How Do I Make My Revision Notes for Studying?

It’s like 3:00 AM and I just got this idea now (Wow, really?)

I always get asked on how do I make my notes and how I personally organize them and stuff (’cause I’m that great, hehe).

Please be advised that this my own reference on how I study and make notes but it's different for everyone so don't just think that because I get straight A's in school it means that my method works for everyone, in fact I went though many different learning methods to find my perfect fit that works for every class that I take. 

Take Rough Notes from Lecture

The first step of the learning cycle is introduction which is where you start questioning the topic and try building observations and knowledge from it. From my past experiences, lectures don’t give you the full information rather a “snapshot” or “feel” of the material. So, I always try to get out a tonne of information and material from that first lecture for the topic and asking a lot of questions from my professor about the lesson, some clarifications, and what other topics I should go into and just basically following the curriculum.

Also, if you have the course syllabus or outline then you can also use that as a guide.

Revise Notes By Looking at a Textbook or Watching Tutorials

Like I said before (I sound so bossy…), the lecture is just a a preview of what you learned, and you should try to fill in the gaps by completing the learning cycle which is the second and third third step, discovery and extension

What I usually do is re-read my “draft” notes and see what I need to know and it also doesn’t hurt to look at your syllabus of the topic or even the curriculum study guide to see what you need and don’t need (make sure you just write notes only on what you need to learn for that class, too much or excess information is not needed). I take both general courses at school at the same time IB courses, so I have a bunch of textbooks that I use.

After looking at what my objectives are for the topic of study I start reading. Now, please don’t read passively, that is reading like a zombie whose eyes just goes from left and right. This is a common mistake, if you just read and take notes, you’re basically just copying the same exact text from the book which kind of beats the purpose of note taking. Instead, I do what is called the information funnel method (IFM).

  1. Preview the text by skimming it to get the feel of what the topics are ahead.
  2. Read each paragraph then summarize them into your own words so that you actually learn the material. Then write them in the note taking section of the cornell note taking system.
  3. After writing notes for a paragraph or section, on the cue section (usually the left side of the note taking column, write review questions or key words to help without memorizing information.

Just some more additional points:

  1. Don’t review material that you already know
  2. If you see the same word over and over again, try to abbreviate it.
  3. Remember to check with what you need to know on your syllabus or guide, often textbooks go off course and tries to relate it to other material that you don’t need.

Apply What You’ve Learned

The fourth and last step in the learning cycle is application where you actually apply what you learned to see if you really know the subject well. So, I usually get straight into the worksheets that I was given by my professor then continue with the work in the textbook exercises.

If you still can’t understand the work that you’re doing, then go back to your notes and look through the worked out examples to see where you need pin-pointing. If you still need clarification, on a separate piece of paper or stick note, mark it down so you can go over it with your professor or classmate.

Example Paper

This one example is from my physics class but I find that this method works with every class that I’ve taken.

So these this is my rough notes during the lecture, as you can see it’s note very tidy which makes it impossible to review from.

Here, I started going through my IB Higher Level Physics textbook and started writing down what my curriculum needs me to learn which is written in lime green. Then underneath that are the start of my notes which are more detailed than what I learned from the lecture.
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Now on the left side, I stared review questions to help me review afterwards before applying what I learned.

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Now here, I just printed off some of the worksheets that my professor wanted us to complete. By then you already know the material so it’s easier.

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I hope that this was helpful and I have more posts to add later on! Happy note taking and ciao!

How Do I Stay on Task During the Holidays

Well hello world! It’s me again. As you can tell by the title (titles usually give us what it’s about…), I’ve been receiving a tonne of messages and questions about how I stay productive over the Winter holidays. So, I’ve decided that today I give you some tips and pointers on how I stay productive when I’m out of school on break (on a side note: just because you’re on break doesn’t mean your performance in school has to suffer).

Hope this post helps (fingers crossed) and if you have anymore questions, please ask in the comment section below and if you like, message me on my tumblr blog as well.

Tip #1: Use a Timetable/To-Do List/Agenda

If you’ve read some of my past posts then you know how much I value (and you should too!) planning like a warlord. You need to plan before hand and what you need to execute.

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Here I just made a to-do list for all of my classes. Now, I don’t mean you need to be ahead till you’re practically done the class, since that is just ridiculous and not worth your time, however reading some material ahead can be very beneficial remember not to over due it since you have other priorities or other classes to look at. Also, try to be realistic about what you put on that list and plan out what part of the day you wish to do them.

Lastly, make sure you have F-U-N on that list since it is the holidays so remember to get festive and get out there in the world to just enjoy yourself, it won’t be long until you’re back for the next school semester/term (*gasp).

Tip #2: Relaxation

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I can’t stress (don’t stress! just relax. Yeah see what I just did there?) this enough but remember that you are on a holiday so do just that and sit back and relax! I prefer to relax in my own way which means a lot of Netflix, Spotify, Youtube, journal writing, photography, tumblr (since I brought this up, here’s my tumblr blog as well hehe), and of course a bunch of shopping!

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Also try to get out of the house too. Here, I like going to the local cafés to be productive, have fun and drink a great cup of London fog. Don’t stay cooped up in your room too much. This generation spends way too much time in their room, try to enjoy some outside time while you’re on break. It’ll give you a new perspective I promise!

Tip #3: Planning for the New Year

I feel like I’m repeating myself again but yeah, a new year and maybe a new day planner or agenda to keep you track for the next 12 months!

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Although that I use a day planner I tend to use it like a bullet journal where I just plan things out with bullets/symbols.

Another side note: Since that the New Year is rolling around the corner, it may be a great time to start writing New Years Resolutions (which will be an upcoming blog post soon I promise).

Tip #4: Fixing that Sleep Mechanism

Let’s face it, we all have so much fun that we forget that we’re not immortal and thus need sleep (unless if you’re a zombie). So, try to get yourself on track with your sleeping schedule and make sure that you’re awake when you’re suppose to be awake and asleep when you should be. I’m sure that everyone has a smartphone with a clock and alarm function but remember that there’s still the old school one, like mine form Ikea (I swear I am not endorsing them but I jus love them).

I tend to keep my clock with me while I’m journaling (is that even a word?) away so I don’t lose track of time.

Tip #5: Stay Safe

I know, I know, I am not your mother but it’s still a pretty good reminder that even though that you’re on your break, try to have fun responsibly. It’s quite easy to forget when so many things are happening around you but please try to remember to be safe than sorry. Other than that, have fun everyone and a Happy New Year to all.

How to Balance a Heavyweight Semester

It’s been awhile into this semester and I’m personally feeling the effects of academic stress. So that’s why I’ve decided that it’s time to write a post about how to balance school work and get the most effective grade in the end without burning out.

Step 1: Plan like a warlord

I can’t stress this enough that in order to succeed with a heavyweight semester, you must know the art of planning and organizing your tactics. Use any type of day planning strategies that work for you. For me I prefer bullet journaling.

Step 2: Be Productive at School 

School in general is meant to be a place of work. Like an office type of thing. So try to do most of the work, note taking, assignments, etc. while at school and if you have times in the school day where you don’t have a class use them to your advantage and just complete any necessary assignments. This will guarantee that you freed up the afternoon where there is a more light load to work on or study on so you don’t feel stressed, plus the added benefits of more free time and a social life.

Step 3: Start Early on Assignments/Projects

I can’t stress this enough as it is but you cannot just wait till the very last minute. It’s just not worth it. Once an assignment is set, start to organize your time (with your day planner of course) where you will commit to finishing it. Once it’s out of the way you can reward yourself with other things you like.

Step 4: Reduce Distractions

I know it can be difficult that you have friends, things to do, maybe a club or two but, try to remember that school is your first priority so try to do your other hobbies after school and hang out with your friends later in the day.