How to quickly and efficiently review Your notes
Read the entire note-taking series to maximize your study time:
The goal of taking notes is to have a collection of your thoughts. Specifically, thoughts pertinent to you right now. Remember these five tips for better notes. What is helpful for you to look over today should be different from what you needed to look over four weeks ago. As you work through a course things will stick and make sense! When they move from paper to memory, they need to come off of the paper.
Your notes should always contain information you currently need to work on. Remove things as you commit them to memory.
What does a powerful study tool look like?
I prefer to compile my notes digitally using OneNote because it makes it very easy to make revisions. My initial set of notes will typically be about a page per chapter. After I have finished the chapters I will make a copy of my notes and begin editing the copy (this way I don’t lose my originals in case I need to reference something). My aim at this point is to cut my notes in half. Hopefully, at least 50% of the information is making sense at the end of working through the material!
With each revision, I will work hard to commit the information to memory and make additional revisions until I have all the information in memory.
The Study Process
This study process builds from your notes, turning your notes into a powerful study tool. To put this study process to work, you first need to work through the course material, taking fantastic notes. When you have finished the course material, then it is time to follow these steps:
- Revise your notes and remove information you already know. Set a goal to reduce the overall length by 50%.
- Work on memorization of the remaining content. Set a goal to dedicate three days to memorization work. At the end of three days…
- Revise your notes a second time and see how much material you can remove because it is now stored in short-term memory. You should see good progress here!
- Repeat the process until you have the material in memory. Then take the exam!
While you’re prepping for the exam, don’t forget to think about how you approach test questions with these two test-taking tips for better exam scores.
Try It Yourself: 15-minute Challenge
- Pull out our notes and read the first page. What do you know right now? If you’re not sure, try explaining the idea to someone. If you can explain it well, you don’t need it on your notes any longer!
- Start to edit your notes and remove items you know.
- What are you left with? Now start working to master memorization.
How did your notes change as you remove things? Were you surprised by what you were able to eliminate?