When it comes to studying, there is no singular way for you to successfully approach it. A successful study method is always vagrant on what you’re studying, the assignment you’ve been given and most importantly, the individual. Everybody is unique in how they learn so the first thing you have to do is find the most efficient way of studying that suits you. This can often be one particular method or a variety of several, the key is finding what fits for you. In this post I’m going to outline how I come about making notes and effectively studying.
Step 1. I don’t. I’m just that smart. Anything I read I remember. Just kidding 😉.
Here’s what I really do:
The first set of notes you make will always be the ones from your lectures, so the best thing you can do is read over your notes and fill in any gaps. I do this by re-watching the lecture (if they’ve been kindly recorded by your lecturer), and anything I’ve missed in my notes I write it down in a way that I’ll understand. I will often put key heroines or information of significance in BOLD and sometimes even HIGHLIGHT them if they’re really important.
With the readings I get for each week I like to make notes on key information; sometimes I write a rough brief summary of the reading with numbered quotes in case I need to look back on them. If you own the book, highlighting again often helps. I mostly use online resources, however, on the off-chance I need to do the reading from a book I’ll either borrow one from a friend, or in extreme cases photocopy the relevant pages (printing isn’t cheap). Again with your reading notes keep them organised too. I like to include lots of colour in my notes as it works as a memory aid. Having a folder (or several) makes being organised easier; you can keep each reading filed alongside your lecture notes under a specific topic or week.
Now step 3 is something I always plan to do, but is also very time consuming; truthfully I would like to be doing it more often but there isn’t always time.
In order to keep on top of your notes, keep them organised! Life is so much easier when you know where everything you need is. With all your notes in the wonderfully kept folder, the next thing to do with all that free time you now have is to condense all your notes. This will not only help you consolidate your knowledge, but when it comes to revision it saves you half the work of removing all the dribble and refreshing your memory with the key information. Personally, I think this step is essential for exam preparation, but also not worth it if you’re writing an essay; the chances are you’re not going to require the whole term’s set of notes for the one essay.
As I originally mentioned, we all have our different methods of absorbing information, these are my personal ways of tackling general study.
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