HOW TO STUDY EFFECTIVELY: WRITING A SUMMARY
Do you often get stuck when doing your homework and end up having to flip through your thick textbooks to find the answers to your questions?
Does this take up a lot of time and effort that you end up having to rush through the rest of your work to finish it on time? Why put yourself through this daily when there is a simple solution to this problem?
The solution is simple: always make your own notes by summarizing important points.
This can be used across different subjects and has been proven to be extremely useful as a reference especially when time is not on our side.
Why is writing your own summary important?
Firstly, summaries should be made after each topic for most subjects. These summaries help you to remember the key concepts about that particular topic that would be useful for quick references and also to draw links to other topics in the same subject, which is common especially when it comes to sciences. This would help your brain retain information more efficiently as this bite-sized information would be more concise than what you would find in a textbook where explanations are lengthy. It is important to pen down these key concepts yourself as writing it down will help refresh your memory and ensure that you would be able to refer to this information quickly and easily.
What are the different types of summaries?
There are three types of summaries that you can start off with. To illustrate these types of summaries, I will show you how by using the topic of Chemical Bonding.
1. Writing a Summary in Point Form
Writing in point form is the most concise form of writing summaries. It gets straight to the key points that you would need to have in your answers to score marks in the examination. This is the most useful for people who learn the best by writing. However, make sure all the key words you need to score marks are used when writing your summary to ensure that you use the accurate terms during examinations. An example of point form summary is shown below.
2. Using a Table
Another method you can use to summarise each chapter is by using a table. A table will help you organise and compare different concepts against each other. This will help you remember the differences between concepts that might seem similar so that you will not be confused. For example, in chemical bonding, there are a few types of bonding. By using a table, the different characteristics between each type of bonding can be segmented and easily remembered.
As seen from above, the properties of an ionic bond can be compared to that of a covalent bond easily as the differences are stated very explicitly. A table would help you organise the key characteristics of each type of bond so that it becomes easier to remember.
3. Using a mind map
A mind map is most suitable for visual learners. If you learn better with pictures and illustrations, this method would be the most suitable for you. Although it is the most time-consuming, it is the most useful when it comes to certain concepts that require images for better understanding.
Above is an example of a mind map. It places different information from various parts of the topic into different segments. When you draw your own mind map, you can do it in a way that suits your style of learning. If making a mind map colourful helps you remember information better by linking this information to the colours, go ahead and decorate it to help yourself internalise this information easily.
Most importantly, find a method that suits your style of learning. It is okay to have a different method than your friends because everyone learns differently. What is most important is that you have a set of personal notes and summaries that you can refer to easily while doing homework that can be easily understood by you. The key is to customize your notes to suit your needs.
It is also important to ensure that your notes are filled with accurate information so that you are constantly revising and refreshing yourself with the correct information. If you are unsure about certain terminologies or concepts, clarify immediately and ensure that you modify your notes accordingly as well. This will aid and expedite your learning process as there will no longer be a need to refer to textbooks. It will also be more convenient when you are studying outside as you would not need to bring these heavy textbooks along with you. Instead, a notebook filled with your summaries would suffice.