Study Tips

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Study Tip #1

The Mapping Method

A method that uses comprehension/concentration skills and evolves in a note taking form which relates each fact or idea to every other fact or idea. Mapping is a graphic representation of the content of a lecture. It is a method that maximizes active participation, affords immediate knowledge as to its understanding, and emphasizes critical thinking.


  • Helps you visually track your lecture regardless of conditions.
  • Relationships can easily be seen.
  • Easy to edit your notes by adding numbers, marks, and color coding.
  • Review will call for you to restructure thought processes, which will reinforce your understanding.
  • Main points can be written on flash or note cards and pieced together into a table or larger structure at a later date.


  • You might not hear changes in content from major points to facts.

When to Use

  • When the lecture content is heavy and well-organized.
  • When you have a guest lecturer and have no idea how the lecture is going to be presented.


[/restab][restab title=”Cornell Method”]

Study Tip #2

The Cornell Method

The Cornell Method provides a systematic format for condensing and organizing notes without laborious recopying. After writing the notes in the main space, use the left-hand space to label each idea and detail with a key word or “cue” and the bottom space for summarization.


  • Organized and systematic method for recording and reviewing notes.
  • Easy format for pulling our major concept and ideas.
  • Simple and efficient. Saves time and effort.
  • “Do-it-right-in-the-first-place” system.


  • None.

When to Use

  • In any lecture situation.


  • Draw a vertical line on your paper about three inches from the left edge. This creates a narrow area for cues (Cue Column) and a larger area on the right to make notes (Note Area).
  • Draw a horizontal line a couple inches from the bottom for summary points (Summary Area).

During class, take down information in the Note Area. When the instructor moves to a new point, skip a few lines. After class, complete phrases and sentences as much as possible. For every significant bit of information, write a cue in the Cue Column. To review, cover your notes with a card, leaving the cues exposed. Say the cue out loud, say as much as you can about that cue, move the card and see if what you said matches what is written.

If you say it, you know it!
[/restab][restab title=”Outline Method”]

Study Tip #3

The Outline Method

With this method, using dashes or indentations is usually best, except for some science classes such as physics or math. The information which is most general begins at the left with each more specific group of facts indented with spaces to the right. The relationships between the different parts of the class lecture are carried out through indenting. Generally, no numbers, letters, or Roman numerals are needed.


  • Well-organized system if done right.
  • Outlining records content as well as relationships.
  • Reduces editing and is easy to review by turning main points into questions.


  • Requires more thought in class for accurate organization.
  • Might not show relationships by sequence when needed.
  • Doesn’t lend itself to diversity of learning styles.
  • Cannot be used if the lecture is too fast.

When to Use

  • When lecture is presented in outline organization.
    • Deductive (regular outline).
    • Inductive (reverse outline where minor points start building to a major point).
  • When there is enough time in the lecture to think about and make organization decisions when they are needed.
  • When your note taking skills are super sharp and can handle the outlining regardless of the note taking situation.


  • Listen and then write in the points in an organized pattern based on space indentation.
  • Place major points farthest to the left.
    • Indent each more specific point to the right.
      • Levels of importance will be indicated by distance away from the major point.
  • Indentation can be as simple as using dashes or bullets or as complex as labeling the indentations with Roman numerals or decimals.
[/restab][restab title=”SQ3R Method”]

Study Tip #4

The SQ3R Method

Survey, Question, Read, Recite and Review

SQ3R is a method for remembering the major ideas in the material that you read. This method is described using a chapter in a textbook and can be easily adapted to other forms of written material.

SQ3R consists of five steps:

  1. Survey

    Look through the whole chapter. See what the headings are — the major ones and the subheadings. Check for introductory and summary paragraphs, references, etc. Resist reading at this point, but see if you can identify three to six major ideas in the chapter.

  2. Question

    Ask yourself what the chapter is about — what are the questions that the chapter is trying to answer? Repeat this process with each section of the chapter. Turn section headings into questions using who, what, where, when, how and why.

  3. Read

    Read one section at a time looking for the answer to the question proposed by the section heading. This is active reading and requires concentration, so find a place and time where and when you can concentrate. Highlight or underline the answers you find.

  4. Recite/Write

    Repeat the questions and answer them in your own words. Consider making note cards to record the questions and answers. Research shows that you remember better if you use your own words instead of words or phrases copied from the written material.

  5. Review

    After repeating steps 2–4 for each section, you will have a list of key phrases that provides an outline for the chapter. For each section, test yourself by rereading your questions and answering them without referring to your notes. Do this right after you finish reading the chapter. If you can not answer one of the questions, reread the section.

SQ3R Checklist

    • Read the title of the chapter.
    • Note how many pages are in the chapter.
    • Skim the introduction (do not read every word).
    • Read the headings in the chapter and the first sentence following the headings.
    • Look at pictures and read captions.
    • Notice new vocabulary words.
    • Check for a summary and read it.
    • Notice charts and graphs.
    • As you skim through the headings, turn section headings into questions using who, what, where, when, how and why.
    • Turn new vocabulary words into questions.
    • Read the questions at the end of the section.
  3. READ
    • Read each section of the chapter.
    • Answer the questions you formulated.
    • Highlight/underline the answers you find.
    • Repeat your questions and answer them in your own words.
    • Consider making note cards with your questions and answers.
    • Understand your answer.
    • Reread your questions and answer them without referring to your notes.
    • Review highlighted sections.
    • Reread if necessary.