Archive for September, 2009

8 Tips to Help You Study Better and More Effectively + Mindmapping


This is a wonderful article I saw earlier today in the “Life Optimizer” site – and by Amber Hensley.  Great summary of what to do to ensure you study better!  I want to add a couple of things (with all credit to Ms. Hensley)..  After following the 8 tips, it is ideal to focus on how best to remember what you have read- and have a system of tracking and remembering what you have studied!  Mindmaps are the tools that help in these cases. 

Another skill that can be used to build your ability as a super student is to get into Speed Reading – but that is a different topic & I will get to it soon! 

Read on- great article.

By Donald Latumahina (follow me on Twitter) , September 11, 2009

Note: This is a guest post by Amber Hensley of Online College

While you might already be ahead of the game if you are studying at all, you might as well make the most of the time you spend preparing for class and ensure that all those hours you put into reviewing notes and reading chapters actually pay off. Here are some tips that can help you learn to study better and get more out of what you’re studying so you can spend less time pouring over books and more time enjoying life at school.

1. Find some peace and quiet. Studies have shown that just 20 minutes of highly focused, quiet time can help you learn and remember more than hours of working with distractions and while multi-tasking. So, to get the most out of your study time retreat to a place where you won’t be bothered by loud music or talking and can just focus in on your work.

2. Get organized. If your papers and materials are all over, you’ll spend just as much time looking for what you need as actually reading through and absorbing material which doesn’t make for a very productive use of your time. Keep one notebook just for notes for a class and ensure that all your papers are in a place you can actually locate them. It might take more planning up front but it will pay off in the long run.

3. Take breaks. Studying intensely can really take a toll on your brain and eventually make it hard for you to think clearly at all. That isn’t much of a help when you’re trying to understand difficult concepts or learn new things. Take short breaks during your study time so you can rest your eyes and mind and come back refreshed and ready to learn.

4. Have a schedule. The problem with the way that many students study is that they wait until the last minute and begin cramming the day before a big test. This really isn’t the most effective way to learn or remember new information. While it might not be fun, spending time in the weeks leading up to a test reviewing the material will be much more beneficial and might actually help you remember the material after the test as well.

5. Consider the subject. Each subject has a particular way in which it will be easiest to learn and remember. Subjects that require memorization may be more easy to learn with flashcards and timelines while subjects like math that require problem solving might be better served with doing the practice problems in your book. Spend some time figuring out just how you learn each subject best and then use that knowledge to maximize what you get out of your study sessions.

6. Study more frequently. It isn’t the duration of your study sessions that really makes a difference, it’s the frequency. You’ll learn a lot more through repetition, so break up your study time into shorter sessions every day rather than trying to cram it all in at the last minute.

7. Write it down. For most people, writing things down helps big time when it comes time to recall things on a test or even just during study time. Take notes in class and use methods that require you to do something to actively participate in learning the material– not just reading it over and over.

8. Be realistic. You’re not going to be able to memorize an entire month’s worth of material in only one night of intense studying. You likely won’t remember a good chunk of it. Be realistic in how you break up your study sessions and tackle only the amount of material that you’ll actually be able to benefit from studying– not the whole book at once.

This post was contributed by Amber Hensley, who writes about the accredited online college. She welcomes your feedback at AmberHensley1980@

Cornell Note taking methodology – and bringing in Mindmaps


In general, one of the key areas that one looks at more efficient tools is in the area of Note-taking. During a cursory look for some tools for my OneNote (this is a MS tool that is your notebook on the computer-but more of that later), I came across this tool called the Cornell Note taking methodology. I spent some trying to read up on the same, and was impressed with the simplicity of the whole thought.  That led me to think of how I could incorporate a “mini-mindmap” into the methodology to make it even more relevant.

In my mind, the route to Note taking using ONLY mindmaps should be step 2- and start with the note-taking methods you are comfortable with but use Mindmaps for building your memory. Once you comfortable with the concept, then move on to creating notes using mindmaps. I realize how difficult it is at times to try to take notes only in Mindmaps when the School teacher or lecturer is making you take down notes! 

The way to take the Cornell Notes is as follows:


This format provides the perfect opportunity for following through with the 5 R’s of note-taking:

  1. Record – During the lecture, record in the main column as many meaningful facts and ideas as you can. Write legibly.
  2. Reduce – As soon after as possible, summarize these facts and ideas concisely in the Cue Column. Summarizing clarifies meanings and relationships, reinforces continuity, and strengthens memory.
  3. Recite – Cover the Note Taking Area, using only your jottings in the Cue Column, say over the facts and ideas of the lecture as fully as you can, not mechanically, but in your own words. Then, verify what you have said.
  4. Reflect – Draw out opinions from your notes and use them as a starting point for your own reflections on the course and how it relates to your other courses. Reflection will help prevent ideas from being inert and soon forgotten.
  5. Review – Spend 10 minutes every week in quick review of your notes, and you will retain most of what you have learned.

So where does Mind mapping come in?

The Cue Columns are your key words that we use in creating mindmaps (Could be both 4 and 5 in the R’s).

Think of creating your own “mini-mindmap” here which will help you create your own unique tool to memorize the contents of the page. 

Create a more detailed mindmap of the full chapter once the chapter is over- and you can review every element of the chapter easily.

Try it out.

Checkout more about this methodology here –