Hey guys! The past few weeks I changed the way I study. Partly because I am really interested in the things I am reading, but mostly because I want to be as efficient as possible. Just to give you an idea- I have class four or five times a week and for each of the classes I have anywhere between 70-100 pages that I need to read. And that is a lot to go through. In my bachelor I had the strategy to skim read everything during the semester and then during exams I would read everything again and take notes. Unfortunately this year there is soooo much material that there is NO way I would be able to read everything again before exams, so I needed to find a new method.
So what I do now is that I read a text a chapter (or paragraph) at a time and highlight the most important ideas and then I go through it again and write my own notes with my own words. I found that I remember a lot more, because I really need to think about what I read and I need to be 100% focused all the time. So now from a 30page text I get about 9 pages of notes. But the notes are so detailed and well written, that for exams I will only need to read through those. And also I really remember most of the things I write down. The downside is that it takes a lot of time an energy to do this, but I can still really recommend it. I think it is worth the effort. I guess it is a lot easier to work like this, when I like what I am reading, but I think that with enough motivation anyone can do this! And I know that especially people who start UNI don't really know how to take proper notes and how to study so here is a little guide on my way of studying.
1) Read the abstract of the text
You know the short sum up of the journal that is right at the beginning and people usually skip it? Well I focus on that a lot- it tells you what the paper is about, so from that you can tell what the main themes are and then you know what to focus on when you take notes. The same with the intro to the text- it is super important because the author usually explains what it is he/she are trying to achieve with this paper and they give a nice idea of what you will read.
2) Read and repeat
By this I mean- don't just read a sentence and jump over it unless you know what is exactly meant by the wording. Sometimes when I read too fast I misunderstand what a sentence means and then I get confused further on. So whenever I read a few sentences that contain a thought I stop and try to think what it is the author is trying to say. This actually helps a lot with the note-taking, because you already remember what is written and when you go back to the paragraph you don't need to read it to take the notes.
3) Add pictures to the notes
You know all the tables and figures that are in the texts- I make a copy of them and paste them in my notes, so that once I am done I don't need to go back to the text for anything. Sometimes when there is a lot of information in a paragraph I just copy it into the notes so I don't waste time re-writing it. So definitely be as time efficient as possible.
4) Make the notes look nice
There is nothing worse than going through notes that do not have a clear hierarchy of design. It is really important to know what the heading means- is it a part of a bigger section? Just keep in mind that sub-sections are important. If some information is a part of a larger theory, it sucks when you miss that and don't make it clear in the notes because it will later confuse you.
5) Don't give up
Probably the most important thing to remember- I know from my own experience that I get tired and annoyed and just think F*ck this. And that is not the right attitude! We are after-all full-time students, so we should make the best of it haha! Wait did I really say that... And I mean I don't spend 100% of my time studying, and someitmes I only have time to skim read through a text, but when I can and have the energy- what I describe above is actually really helpful!