Monday, 30 May 2011

Revision and Note-taking Tips and Techniques: Use Colour to Remember and Organise Notes

A key factor of revision and note-taking that students can sometimes overlook is the importance of colour in notes. There is a lot of information you have to synthesise and to do this effectively, you need to try to make certain information stand out from other information.

Here's an example: You have to learn about Ancient History, the areas within this topic are: 'religion and belief in Ancient Egypt', 'Political systems throughout Ancient Egypt', and 'Magic and superstition'

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You need to find a way to colour-code effectively to make various part of each topic stand out. How will you colour-code for each topic? Assign a colour to each area under one of the main topics, such as area 'Gods in Ancient Egypt' under the topic 'Religion and Belief in Ancient Egypt'. You could assign this yellow and everything about gods can be found in yellow. Do the same for other topics so each main idea within the sub-topic stands out and has its own colour. In the example, if you come across information about gods in 'Magic and superstition' you can continue using the colour you have already assigned for gods. Colour-coding means you can instantly take one look at your notes and see which topics appear. In the exam, you will be able to recall the colour in order to remember the information.

To colour-code you need to invest in some resources, and it is easier to get a set of good quality pens, pencils, highlighters and notebooks all of these in one go. Colour-coding is much easier when you have more colours to choose from. So you need to have enough tools that provide you with a wide range of colours from which to choose. If you only have a few colours and tools you will limit your colour-coding efforts, and the use of colour will feel ineffective. Give yourself more colours and you will find your efforts well spent, as you can assign more colours to different topics and ensure you can differentiate between topics. Buying from Amazon is a good choice, there's probably already a book or something else you need to purchase from Amazon's large scale store, so you can get a nice bundle together. Links below.

To summarise: 

  • Colour-code areas within larger topics.
  • Be consistent with the colours you use.
  • Use a wide variety of tools - coloured pens, coloured pencils, coloured paper, and highlighters - to get a wide range of colours, so your colour-coding efforts will be effective, and your efforts will be fruitful. 

Coloured Pens Range

Excellent Quality Notebooks

If you want to create elaborate mind-maps, it is good to invest in colouring pencils (they're not just for kids!). I advise colouring pencils here because you can get greater detail and a wider range of colours and shades, for examples of what I mean please refer to the Mind Maps post.

Coloured Pencils for Mind Maps, Diagrams and more.

For those of you who want something chunky - try coloured marker pens.

Get a Greater Range of Coloured Highlighters to have more colours to choose from for your Colour-coding.

Coloured Paper

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