How to retain what you learn on FCC

I would like to know what strategies some of you are using to retain what you are learning through these challenges. I have completed 160 challenges and I feel like its hard to remember the principles since we are exposed to most them only once.

Do you…

  1. Go through the challenges more than once
  2. Take notes and review them
  3. Use a second online coding school to supplement
  4. Don’t worry about it as you will be forced to re-learn this during the projects
  5. Or something else?

I have attached a picture of what I’m currently doing which is hand written notes but it’s still been challenging to retain the code.

I appreciate any feedback and would love to hear what other students do. Thank you.


BUILD something. BUILD a pet project. BUILD a fictitious company website. Imagine you’re already a dev in a startup and need to BUILD an XYZ page (a product page, a contact us form, a wiki page). That’s the only way what you learned is going to stick to your brain.

Watching more videos would not help, reading more books would not help, writing notes and re-reading your notes would not help. They’re good for learning new information, but it won’t stick too long in your brain if you don’t APPLY it. And the only way you can practically apply what you learned is if you BUILD something.

PS: These fictitious website builds won’t go to waste either. They can go into your design portfolio, or use them as “code snippet libraries” or “templates” of future builds.


I make notes on a notepad for some things eg) for using git and deploying to heroku as there are a few steps to getting it right. :pen_ballpoint:

I have saved the code for challenges to my computer and deployed to a website so I can access them easily. Plus you have codepen, jsfiddle, jsbin etc for trying things out and saving things. So these are my “online notes” :slight_smile:

I recommend writing comments in your code to remind you of your thought process.

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The best way I’ve found for me learn effectively is to put the concepts into to practice as I study.

So if you’re learning prototypical inheritance in Javascript, take the time to code a project that uses custom objects or make up a few “classes” on your own.

Save the code (and link it to your notes / course materials) so you can go back to review it later.

If your goal is to eventually get a job in programming, then you will appreciate the practical knowledge and understanding that comes with putting the concepts into practice.

When you get to interviewing, you can always go back to review the concepts / explanations for things, but nothing will substitute for the hands-on experience of coding in my opinion.

Don’t worry about knowing the exact definitions for certain things. It’s much better just to know when and how to use them.

Like on that page, you could do a quick mock up with inline and block elements, a media query, and a pseudo-selector for :focus

Hope this helps!


OK. Sounds like putting what you learn into a project is the general consensus. Thank you!

It would be a big effort but the best way I can imagine executing this is to display the code and it’s effect as a reference.

I like to do a Cornell-method-ish thing and instead of making lists of definitions I write questions like “How do I wait for all my JSON calls to finish before moving on?” and then write an explanation to myself about Promise.all, for example. For this method to work you have to come up with a working example as your answer and you create your own FAQ as you go.

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Build side projects, you don’t even know what idea might lead to another and then another and then one that clicks. You might have an application with a good amount of user. So keep coding whatever you learn.

I do take notes on a paper and later just to curate, whatever I find useful I convert them to public gists on my github account so that I can have access to them over the internet.

You can look up to some courses/books related to technologies you are interested and refer to them later on when you are working on something but you need a solution that is similar to the information provided into a specific course/book. Till I date, I note down pages or highlight something whatever I find useful to be a reference.


This has been on my mind in terms of “Communicative Efficiencies” and “Memory Retention” considering “Information Delivery” ‘mechanisms’ & ‘processes’.

Humans are bio-computers.
Neural Nets are Strengthened with Certain Types of Activities and Feedback systems into Values.
Motivation & Memory Formation

  • There are many formula’s
    ** Most brains are macro-physiologically similar

Communicative Efficiencies: "How much ‘friction’ is there in ‘bundling’ ‘relaying’ and ‘unbundling’ information"
eg: Idea; Neural Network; Contextual Framework; Specific Words; Linguistical Syntax; Narrative Applied Over Time; Vocal Linguistic / Visual-Finger mechanics activated … Vibrations … “Message Received” Message ‘Decrypted’

Memory Retention rel: Information Delivery [Mechanisms : Processes]

Repetition builds network strength
Challenge; delay - & feedback conditioning

Intrinsic rel: Extrinsic Motivators
Memory ‘Anchoring’

I’ve been looking to build a symbiotic system to this[; and, had some help last year.] interfacing with FCC.
There’re some resources stashed which could work very well into an integrated style.

I feel like hand note taking can be beneficial if someone finds it so; the environment should be providing the right experience.

while(1) {

Yes, it is an infinite loop. That’s the idea.