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Effective textbook reading, learning and retention

Updated on March 30, 2011
Cornell note taking
Cornell note taking
Mind mapping
Mind mapping
Mind mapping
Mind mapping

After entering college, the child feels grown both in age and wisdom. This transition from school to college, increases the academic challenge accompanying growth. Academic work now requires more understanding and application rather than rote learning. Just ‘reading’ the textbook never ever helps!

It is now imperative for the student to change his/her strategies of learning and retention of knowledge. Unfortunately, this enlightenment does not dawn all at once. When faced with the harsh reality of failure and mismanagement of time, the child faces another challenge - inferiority complex! Poor understanding of subject matter compels the student to realize that a change in study strategies is imperative.

Learning how to read your text book is the first step to growth in knowledge and success.

In college, knowledge and content increase copiously, in addition to the difficulty level of the subject content. To effectively read the textbook and retain the contents require just a few mindful habits which need to be incorporated in your daily reading. First and foremost,

1. Attend your classes regularly

2. Take good running notes

3. Every day go back to your text books and learn to correlate the notes with the textual content.

Retention of what is read is important and requires skill. This skill can be developed either using the Cornell technique or the mind map method. In the Cornell note-taking technique the page is divided into two columns–the left side, which is a narrower column has the main points and the right side has points that explain the main points in succinct words or sentences. In addition there is a space of few lines left at the bottom of the page. The right side enhances the attributes of the main points. Finally,  the space at the bottom is the summary space which summarizes the content of the entire page.

Mind maps were developed in the late 1960's by Tony Buzan, and they provide a refreshing non-linear way of organising one's ideas and thinking. To draw a mind map is very simple. Take a blank sheet of paper, and start in the middle with your main title or topic. Then start working outwards in all directions, drawing branches for your major themes and sub-branches for more detailed ideas. The whole map is normally color coded making use of images and symbols. The chief advantage of mind-mapping over traditional linear thinking and note-taking is that it reflects the organic and associative way that the brain works

Since you make your own mind map, you use colors that please you and which help you associate the color code with facts.

Education learnt the right way can make it an enjoyable experience.



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    • justom profile image


      7 years ago from 41042

      Great hub, it's funny how getting older you realize the stuff you retain is an odd mix. I can remember a song lyric (from 40 years ago) word for word but sometimes can't remember what I did yesterday. Peace!! Tom


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