Day trading has shallow barriers to entry. Anyone can start to learn day trading. But the overlooked question is: Are you learning effectively?
As the psychologist Kurt Lewin pointed out:
Learning is more effective when it is an active rather than a passive process.
This concise guide will show you six ways to build your personal active learning experience as a day trader.
- Learn efficiently from online articles
- Take advantage of crowd-sourced learning
- Study organized and structured trading books
- Practice risk-free
- Gather like-minded support
- Nurture an open mind
These methods will also help you save time and money while gaining new trading support and network.
1. Learn Quickly from Concise Online Trading Guides
The surefire way to dampen the learning momentum of someone new to day trading is to hand him the 2000-page “Definitive Guide to Day Trading” with 25 appendices.
On the other hand, reading concise trading articles and guides keeps your budding interest going effectively. Hence, this is an excellent way to get started.
Online readers are scanners. They scan through articles to find what interests them. Online writers know this.
This is why online articles are easy to read.
And they are also concise.
They have friendly formatting with sub-headings, bullet points, and tables to help you scan through the content quickly.
There are dozens of websites with quality articles on day trading and technical analysis.
Start with our Lesson Plans for the Self-Taught Day Trader.
Then, move on to the list below.
- Investopedia – Technical Analysis – A step-by-step guide to learning technical analysis systematically.
- ChartSchool – A splendid reference with almost every technical indicator and chart analysis method.
- BabyPips – School of Pipsology – Progress from preschool to graduation. For day trading forex, this is the ideal place to start.
- InformedTrades Trading Course – Extensive selection of video lessons on all aspects of trading, including position sizing and trading psychology.
- Wiley’s “For Dummies Series” – Day Trading Articles – Dozens of free, well-written articles on day trading.
- Trading Setups Review – Day Trading – We have more to offer here at TSR if you find this article helpful.
- thepatternsite by Bulkowski – An authoritative reference for price patterns and their performance.
2. Get Not One, But Many Trading Mentors
Have you thought of getting a trading mentor? How much does it cost? A few hundred dollars at least, maybe.
How about getting many trading mentors for free?
How does that work? Are there selfless traders sharing their experience and guiding fellow traders?
You can find them in online day trading forums. Many day trading forums are free and well-organized, offering the ideal platform to ‘crowd-source’ answers to your trading questions.
You can find answers to all aspects of trading for a living, ranging from trading strategies to a trader’s ideal home office setup.
Make the most out of day trading forums with these tips.
- Join the best day trading forums.
- Start with the more popular threads. (Sort forum threads by the number of views.)
- Ask questions politely and ignore the inevitable trolls. (Don’t engage with trolls. Serious traders focus on winning money, not arguments.)
- Search across more than 20 trading forums with our customized search engine.
- Start a journal to record your learning process. You can find a section for trading journals in most forums for traders.
3. Gain Expert Knowledge from Trading Books
Trading books offer a source of expert trading knowledge in an organized package.
While trading books contain valuable trading ideas, most books are not worth reading cover to cover. So, as an effective learner, you do not need to buy and read every single book on trading.
Pinpoint the best trading books and extract the gems.
We have a few curated book lists for you:
- Day Trading Books
- Price Action Trading Books
- Forex Trading Books
- Volume Trading Books
- Trading Psychology Books
Bonus tip – Use Libby App or Get Amazon Prime
Check your library for the books that interest you. The Libby App is great for checking out books from your local library.
But if you decide to purchase your next trading book from Amazon, make sure you sign up for Amazon Prime.
At least try it free for 30 days to enjoy a host of benefits, including faster delivery and access to free ebooks via Prime Reading.
4. Clock Solid Trading Experience Without Risking a Cent
Nothing beats trading with real cash at risk for learning how to day trade. However, trading with your hard-earned capital is costly when you’re still learning.
So what is the best alternative to gaining trading experience?
The trading brokerage industry has grown very competitive, and it is a breeze to get demo accounts for simulated trading.
Let us help you find the Best Day Trading Simulators.
With a realistic simulator, you can hone your trading skills without risking a cent.
You can start paper trading whenever you have a written trading plan. And once you’re confident of at least controlling your risk, you can consider moving on to trade live. This will give you more confidence than just simply reading stuff.
The main drawback is that you do not experience the psychological stress of winning and losing real money.
To add some mental stress to your simulation process, aim to earn your trading capital. For instance, to deposit $10,000 into your live trading account, you must have made $10,000 in virtual trading. This way, you are deliberately introducing a level of stress as you earn your way to a live account.
Refer to our simulation trading guide for more ways to make your paper trading more realistic and productive.
5. Get Support from New Trading Friends
Learning is a process. For individual traders, it is a process that is hard to sustain. Therefore, having a support network of trader friends is essential to learning day trading effectively.
Day trading is an individual sport, but learning how to day trade is not. So let us pool trading ideas together and encourage each other to be better day traders.
Here are some ways to get to know more like-minded traders:
6. Learn Day Trading with an Open Mind
Keep an open mind and continue to learn regardless of how long you have been in the game.
While you should maintain a healthy skepticism, do not close yourself to different ideas.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your method is the only Holy Grail. Conceit and arrogance precede the downfall of traders, including the best of us.
Reminder – No Way To Learn Day Trading Without Sustained Effort
These are six tips to learn how to day trade effectively. But they all require sustained effort, which is the most challenging aspect.
I’ve received many emails asking for effortless ways to easily make a living from the markets. But there simply isn’t such a method.
Put in the effort to learn all you can, gain trading experience, and draw your own market conclusion over time. This is the only way to consistent trading performance.
And for anyone who loves studying the markets, this is where all the fun is as well.
The article was first published on 15 January 2014 and updated on 10 May 2022.