Blank It

I’m a big fan of blank notebooks, of all shapes and sizes, and I’ve found a very nifty use for those smaller sized ones: Your Personal Course Encyclopedia, Desk Reference, or Dictionary.

If you keep one of those small books handy while you’re studying, you can note down definitions of key terms, mathematical equations, etc. This makes it especially easy to find something quickly, rather than having to hunt through a whole text for a highlighted portion, or through your stacks of personal notes. If you prefer small boxes rather than bound books, you can also do the same thing with those little index cards. Index cards may be preferable in some instances, as you can insert information (and more cards) far more easily than you can stick something inside an already bound book.

Another thing you can do with index cards, is use them as question cards. As you’re studying your course material or notes, you might come up with questions regarding the material; in fact, make certain you do it. Write each question on one side of an index card, and on the other side, write an answer or explanation for the question you wrote. You can use your texts and notes for references, but the answers should be put in your own words as much as possible. This method is very useful when it comes to review. Simply look at the question sides of the cards without turning them over, and try to answer them. If you can, fabulous, put that card aside. If you don’t know the answer, look at it, and put it in a different pile or further down in the deck so you come back to it again. Keep going through the cards until you’ve learned all the answers.

If you’re taking a language course, this method is also really handy for keeping track of difficult vocabulary. Simply write the word on the top of your index card or notebook page, and add a brief definition or description of that word. Underneath that you can add things like characteristics that would help you recognise the word being defined, and examples of the term being defined.

Same with a mathematics course. You can write an equation on one side of the card, and possible solutions on the other.

In fact, the index card method is adaptable for all sorts of situations, so make sure you stock up on them when you’re having your next office supply fix.