[Originally sent to Study Hacks Newsletter on 6/11/07]
Today, I’m inaugurating a new regular feature for this newsletter: The Monday
Master Class. Every Monday, I will present a new advanced study tactic of
the type found in my books. These will include the material I left out
of STRAIGHT-A, as well as highlights from the many interesting ideas I
receive from readers such as yourself.
The motivation for the Monday Master Class is to keep Study Hacks
connected to its core mission of exploring tips, tricks, and
strategies for making the academic piece of student life easier.
On other days, we can continue on our digressions into related,
but more esoteric topics, such as the Paradox of the Relaxed Rhodes
Scholar, and interviews with interesting students.
IDENTIFY AN INSTANT REPLAY BOOTH FOR EVERY CLASS
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.
(1) Clean-up any spots where you got rushed before finishing your thought.
(2) Devise a two or three sentence summary of the day’s lecture.
Consider this an abstract for the notes that follow.
(3) 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
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).
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.