when I’ll get through it.

Personally, I wish there would be some kind of synthesis of the gamified approach of the freeCodeCamp and doing stuff on one’s own. The gamification gives great flow but in current state it needs to be heavily supplemented with conventional learning. So, one may wonder what’s the point.

I was doing a W3C HTML & CSS fundamentals course but it goes sluggish when compared to fCC - I hate reading from computer screen, reading it on smartphone is even worse.
It also applies to stuff like MDN web docs, etc.
I strongly dislike that most of that stuff is centred around sitting before computer screen and reading pages upon pages of text. This kind of tutorials and documentations should be downloadable in ebook formats so that it could be read on ebook reader.

I guess I’ll just buy a book to complement the fCC exercises. I’m thinking about HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites.

I recently did a UBCx: HtC1x How to Code: Simple Data course and it was very nice because it was mostly a combination of coding along videos and doing problems on one’s own.
I had to copy some text, for example design recipes to my ebook reader but overall, it was a good combination - if all the text components would be downloadable as ebooks it would be perfect.

Personally, I prefer code along videos over gamification because it allows to create work in one’s own editor and videos can still be kept shorter than 10-20 minutes.
On the other hand when I’m confronted with pages upon pages of text along the videos, etc. and it’s not an ebook, it’s just pure tedium.

To each their own way of learning. Personally I like giant pages of text/books to learning rather than videos. I get easily caught up with videos and get bored/distracted. Books/text usually provide better structure, and provide a better reference (MDN is an excellent reference).

I also approach learning new things more of a “doing” thing, since reading/watching is one thing, doing is another. If you throw yourself in the deep end and attempt to learn a lot of things at once, you either crash and burn or come out with a lot of knowledge.

Now onto forgetting the HTML+CSS the key is keep working with it or you will forget it, but at the same time I wouldn’t consider memorizing HTML+CSS down to the dot. Both are just standards that are documented well if “googled” properly. MDN is a great resource to get the gist of a tag/class if you forget how something works.

I want to finalize by saying all of this shouldn’t be memorized to much beyond knowing what to use where. All the details will just fill your brain with useless knowledge if you don’t know how to apply it, so keep going onto other larger projects.

My main problem with most of the online courses with lots of text is that it’s not made for reading on ebook reader, but requires sitting and staring at computer screen or smartphone screen which is even more awful.

I got the book I was talking about and I went through basics of HTML and CSS on fCC and now I’m reading through the book and trying to get enough info to design a simple website featuring stuff that was already covered.

I’ll continue with fCC when I’ll finish doing this.

Software and Web development can be a strange ecosystem when it comes to learning. We’re often coming from an academical background that taught us to learn from the basics to mastery over a subject. However, learning development is completely upside-down in a sense that you learn by diving in the middle and cheating is allowed through the convenience of a reference site on the internet.

That said, your best way to “memorize” markup tags is by… creating. Open up your favorite editor and start creating things out of HTML and CSS. Make dozens of crappy projects for the sake of learning. Then when you fully master HTML and CSS, take it up a notch and learn how to abstract the styling process through Bootstrap

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