Quizlet vs Handwritten Notes. What’s Better?

Do you find yourself using quizlet a lot? Does it feel satisfying to upload a bunch of terms and definitions onto that platform? But here’s the question — does it REALLY help your learning to do that?

Recently I worked with a student who was really behind in Spanish. Over his two-week spring break, we made a study plan for him to catch up. He tried a few different study techniques — first, putting a bunch of terms and grammar into quizlet, and second, taking notes in a specific way I taught him.
Which do you think was a more effective use of his time? in this 4-minute video, I give you some more details of his situation and report in to you what he noticed about the quality of his thinking using the different study techniques.

Would you rather just skip to the whiteboard tips? Here’s a close up of it!

How to Take Notes from a Lecture, Part 2

Do you struggle to take notes during lectures? Last week I shared a quick tip about how to create your own “secret code” so that you can write less while still capturing all the information you need.

This week I provide a different tip, brought to me by my client himself! He actually asked his friend who sits next to him why he’s so chill and doesn’t start writing as soon as the teacher starts talking.

Tune in to hear his answer:

If you want a quick summary of this tip, here is a copy of the whiteboard I made for the video.

How to Take Notes from a Lecture, Part 1

Do you ever struggle to write down everything the teacher is saying during a lecture?

If so, then you’re totally normal! It’s virtually impossible to write down everything!

One of my clients has been working really hard trying to write everything down, and he came to me to get some advice about how to work less hard while still capturing all the important information.

Tune into this video as I explain exactly how I helped him, including his report about whether or not it worked:

If you need it for a quick reference, here is a picture of the whiteboard I made for this video.

252: Two Straightforward Steps to Taking Great Notes

Too often educators teach specific note taking strategies like Cornell Notes without teaching students WHY they work.

Tune in to hear Gretchen outline a straightforward approach to helping take better notes.

Specifically, she discusses:

  • Review the Study Cycle, which summarizes the three steps the brain needs to learn
  • Understand where good note taking fits into the Study Cycle (hint: encoding!)
  • Discuss the two steps to note-taking
  • Learn tips for how to put each of these steps into practice.

At one point in this episode, Gretchen references the excellent graphic organizers at www.ThinkingMaps.com.

Click here to tune in to hear Gretchen outline a straightforward approach to helping take better notes.

How to Take Notes on a Non Fiction Book, Part 3

Have you been following along with my three part series on how to take notes on nonfiction book?

I’m super excited because I finished my notes!!!

Today I probably should have titled the video “How to Fit An Entire Nonfiction Book Onto One Page of Notes”, because that’s exactly what I was able to do.

Sort of.

In today’s video I show you the completed note-taking chart that I created, and discuss the benefits and challenges to using this Charting Method.

Is this a note taking process you could see yourself using from time to time? Why or why not? I’m curious! Please reply and let me know.

Also, stay tuned next week when I start sharing some fun facts with you that I learned from the book Rest: How to Get More Done When You Work Less.

How to Take Notes on a Non Fiction Book, Part 2

?Have you been following along with my three part series on how to take notes on nonfiction book? (Remember to go back and check out Part 1 if you missed it)

In today’s video I talk about the Rest process. How to get more work done when you work less. Who doesn’t love that idea? You can do this with the note taking method that I introduced last week.

Watch today’s video to learn more:

Have you been following along with this note taking process? If so comment and let me know how it is going.

College Prep Podcast #148: Take Better Notes with This Simple Math-Inspired Technique

Take Better Notes With This Simple Math-Inspired Technique | Gretchen Wegner | Megan Dorsey | The College Prep PodcastStudents struggle to summarize information effectively, often resorting to writing too much or too little in their notes.

Gretchen has perfected a technique that adopts symbols from math to help students read more effectively and take notes more efficiently. Tune in to discover:

  • What math symbols provide the best shorthand for note-taking
  • How to read texts with an eye for identifying what “math formulas” are present in the ideas
  • Three examples for how to summarize key info in a text using math shorthand
  • A client story that reveals how successful this note-taking method can be

Click here to head over to the College Prep Podcast to listen to this episode.

Evernote: A Note Taking Tool That Will Revolutionize Your Academic Life

screen-shot-2016-08-24-at-5-04-06-pmDo you have a good way to organize your your research — both the digital and nondigital variety — as well as other aspects of being a student?

Evernote is a surprisingly robust note taking tool, which we learn how to use under the guidance of guest expert Darren Layne.

In this fun discussions, they discuss:

  • What Evernote is and how to use it
  • How to use it for the first time when you feel intimidated
  • Different possibilities for how to organize Evernote
  • Additional plug-ins to use with Evernote
  • Additional free research resources, including Zotero, WorldCat, and Archive.org.

Darren Layne studied history at UC Berkeley (BA), Scottish History at University of Edinburgh (MSc), and Scottish History at University of St Andrews (PhD). He is passionate about expanding access to historical materials through the creation and curation of a custom-built prosopographical database of persons connected to the final rising. He also blends traditional historical approaches with Digital Humanities and critical data awareness. Darren is pro-interdisciplinary collaboration, hugely pro-technology, pro-Green Open Access, anti-historical elitism and anti-intellectual snobbery. To find out more about Darren, visit www.jdb1745.net, check him out on twitter at @JDB1745, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jdb1745.


A One-Size-Fits-All Method to Study for Tests

Finals are just around the corner! What a great time to revisit a study I read recently that announced a sure-fire way to study for tests: reorganize information in your own way.

Over the years as an academic coach, I’ve been helping students practice their own unique ways to do this. Some make posters; others prefer flashcards or mind maps. Some make charts and graphs; others write songs. Not only is this study method scientifically proven, but it works for learning styles of all types, which is why I call it one-size-fits-all.

In order to explain this process in more detail, I’d like to return to my client Lyndsey, about whom I wrote a few weeks ago. Lyndsey struggles with procrastination.  All year long I’ve been working with Lyndsey to build a habit of practicing her anatomy flashcards regularly, and she never follows through. I concluded that instead of being lazy, Lyndsey simply hadn’t found the right study method yet.

Remembering the study alluded to above,  I suggested that Lyndsey reorganize her anatomy notes after each lecture. This week she showed up to my session announcing that she had, indeed, tried this new tactic. “And it works!” she said.

She hauled out her binder, and showed me the before and after pictures:

Provided by Teacher: Reassembled by Student:
20121108-203649.jpg 20121108-203704.jpg


Note how the teacher’s notes are formatted in a list. Lyndsey’s notes, however, have more “shape” to them as she visualizes the flow of ideas using arrows, circles, and placement on the page. It’s clear that Lyndsey thought actively about the information she was learning as she reviewed her notes. Way to go!!

I’m always psyched when my clients have insightful observations about new strategies they try; I was thrilled that Lyndsey reported several benefits to this review process that she now calls “reassembling”:

  1. First, it helped her notice that there were holes in her lecture notes. Reorganizing the notes the evening of the lecture gave her a chance to look up the missing information, something she’s never done before.
  2. Secondly, it helped her notice that the information being presented was actually a flow chart; she never would have noticed this if she hadn’t forced herself to look closely —  and critically! — at the teacher’s notes.
  3. Finally, noticing the flow of the information helped her to understand how the facts relate to each other, which in turn helped her memorize them.  She’ll need to continue reviewing the information each day to fully memorize the entire list, but she’s well on her way!
If you’re digging the idea of reassembly and would like more of a “how-to” guide, check out this great resource.

And now: please tell stories! Do you, dear readers, have experience with “reassembling” your notes before tests? What’s your favorite method? I’d love to hear.

Art by Derrick Tyson on Flicker.

P.S. If you know a student who you think could use this information, be sure to forward this article to them!