How to Use ChatGPT to Easily Learn Anything (7 GPT-4 Prompts for Studying)

I dive into 7 prompts that can help you to easily learn anything.

Everyone is using ChatGPT for learning but hardly anyone is getting the most out of it.

GPT-4 can save you loads of time whether you're studying for a test, trying to breakdown hard topics or just learn faster and more productively so that you can spend more time enjoying yourself.

Act As An Examiner

In-person exams where an examiner is quizzing you directly are way scarier than written exams. As a medic I had to do lots of case presentations, OSCE stations and anatomy spot tests. And it's the same for any subject that uses oral or viva style exams. It can be really hard recreating that pressure of direct questioning under exam conditions.

Luckily with GPT-4's improved creativity and training you can actually get ChatGPT to adopt the persona of an examiner and quiz you in real time on any topic you like.

//Example prompt//

You are an examiner examining [medical OSCE stations].

Please ask 2 questions for the topic: [anatomy of the wrist]

Wait for my response before asking each question individually.

Begin by asking the first question and then waiting for my response.

At the end of the questions go back and critique my response to each question and provide example answers.

Now as a little bonus prompt here if you enjoy practising with friends you can actually get ChatGPT to generate a mark scheme for practical exams and then use it to test each other.

Learn With The Pareto Principle

One of the best productivity hacks when studying anything is to focus on the high-yield topics, those key principles that come up again and again. This follows the Pareto principle which states that 80% of your marks or output will come likely from just 20% of what you're learning. The problem is it can be really difficult and time consuming identifying what that 20% of high yield topics is for any given subject.

GPT-4 can help you out here.

//Example prompt//

Topic: [Learning French]

You are a learning and productivity expert. Create a focused learning plan on the above topic using the Pareto Principle. Focus learning on the most valuable high-yield elements of the topic. Focus on active methods of learning over passive. Do not provide any pre-text or context just output the learning plan.

Expert Skills Tips

Now learning isn't just about studying for exams. It's also about learning professional skills that can take our careers to the next level. When I trained as a surgeon we were never actually examined on our surgical skills but we were expected to learn key steps before being coached through procedures by expert surgeons. And it's the same when learning any skill. You need to learn the steps but you also want those expert tips to help you reach mastery level.

Whether you need a just-in-time refresher on a skill you're learning or you're just starting off and want to learn each step in detail ChatGPT has you covered.

//Example prompt//

You are an expert [surgeon specializing in trauma and orthopaedic surgery.]

Please generate a step-by-step guide for performing the following: [Carpal Tunnel Release Operation]

Suggest images that accompany each step and tips.

Output as a list.

Worked Examples

One of the best ways to learn difficult topics is through worked examples. Fully solved or partially solved examples provide scaffolding that makes it easier for us to understand. This reduces our cognitive load and helps us to see the steps taken to solve a problem. When we consider a topic to be difficult it's often because it's new and we can't connect it to any pre-existing knowledge. A good teacher will often break things down into simple terms and use analogies we're familiar with to speed up our understanding.

ChatGPT can do all of these things and help you to more quickly understand hard topics.

//Example prompt//

Topic: Japanese Kanji

You are a learning expert specializing in the above topic that I am struggling with. Provide me with some mental models or analogies to help me understand and remember this difficult topic.

1. Explain things in simple terms

2. Provide mental models or analogies to help me learn the topic

3. Provide some quick example exercises or questions I can practice with you to help me understand in simple terms

4. Break the topic down into simple components Ask me if I understand after each step

Language Role Play

One of the best ways to learn a language is to work through a conversation with a native speaker or practise a role play scenario. When practising grammar I tend to default to things like DuoLingo or working with a language tutor to get the fastest results. While both of thee are great they can be expensive and sometimes I want to just jump into a conversation without having to set up a formal role play.

ChatGPT really comes into it's own here with it's translation features and GPT4's added creativity means you can quickly set a variety of role play scenarios. By using variables in our prompt we can switch up the language and the scenario and then chat in real time. The really cool thing here is ChatGPT can correct any mistakes in our native tongue to really speed things up.

//Example prompt//

You are a language tutor. You are to conduct a role play in [French] with me.

In the roleplay you are [a tour guide and I am an English tourist asking about what to do in Paris].

Wait for my response before asking each question individually.

Only speak in [French].

After each of my responses provide a brief critique in English and then continue the conversation in [French].

Begin by greeting me in [French] and then waiting for my response.

Medical Patient Scenario

Analysing and evaluating information is at the top of Bloom's Taxonomy and is a higher-order method of learning. The problem is that finding appropriate higher-order questions to work through can be pretty tricky. Let's take medicine for example. At both undergrad and postgraduate level we'd use case studies to analyse patient symptoms and test results and then make a treatment plan based on a possible diagnosis.

Step in ChatGPT and GPT-4. You can prime ChatGPT with some basic patient information and then work through a clinical case.

//Example prompt//

You are Bill Butler. A 64 year old patient who suffers with heart failure. Your past medical history includes: type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure You present to the doctor's office with shortness of breath on walking 200 yards and uphill. Your main medical complaint is shortness of breath on exertion which is limiting your ability to do things like go to the shops. You have no allergies. You currently take the following regular medication: Bisoprolol 2.5mg, Metformin 400mg You smoke no cigarettes, you drink small  amounts of alcohol. You have 3 of family members. You are worried about your condition. In this scenario I will be the doctor and will ask you questions one at a time. Please answer only one question at a time. To begin the scenario say "hello doctor" and then wait for my response.

Study Expert

When you're just starting out learning a new skill it can be really difficult to know the most efficient way to learn that skill as quickly as possible. We'll often default ot YouTube and study experts for the optimal way to learn but this can be a bit hit or miss too. Luckily GPT-4 has your back and you can get ChatGPT to be your personal study coach for whatever it is you want to learn. This then gives you a great starting point when getting started can be the hardest step.

//Example prompt//

Topic: Learning Japanese

You are a learning expert.

Provide me with the 5 best tools (apps, websites or techniques) for learning the above topic.

Focus on tools that use evidence-based techniques like active recall. Focus on active methods of learning over passive. provide a brief, 1-sentence overview of the tool and how best to use it to learn quickly.

Visualize Success

Here's a quick bonus prompt before we wrap up. Once you've mastered any skill it's then time to put it into practice. There is lots of evidence from psychology and performance coaching that visualizing yourself successfully performing a skill is almost as good as actually practicing that skill for real. Whether it's sitting an exam or performing in public GPT-4 can act as your own personal performance coach.

//Example prompt//

Topic: [  ]

You are a performance coach specializing in visualization.

Guide me through a visualization exercise to help me internalize the above topic and imagine myself applying it to a real-life situation.