It always surprised me that few people are taught at school how to study. This schedule is an approach to really fix in memory those important texts that are needed for serious study. It is not meant for reading the sporting pages. It looks long winded and complex but if you put it into a routine of study it becomes very natural and by golly does it improve recall at those exams or other important situations.

Notes on how to approach a study text

Preparation Browse General skim review of the study material to get an overview Look at the Contents, Index diagrams headings etc. Get a feel for the study text.
  Estimate Time and Amount Estimate the time you will devote to the next study period and the amount of material that you expect to cover in that period. Cuts your study down in to manageable chunks. Guards against the feeling that you are in a sea of unlearned material.
  Assess Current Knowledge Layout your starting knowledge position. How much do you already know about this subject. You usually know more than you think. Use a Mind Map and only take between 2 and 5 minutes
  Specify your Goals and Questions to be answered Layout your goals and what questions you want answered from the study period Use a Mind Map and just take a couple of minutes. It can be the same Mind Map as above. If it is, use a different colour for the new notations.
Application Overview Get a good idea of what the material is comprised of. What is where. Your mind will assimilate more later if you create a Knowledge Map of the new intellectual territory Follows on from Browsing but a bit more detailed. Use Chapter headings, Summaries, tables diagrams etc.
  Preview Read the Conclusions and Summaries FIRST. Update the Mind Map This gives some structure to the new section.
  Inview Read the material. Not necessarily all of it or sequentially. Try to fill in the gaps in your knowledge. Remember: If you have really followed the preceding steps, then you already know the most important parts of the material Make notes using the Mind Map approach. Think of and use evocative key words. Make specific notes on the text book
  Review Review and mentally summarise your findings. Modify the Mind Map if necessary End of the initial study session. Do it immediately and update your Mind Map
Reviews First Review the material from the Mind Map after 15 minutes 15 minutes
  Second Review the material from the Mind Map after 24 hours 24 hours
  Third Review the material from the Mind Maps and a quick overview of the material after 7 days 7 days
  Fourth Review the material from the Mind Maps after 1 month 1 month
  Fifth Review the material from the Mind Maps after 6 months 6 months
Tools Mind Maps Keep them safe and easily accessible Use for reviews and any necessary swotting.
  Overview Mind Maps Create super Large Mind Maps to summarise and coordinate When covering a lot of related material over many study sessions
  Mark Text Mark the text in the instructional material with you own comments and Notes. Knowledge is more important than the medium on which it is carried. Only do this if it is your book
  Mind Maps and Notes symbols Create your own graphic symbols to indicate certain ideas in your Notes and Mind Maps  
  Mnemonics Use Mnemonics and other memory tricks Where appropriate.
Note New Experience

If you follow this approach then it will almost seem too easy to assimilate the material.

Remember: You mind needs a filing structure if it is to store the new information. The Preparation phase is intended to provide your mind with an outline map of the new knowledge. You need that structure in order to position the main points of the new area. The rest of the activities (which people think of as learning) should be used to merely to fill in the gaps

Swotting is not hard if you use the tools that god (?) gave you. The preparation phase is the real learning period.


Printable Format

(c) John Hulbert 2003