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I have always known that smart note taking and studying is very important and is the key towards boosting a student’s GPA. As I reflect on my first year of college, I remember cram studying and wasting time reviewing material that was no use when it came to the actual exam. After evaluating my note taking and study habits last year, I decided to enhance my methods by making it more fun and efficient. Here’s my findings:

  1. Prep for your classes by reading the assigned material and taking notes.
  2. In class write notes and ask questions.
  3. After class make a study guide condensing your reading and class notes. Create a separate Word document for every class and update them with notes from each week.
  4. Within 24hrs after class, review your notes.
  5. The weekend after, usually Saturday, I print each classes weekly study guide and spend 20-30 minutes reviewing each of them.
  6. Study chunks of information during scheduled study sessions. Use your consolidated study guides to make flashcards and/or mind maps to help test yourself.

I found this system to be intriguing and am trying it out this semester, I have a large five subject notebook in which I write reading and lecture notes in by hand. Writing is the key component in steps one and two because it has been suggested that writing information improves recall and decreases mindless processing. I review my notes and rewrite them on Microsoft Word, a fun tip that I suggest downloading some unique and fun fonts online from websites such as daFont.com and type your notes using that font. The different font will help the information stick out from all the other documents you read in Times New Roman and is more entertaining to write and review later.

At the end of the week I print out all of my study guides and go through and highlight or underline important ideas with colored pens and highlighters. Then, whenever I have time during the weekend I review each of my five study guides (for my five classes) for about 20 minutes.. The hour and forty minutes each week, followed by another study session before the test to be enough to increase recall and understanding.

Along with this new study technique, I have been inspired to take better notes by searching the tag “studyblr” on Pinterest or Tumblr. The feed fills with pictures of beautifully written notes, pristinely highlighted and hand drawn graphs and pictures. It inspires me to take more time writing out my notes, which at times are even illegible and/or confusing, the opposite of what you want from something you’re later going to study from.

I hope that this new technique inspires you to find flaws in your study routine. How can you study better, smarter and more efficiently? Good luck this semester!

Here are some of my favorite Pinterest “studyblr” post:

math notes     two column notes   Beautiful notes              literature notes                 

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