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A Student’s Road-map: How to Become an Expert in Something

Every student who wants to become an expert in their field had thought about levels they should have to reach. To achieve success, it is not enough just to know more than newbies do. The difference is not only about knowledge, but about their perception of the world and their attitude towards troubles and tasks.

Newbie Student

For example, cookery. A newbie needs a receipt to cook a simple meal, while chief does not need any receipts at all. This does not mean a chief to remember the receipt, they just know. If they want to add any new ingredient, they will take all other ones into account and maintain correlation intuitively. Experienced people make others think they rather feel things than just remember them.

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There is a theory, dividing one’s way from a newbie to an expert into five separate steps. A student or any person willing to become a real pro, has to reach excellence with each step.

Five Levels of a Skill


The main goal for a newbie is to find out how to solve immediate tasks. As he or she does not have any experience behind, they have to focus on first successes at the very beginning. Newbies need clear rules with understandable instructions in order to concentrate on them well. In fact, they should not focus on anything but keeping up to the rules blindly.

To develop, newbies need to control and observe their actions in order to reach required results.

Advanced Newbie

An advanced newbie uses precise rules as well, but he or she is able to use their skills not only in certain situations. They can deal with those similar ones. A strict rule becomes a recommendation that way. Advanced newbies try new things, but still have troubles with understanding them. As usual newbies, they focus on goal achievement, they do not want to go in for theory and to see the overall picture.

To improve skills, advanced newbies need to get experience is real life situations, which mostly are carefully organized for them.


When rules and recommendations become overwhelmingly complicated, a person starts structuring and sorting them according to their importance, while forming conceptual models. An adept can solve problems and work according to the composed plan and past experience. They are ready to make decisions and to take responsibility for their actions.

To move to the next stage, adepts need to pass through a big variety of typical, real situations. Once they deal with those tasks, they start noticing connections between various concepts.


Specialists are able to create not only conceptual models, but conceptual frameworks around their skill. They want to see the overall and competed picture and get confused with serious simplifying of info. They are conscious about their actions and can regulate them on the go, right in the process. They know how to use and adapt someone else’s experience for themselves, and to use principles that need to be interpreted more precisely than simply keeping up to recommendations.

To improve their skills to the level of expert, a specialist has to receive much practice. They have to practice using their own thoughts and conclusions, not rules. Only when specialists can experiment in various fields freely, they start developing their intuition of an expert.


Expert Student

The main feature of an expert is intuition. They just do their job; no planning or precise analysis is required. If specialists can identify the problem intuitively, experts can solve it like that. Experts have no problems with recognizing templates; they make decisions coming from the context of the situation. Despite the fact about an expert to be very intuitive, they can often feel it difficult to explain motives of their actions.

Though the stage of an expert seems to be the last one in this list, experts never stop improving their skills, finding more and more ways, thinking out more tricky moves and bringing them to life.

So, what are Fundamental Changes?

By analyzing these five stages, one can track general motives appearing while a person develops their skills from a newbie to an expert level in any field:

  • Making a step away from strict rules to intuition and using action patterns according to a particular situation;
  • Filtration: when the problem is not specific nor structured, but a unique complex having certain parts more important than other ones;
  • Moving from the side-observer to a problem participant, accepting the responsibility for a result, not only focusing on a problem solving.

This model is not the only one that tracks one’s way from a newbie to an expert, but it definitely is one of the most popular. Every student can get something new from it, understand his or her stage of skills and set goals they want to achieve.

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