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Studying, Notes and Review

Basic Principles

  • Active learning involves engaging with the material through discussions, practice, or teaching others. This helps reinforce understanding and retention.
  • Spaced repetition is a technique that involves reviewing information at increasing intervals. This method takes advantage of the spacing effect, which suggests that information is more easily remembered if it is studied a few times over a long period of time.
  • Interleaving is the practice of mixing different topics or subjects during study sessions. This approach helps improve problem-solving skills and the ability to apply knowledge in various contexts.
  • Elaboration involves explaining new information in your own words and connecting it to concepts you already know. This deepens understanding and makes the information more memorable.
  • Curve of Forgetting

    The Curve of Forgetting demonstrates how information is lost over time when there is no attempt to retain it. Reviewing material at strategic intervals can combat this effect. The key points are:

    1. Immediate Review: Review the material within 24 hours to refresh your memory.
    2. First Review: Go over the material again after one week.
    3. Second Review: Review it after one month.
    4. Third Review: Have a final review after six months.

    By following this schedule, you can improve long-term retention and reduce the amount of information forgotten over time. You can also tighten the review intervals as needed. 

    curve of forgetting

  • Blooms Taxonomy

    Bloom's Taxonomy is a framework for categorizing educational goals. It is often used to structure learning objectives, assessments, and activities. The six levels, from lower to higher order thinking skills, are:

    1. Remembering: Recall basic facts and concepts (e.g., lists, definitions).
    2. Understanding: Explain ideas or concepts (e.g., summarizing, explaining).
    3. Applying: Use information in new situations (e.g., solving problems, using formulas).
    4. Analyzing: Draw connections among ideas (e.g., comparing, contrasting, categorizing).
    5. Evaluating: Justify a stand or decision (e.g., critiquing, assessing).
    6. Creating: Produce new or original work (e.g., designing, constructing).



  • Bullet Journal

    A Bullet Journal is an organizational system that helps track the past, organize the present, and plan for the future. It combines elements of a to-do list, diary, and planner, and can be customized to fit individual needs. Key components include:

    • Index: A table of contents for your journal.
    • Future Log: A place to record future events and tasks.
    • Monthly Log: A calendar and task list for the month.
    • Daily Log: A running list of tasks, events, and notes for each day.
    • Collections: Customized lists or groups of related tasks and ideas.
  • Cornell Notes

    The Cornell Notes system is a note-taking strategy designed to organize notes efficiently. It involves dividing your paper into three sections:

    1. Notes Section: The main area to record lecture notes.
    2. Cue Column: A narrow column on the left to jot down key terms or questions.
    3. Summary: The bottom part of the page to write a summary of the notes.

    This method encourages active engagement and makes reviewing easier.

  • Annotating

    Annotating is the practice of marking up texts to highlight important information and make notes in the margins. This can include:

    • Highlighting Key Points: Marking main ideas and essential details.
    • Writing Summaries: Briefly summarizing sections in your own words.
    • Asking Questions: Jotting down questions about the material.
    • Making Connections: Linking new information to what you already know.

    Effective annotation helps improve comprehension and retention.

  • Rewriting Notes

    Rewriting notes is a powerful study tool. It involves reviewing and reorganizing your notes to enhance understanding. This can be done by:

    1. Summarizing: Condensing the information into your own words.
    2. Reorganizing: Structuring notes in a more logical or thematic manner.
    3. Highlighting Gaps: Identifying and filling in any missing information.

    This process reinforces learning and aids in better retention of the material.


Additional Tools

Mind Mapping

Mind mapping is a visual technique for organizing information. It involves creating a diagram that starts with a central concept and branches out into related ideas. This method helps in understanding relationships between different pieces of information and can be particularly useful for brainstorming and planning.


Flashcards are a versatile study tool that can be used for memorization and practice. Each card has a question or prompt on one side and the answer on the other. Flashcards can be used with spaced repetition software (SRS) to enhance their effectiveness.

Study Groups

Forming study groups can provide mutual support, enhance learning, and offer different perspectives. Group members can explain concepts to each other, discuss difficult topics, and quiz each other on the material.

Practice Testing

Practice testing involves self-quizzing or taking practice exams to assess knowledge and identify areas needing improvement. This technique helps with retrieval practice, making it easier to recall information during actual exams.

By using these principles and tools, college students can develop effective study habits, enhance their understanding of course material, and improve their academic performance.