How to Create Your Own Study Aids
Creating your own study aids can be even more helpful than using the study aids that are provided by your textbook, ancillary websites, or even by your professor. Even if you never study them creating your own study aids requires you to review the material and process the information more thoroughly than you otherwise would. Of course for maximum benefit you should not only create the study aids but use them. Here are some standard techniques:
- Take notes both in class and while doing you reading. Good note taking forces you to understand and organize the material and of course provides an excellent stimulus to your memory when you go back over them.
- Make lists and memorize them. Some professors especially emphasize their own lists on tests.
- Make up and use acronyms to make memorization easier.
- Make flash cards with the information to be memorized on the back and a stimulus question on the front.
- Create diagrams and charts especially if you are a visual learner. These pictorial representations of the information will help you see it in a different light. Diagrams are especially helpful in mastering complex relationships.
- Create summery sheets of notes and textbook information. Again the process of doing so will enhance your learning. Putting information “into your own words” requires you to first understand it. And reviewing the material will be much more effective from your processed summaries than from the raw notes.
- Highlight important points in your text and take notes (especially in the margins so that it is always there). Be careful that you highlight no more than one sentence per paragraph as excessive highlight is ineffective. This process will help you to locate specific information later.
- Don’t forget to use other available resources: group review sessions, tutoring labs, SI sessions and the study aids of other students.