Scott H Young

Learning 4 Years of MIT in 12 Months


Starting October 1st, I’m embarking on a new challenge. Watch the video above or read below to find out more (if you’re reading this twice, don’t worry, I accidentally posted it before the video was finished)

The MIT Challenge — 4 Years of Learning in 12 Months

Over the next 12 months, I’m going to learn the entire 4-year MIT curriculum for computer science, without taking any classes.

Computers have always fascinated me. From finance to Facebook, algorithms are the hidden language that underlies most of our life. The largest transformations of our world are being written in code, and advancements in artificial intelligence allow us to use computers to understand what it means to be human.

Beyond the poetry of the machine, computer science is also immensely practical. Fortunes have been made and revolutions sparked on lines of code.

I’ve always wanted to speak that language. But, I didn’t want to invest four years of my life and hundreds of thousands of dollars to learn it.

I’m embarking on this experiment because I want to show that learning doesn’t require acceptance boards and SAT tests, thousands of dollars in debt, or even the 4-year pace most students assume is necessary to learn a subject.

Will I fail? It’s definitely a possibility—people a lot smarter than myself struggle through immense workloads at institutions like MIT, and I’m attempting to learn the same material at 4x the speed, without the benefit of instructors.

All I can promise is to share what I find with you. Listed here are all 33 classes I’ll be covering. For each of them, I’ll write the final exam and you can compare my answers to the MIT official solutions. I’ll also post any failures, so you can be sure I’m not omitting my mistakes.

Subscribe to my new YouTube channel as well, as I’ll be making regular video updates to the challenge as well as sharing insights in learning faster and self-education.

What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear what you think of the challenge in the comments!


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53 Responses to “Learning 4 Years of MIT in 12 Months”

  1. […] it faster by just reading some code.) If anything, the wasted time made me keep thinking back to this guy who learned 4 years of MIT courses in 12 months. He’s got an ebook that is supposed to reveal his secrets to how to “Learn More, Study […]

  2. […] cannot simply create a college experience. Which is only partly true. One of my goals has been to distill the essence of University education into a feasible […]

  3. I was interested by your article and endeavor because I am thinking along the same lines. I am self studying the MIT program for mechanical engineering . I am following the 4 year course of study for that program that MIT has published. I am buying used textbooks from EBAY that parallels the course requirements. I am paying about 5 dollars a book as compared to new book prices that are much more expensive. I am currently self studying engineering calculus for the equivalent of 3 required courses. This phase is the most important because engineering builds off of a firm math background.

    I believe that if a person pursues a self study program that mirrors a formal education, the benefits will be the same. The catch is that the person must be diligent and honest with him/her self. This means that all requisite courses must be studied and tested on to ensure that you receive the proper knowledge intended. The courses must be followed as the formal 4 year plan indicates since one requisite is usually built on a pre-requisite.

    The only downside to a self study program is that you get no degree but does it matter? The answer is a big NO. From my many years in the workforce, I have seen countless engineers that can not even grasp the most elementary concepts of engineering because they simply forgot their formal training. Knowledge is an ongoing thing for every day of your life. As a self taught engineer, you have the mindset to always regenerate your knowledge.

    I believe that being a self taught engineer carries more weight in the eyes of an employer. The employer sees such a person as one that is extremely motivated about his career. There are some that will say that you need a 4 year engineering degree to get an engineering job. That is not true because I have held the title of Engineer many times in the Civil Engineering field without a degree in Civil Engineering. I conveyed an image of professionalism to my prospective employers and they saw the potential I possessed. I was not able to be a PE but that is a small downside I could live with.

    I worked for Westinghouse some years ago and I can remember only a handful for engineers had a PE license. It depends on where you work if you need a PE license or not.

    learning takes time to comprehend so I am allowing myself at least 2 years to learn the course work of an undergraduate mechanical engineering degree. I am only interested in the technical courses and I am ignoring any liberal arts courses found in the 4 year program.

Debate is fine, flaming is not. Pretend that this comment form is a discussion taking place in my house. That means I enjoy constructive criticism and polite suggestions. Personal attacks, insults and all-purpose nastiness will be removed especially if it is directed at other readers.

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