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Using Active Learing to Optimize Your Review Experience

Updated: May 21, 2020

Learning tons of information is part of what you have to go through in the next months of review. You will also be given lots of notes to digest. Plus, you have to go through your books to reinforce all the concepts that you have learned.

How does one take in all these information more effectively?

I am an advocate of what is known as active learning. Basically, active learning strays away from the traditional "read-your-notes-until-you-drop" approach. Active learning encourages engaging in activities that allows you to manipulate information on your own. This allows more comprehension and makes more information to stick to your memory.

There are a lot of ways you can do active learning. You can:

1. OUTLINE what you are reading. Take a clean sheet of paper (I prefer using coupon bond) and jot down notes from what you have read. Use headings and subheadings to make your outline more organized. By preparing an outline of important topics and concepts, it is easier for you to do recall at the end of every chapter you have read. Once you are done with a particular chapter, close your book then go over your outline. Try to remember the important points for each note you have jot down.

2. CREATE FLASHCARDS. Select important pieces of information from your notes and create flashcards. You can use index cards or even just strips of coupon bond. Write a question or any cue on the front of your flashcard. At the back, write information that is associated with your cue. For example, if you are studying bacteria and diseases associated with them, you can write the name of the bacteria in front (this serves as your "cue") and the disease at the back. By merely creating the flashcards, you are already memorizing! You can punch holes on the flashcards and use ring binders to make them more handy.

3. READ Q&A BOOKS AFTER EVERY CHAPTER YOU HAVE READ. Testing yourself ensures that you have really understood what you have read. It also allows you to double-check which topics should be read again.

4. EXPLAIN WHAT YOU HAVE READ TO YOURSELF (OR TO A FRIEND) IN THE SIMPLEST MANNER POSSIBLE. The epitome of learning is teaching what you have learned! If you can teach what you have read, that is a clear indication of mastery. By explaining what you have read, you are also forced to organize information inside your brain.

5. MAKE CREATIVE MNEMONICS! The funnier, the better! Mnemonics which involve humor (or even dirty jokes) stick better to our heads. The mere activity of creating mnemonics is also a great way for you to keep information lingering for a longer time inside your mind.

These are just a few ways you can do active learning. Remember, study smart!

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