I will be occasionally reprinting my favorite articles from the early days of Study Hacks in an effort to expose the material to my much larger current audience. This was the first Monday Master Class I every published, it was sent to my newsletter last June.
Identify an Instant Replay Booth
For every one of your classes, identify a quiet location near the lecture hall. This is your instant replay booth. Make it an inviolable habit that after every class you immediately head into your replay booth to spend 5-10 minutes “locking in” your lecture notes. This process should include three steps.
- Clean-up any spots where you got rushed before finishing your thought.
- Devise a two or three sentence summary of the day’s lecture. Consider this an abstract for the notes that follow.
- Create a list at the bottom of your notes that contains the questions you can later use to cover this material when studying with the quiz-and-recall method (see Part 2 of Straight-A for more detail on q-and-r).
This process of locking in takes only a few minutes to complete. And it doesn’t require much will-power, as you’re already in a work mode (having just attended class).
Why This Works
The advantages, however, are significant. First, this extra moment of reflection cements the material in your mind, reducing the effort required later to study. Second, by producing your quiz-and-recall questions while the ideas are still fresh, not only are the questions better, but you’ve just cut out a time-consuming step of the test preparation process: creating the study guide for all of your lectures all at once.
The only caveat to this tactic is that if you have two or more classes in quick succession, you need to visit your instant replay booth only after the last of these classes. At this point, lock in the material from all the preceding lectures in one sitting.