Why re-writing your study notes is worth it

End of term: Check

Printed or downloaded all your lecture notes: Check

Text books strategically placed on desk: Check

Essential snacks and drinks ready: Check

What next? Well the obvious answer would be to start revising and getting ready for your upcoming exams. For this, many students rely on their lecture slides and notes to use as their study notes, because they believe that all the info they need is right there. Right? Well, sort of ...

One of the big problems with only using your lecture slides is that they all look the same. The same old printed text, loads of bullet points and diagrammes that make your eyes water. Herein lies the problem: they're boring! Boring to your eyes, boring to your brain and most probably boring to you. The constant repetition in black & white will very quickly bore your brain. You'll start skipping over vital bits of info, trying to find something more interesting to entertain your neural pathways. Your brain will start telling you "We've seen this before... This is familiar... You know this already... This is boring!" You may have seen it before, but do you know it? Do you understand it? Can you apply it?

So what's the solution? One was is to use magical wands. Well, coloured pens and pencils to most of us, but they can have a magical effect on your learning. Your brain is always hungry for new, exciting, varied information. Re-writing your notes in your own handwriting, focuses your brain in on something it is more familiar with - your own handwriting. Also by changing up the colours for each and every sentence, bullet point or paragraph, it keeps your eyes and your brain interested, and holds its attention. This multi-coloured smorgasbord of information is also easier to recall, compared to a plain page of black & white text. Page after page of black & white text all start to look the same after a while, and when you are trying to recall a specific piece of info, all those black & whites seem to merge into one. So make all the info stand out - it will definitely help with recall.

There is another benefit to re-writing your notes: repetition x3! That's right, for every time you re-write your notes you are able to get the same piece of information 3 times. How, I hear you ask? Well, when you are writing them out, you are seeing the written words (1), if you speak these out loud when you are writing them (2) and then you are hearing yourself speaking them (3). Sounds silly, but it can work.

So use your imagination and turn your study notes into memorable rainbows of information.

#exams #studytips #learning

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