Making Study Notes Accessible

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Making Study Notes Accessible

By Aisling Sampson

Today we look at a few ways of jazzing up study notes.

Here are a few ideas to refresh study note preparation and take advantage of the latest scientific data to improve your interest and retention. Try one of these when preparing your study notes or when you begin your next term.

Concept Mapping

Concept Mapping is a visual model where you link key components and ideas representing relationships and connections. Using only key ideas engages your attention and memory creating an active thought process which enhances retention. Concept mapping is also a great retrieval practice study tool as you can arrange the map, so only the most pertinent information is visible. If you can’t explain a concept, you know where you need to spend more time. One of the numerous free apps for concept mapping is bound t to suit your needs.

Dual Coding

Dual Coding is one of the current cognitive science favourites for engaging the brain and increasing retention. Dual Coding is a great tool for note taking in general and for study note preparation. Visual Notes takes the idea of spatial and visual arrangements one step further, with the visual as the dominant feature.

Voice Memos

Voice Memos are one of my favourite study tools. At the end of each major segment, I use my phone to record a summary of what I’ve just covered. If I can’t explain it, then I know I don’t understand it well enough. In this case, I go through my notes again and then re-record the voice memo. When it comes time to study, I have a verbal summary of my notes that I can listen to while working out, travelling, or even doing dishes. At the end of your memo, tag on a few questions with long pauses in-between, and you have an instant retrieval practice study tool. Reading information aloud improves your recall as does hearing yourself.

So avoid a study rut and jazz up your notes a little with science-backed methods that will keep your mind engaged.

There’s Lots of Options Out There

I adapted my excel sheet templates from very old documents I created for my staff and crew, but there are many templates available online. Student Academic Success Services has a bunch of term and assignment planning tools here. You can also find templates through excel, google docs, or commercial study apps (some are free).

Planning ahead gives you flexibility, peace of mind, and motivation. Try it, I bet you’ll like it.