The study of books and notes

The study of books and notes

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To start you should keep in mind that at the time of get to study for an exam you must do it in an organized wayIn this way, if you always follow specific steps you will create a system that will help you establish a healthy and effective study habit.

Steps to study for an exam

There are five steps that help the study to be hierarchized and organized properly, are the following:


It is important make a pre-reading without underlining or trying to memorize, just to know what the text is about and try to understand it. It is a more or less rapid reading, it serves to obtain the global idea of ​​what we are going to study. This pre-reading is necessary as preparation of our brain to receive data. It is best to carry out the following steps:

  1. Know the author / teacher style of the information we should study, to adapt our study
  2. Know the level of complexity of the knowledge to be acquired (high, medium, low)
  3. Make a careful reading of the title, it usually reflects the basic idea of ​​learning that we must acquire
  4. Make a careful reading of the index, to help us make a mental scheme of the contents
  5. Make a prologue reading, in the study books it is usually a summary of the theme that comes next, it is better not to ignore it
  6. Read the titles and subtitles of the chapters
  7. Mentally relate new ideas
  8. Remember the content overview by heart

These steps must be progressive and should not always be done, in the case of class notes there is usually no prologue or index, for example.


In a second reading we turn to underline the ideas that we consider importantWell, we already have a pretty clear idea of ​​the general content. It is used to express the main ideas of a text.

For this we must make the reading comprehensive, knowing how to find and distinguish these main ideas and only underline the words necessary to express the idea, it is not necessary to underline entire sentences.

Analytical reading and summary

Once the underline is done, we already know what the text wants to express and it is time to take a critical attitude to understand, assimilate and relate new ideas to our previous knowledge. It is also important to ask questions about this new knowledge to confirm or not the hypotheses presented in the text in relation to our ideas. This will allow us to make a critical summary of the above.

To make a summary of the main ideas we have to do it as follows:

  • We will explain it with our words
  • We will be faithful to the text
  • We will differentiate our opinion from that of the author.


Later we elaborate a scheme of ideas, to obtain the ones that are really important, and through which we are able to develop the content later. As we have been understanding the text, we have hierarchized and schematized the concepts and this is the time to transcribe them on paper. The scheme will always be personal in the form (abbreviations, classification system) but must be true to the author's idea and differentiate our opinion; It will consist of a series of meaningful words for us that stimulate our memory and allow us to relate to the full text. It is also a good aid for visual memory. The main ideas will be expressed on the left, and on the right the secondary ones. When we have done it, we will make a slow reading of the scheme along with a quick one of the underline to see if we understand it. If there are repeated concepts, they will have to be eliminated and if there are gaps, they will have to be consulted again to complete.

The scheme is also useful to eliminate volume of study sheets and this favors the elimination of laziness from getting to study.

Active mental repetition

This is the most important point to achieve success. If once we have done the study we do not deal with its consolidation in memory, it will practically have been of no use. We have to use the scheme to repeat, preferably aloud, the entire content of the text, consulting where you do not remember well and performing repetitions as many times as necessary until the knowledge is well consolidated.

The review and oblivion

The review will allow us to have the things we have learned previously available and it is necessary because things are eventually forgotten.

The ideal time to do the first review is 8 hours and the second review at 8 hours after the first. Thus it seems that the possibility of evoking what has been learned after a month is 60%.

For this to be true, the reviews must be well done, which means that once the contents have been reviewed, the contents are 100% in memory again.

To review correctly we must follow the following steps:

  1. Write from memory the scheme we have already done before
  2. Do a mental repetition (oral or written) looking at the scheme, to see where we have failed
  3. Consult with the summary the possible gaps
  4. Once this is done, repeat mentally again
  5. Although it is optional, it is advisable to ask exam questions and answer them

The quickest method to do this review is oral, but if it is written it also helps consolidation, which is very useful for memorizing.

One mistake is to review everything a few hours before the exam. The ideal would be to go over the day or the day before, one day a week, etc ...

Many people suffer because once in the exam they say they are left "blank", this happens due to excess of nerves and exhaustion from studying many hours during exam periods. Some practical tips to overcome it are the following:

  • Try not to get nervous to avoid inhibition that paralyzes memory function.
  • Leave the topic that has left us locked and move on to another, in this way we do not waste time of exam execution.
  • Search related ideas That bring us back to the subject.
  • Do not stop writing or speaking although they are ramblings.
  • Know that it will last only a few minutes and then we will recover.
  • Sometimes when answering other questions we find clues for which we have been blocked, look for relationships and / or parallels.

It may interest you: The best study techniques

We hope that with all these tips from now on you can make the most of your intellectual abilities for study.