How to do fastai - Study plans & Learning strategies

Something that has helped me with fastai has been to re implement each notebook, take it by the week instead of being in a rush to complete the course. I take fastai as a marathon and not a sprint and make sure that I finish and finish strong.
Write self notes and do research on things that are hard to understand and also spend a lot of time writing code and digging into fastai source code.

Now that part-2 is out, following this approach of doing one lesson per week or less but doing it really well is going to be my focus. Also doing homework and following the public mooc as though I am in class, really helps me. Fastai is overwhelming in terms of knowledge and there is so much to learn that if we hopped on from first lesson to another without spending time on a lecture first, it would be really hard to carry forward that knowledge.


To study the part 2 of 2019, is their a need for me to study part 2 of 2018. Please i need your response, in order to guide my way through. Thanks

Yes and no. It was built on an older version of the library, so some things may not port over well, but what Jeremy teaches there is still relevant today. Eventually we will get some more narrowed down courses (like the NLP one happening now, and a GAN one in the works) but for now it is an excellent course to go through to understand the advanced topics.

Thanks. Have studied part one. I can move on to this new part 2?

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Absolutely! Go on!

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I know this is quite subjective to each one’s preferences, but have you seen better results taking notes in the computer or by hand and then passing them to the computer? If you are using the computer, do you use notebooks or google docs/evernote?

I’m one of these people that always carries a notebook (paper) in my pocket at all times and scribbles stuff in, but I think I never go back and read them or do anything with them (I really need to get a system ahaha), I’m afraid this will happen with my course notes.

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Created a separate beginner focussed version of this in Part 1 2020 category here and also made it into a wiki. I do not have permission since only the admin can make the opening post as wiki .

@muellerzr - I think this topic would be super useful to who are new to Top Down approach & getting started with the course. Could we make the top post as wiki or create a beginner focused version of it?

Not sure if you are an admin though.


Pass 1

Most of us would be at this level.

  • Watch the lecture once for high-level ideas

    • Capture the high-level ideas & concepts (Big Picture)
    • Review the questionnaire provided and try attempting to answer based on your understanding (It’s okay if you cannot answer all.)
  • Engage with lesson material

    • Read and Run the cells in the notebook. Add comments to the cell and explain what the cell does in your own words. If you do not understand, add a TODO on it.
    • use doc(THING_I_WANT_TO_KNOW_MORE) eg: doc(untar_data), ?? untar_data
    • Create the notes and an outline [1]
  • Complete the HomeWork specific to Lesson (For eg Lesson 1)

    • read the chapter corresponding to the lesson

Pass 2 - Detailed Engagement

  • Re-run the notebook but re-write every line one by one
  • Execute each one and explain what the code cell is doing & why it is doing that in your own words.
  • Watch the lecture again for more detail
  • Try to complete the questionnaire this time if you cannot answer all the questions at the previous level