Tag Archives: book

Better note taking; ditch the highlighter


  1. Grasp highlighter firmly in hand
  2. Find a trash can
  3. Deposit highlighter in trash can
  4. Pat self on back

Highlighters are a nice invention aren’t they? You read a bit; you highlight a bit. You read a little more. Hmmm, that might be important; better highlight it. Here’s another important bit. Let’s use the orange highlighter for this one. Read. Read. Highlight. Read. Aren’t you good? You must be studying ; I mean, look at all the pretty colors.

The trouble is, you aren’t actually learning anything. You’re just identifying the possibly important parts. Nothing wrong with that, but you’re just postponing the actual studying. It’s like cleaning your house by putting little flags next to the dirty parts. You still have to go back and clean. Why not just clean it now?

Your goal should be to read it ONCE.  After that, all the important points should be captured in a studyable format, so you’ll never have to wade through that text again.

So dispense with the college crayons and try these methods instead…

  • Make keyword notes in the margins. Try to write as little as possible yet still capture the important points, and go for at least one note by every paragraph, even if it’s just your opinion about the author’s IQ. Abbreviate, symbolize, and summarize. To accurately and concisely summarize, you must process the information, and processing the information will automatically help you learn it. Bonus: now you have a nice outline, perfect for review.
  • Make flashcards. Yes, flashcards … they’re not just for phonics and multiplication facts. Summarize, symbolize, and abbreviate as above. Go for one key note per card. Again, you’re working with the information, and this has been proven to be a much more effective way to learn info than by rote repetition. Bonus: You’ve got a portable review aid. Mastered that flashcard? Then remove it from the stack and sock it away in another stack to review again in a few days.
  • Make condensed notes. Try to clearly and concisely summarize the entire chapter on one side of a 3×5 card. This is a great technique for those of us who tend to write too much and go on and on and on and on, not that I would know anything about that. The size of the card forces you to eliminate anything non-essential. I stumbled across this technique when a professor generously allowed us to use the notes on a single 3×5 card for our cumulative final exam. My writing was teenynsy (which is one step below tiny, I think), but it didn’t matter. I found that I almost never had to refer to the card! Just making the card was enough to help me accurately recall the information during the exam. Bonus: You’ll get really good at writing really small. That has to be useful for something. Suggestions are appreciated.
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  • Make a mind map. Also called idea webs, mind maps are a good way to organize information visually. They still involve summarizing, abbreviating, and symbolizing, but also integrate organization. Wikipedia has a good article on it with lots of tips and outside links. Mind mapping isn’t for everyone, but it’s worth a try and I often use it myself.
  • Make Cornell Notes. Cornell notes are easy to do, and I use them for taking notes in class or from a reading. To get the low down on how to do it as well as a nice app to print out the blanks, look here.
  • Use a highlighter. So I lied. You can use a highlighter, but you must use it very sparingly. Your goal should be to highlight no more than five to ten words per paragraph; any more than that and you aren’t carefully evaluating the importance of what you’re underlining. Keep in mind, you will have to lug around that big old text book in order to study, and if you aren’t really careful you’ll end up having to reread the complete sentence in order to make sense of the five highlighted words. All in all, your better off using one of the aforementioned methods.
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To sum up: don’t just identify the info, capture it and process it. The summarizing, symbolizing, and abbreviating allow you to actually recall more information than if you just copied sentences word for word. Use any of these methods in combination with mnemonics and steady study, and you will find yourself with a lot more free time and better grades.

You study TOO MUCH…


…at least when it comes to reviewing info you want to recall, like your class notes on the Kreb Cycle or the Quadratic Formula. If you catch yourself going over the same notes again and again, trying to wedge it into your gray matter, there is a better way. Oodles (no, really, OOODLES) of good research to show that mnemonics (memory strategies) can increase your recall. That means less review for you (see this article for a run down of the research).

And using mnemonic techniques doesn’t require that you have thick glasses, a lack of fashion sense, and a passion for Star Trek: The Next Generation. In fact, the article linked above begins with an account of how mnemonics were used to beef up recall among Continue reading You study TOO MUCH…

Flash Cards for Vocabulary Memorization


flash cards for memoryFlash Card Do’s

  • Do use flashcards in three different colors. Positive words–such as benign , sagacious, and staunch–could go on green, blue, or mauve 3×5 cards. Negative words–such as mendacious , stultify, and malevolent–might go on red, yellow, or puce 3×5 cards. Neutral words–like rebuttal , soporific, and nominal–could go on white, tan, or taupe cards. The colors don’t really matter as long as you are consistent. If you do choose to use mauve, puce, and taupe, I would diagnose you as excessively high-falutin’ and respectfully recommend a monster truck rally and two full episodes of Family Guy.
  • Do carry the cards around with you and review them whenever you have a chance; at the stoplight, before class, waiting on your girlfriend, in the line at the grocery store or the bank, waiting on your girlfriend, on long trips, walking across campus, or even while waiting on your girlfriend. Note to the fair sex; I mean no offense, but I’ve never had a boyfriend, and so I’ve never had to wait on one. I’m quite aware of the fact that the inferior must wait on the superior. Peons wait on princesses (princessi?) and not vice-versa.

Flash Card Don’ts

  • Don’t put too much on any one card. The purpose of using 3×5 cards is not to perfect your microfiche-ian penmanship. Go for the word on one side of the card and a short two or three word definition on the other side. For example, you might have the word “mephitic” on one side and the definition “stinky” on the other. The biggest mistake people make–besides posting their drunk pics on facebook–is putting too much information on a single flash card. One card equals one fact.
  • Don’t recall only the short definition!!! Before boiling it down to a short two or three word definition, you must look up the full definition of the word, making sure you completely understand it and can use it in a sentence. The short definition will act as a handle on the memory of the longer definition, but only if you learned the long definition first.
  • Don’t fail to review the flash cards on a regular basis. Make reviewing the cards a daily habit just like brushing your teeth, taking a shower, or waiting on your girlfriend (hand and foot … because she’s a princess).
© Cody Blair, All Rights Reserved.

Balance is essential… Health and skin care


In the movie Lady in the Water there is a character who is always lifting weights. But he always does the exact same exercise; he lifts the same weight, in the same way, with the same arm. As a result, he has one huge muscular arm while the rest of him looks completely normal.

When it comes to health, balance is very important. Taking care of what you eat is important, but watching yourself in ways you might not think can have a huge effect as well. I’m talking about taking care of your skin. This article on Sdara skincare helps shed some light on the kind of issues you could run into if you leave this aspect of general health by the wayside. 

I wonder how many of us [hidepost]would look that way if how we treat our minds and spirits and relations with others was as readily apparent as how we treat our bodies. We might gawk in amazement and disgust as some fine figure of a man walked by with a shrunken and sickly family life. A beautiful woman with a wimpy, disfigured spirit might arouse pity or loathing rather than envy.Many of us give undue attention to certain aspects of our lives. We may live for school or books, yet sadly neglect our physical health. Perhaps we are the picture of bodily well being and do well in school, yet have no time for our families. Many of us survive this way for years, only to realize in the end, that we short-changed ourselves. Often we realize too late.

Seek balance as you set your goals. The harder it is for us to identify a goal in a certain area, the more we need to concentrate on that area. For example, if you have no idea what a reasonable spiritual goal would be and don’t really even think it’s important, there should be a warning buzzer going off in your head. You are probably scrawny and puny in that area.

Here are some areas to consider when setting long-term goals…

* body
* mind
* spirit
* social life
* family life
* work and school

Can you think of others? In which area do you need most to improve?[/hidepost]

Speed up your reading


with this online app

Just thirty minutes of faster-reading practice, twice a week can save you SOOO much time with your studies. Here’s a slick online app that will help you. Just copy and paste your text into the box and Spreeder will play it back to you at the speed you designate. Adjust the settings to modify the reading rate and chunk size (the number of words it flashes at you).

Can You Afford to Write Your Own Resume?


[hidepost]In today’s economy, if you can save a buck or two, you are ahead of the game! However, as the saying goes, “penny wise, pound foolish,” there are times when scrimping to save can be more costly in the end. This article will provide you with a quick overview of what skills you need to write your own resume and a case scenario to demonstrate the difference between spending and making a wise investment in having your resume professionally prepared.

Why would someone pay a professional resume writer to write their resume when they have a computer, can use resume templates, and can find resume samples online and in books to get ideas on setting up and composing their own resume?  The answer lies in what type of position they are targeting and their level of resume writing skills. Whether basic or complex, a resume must be attractive, focused, and interesting to read. Failing to achieve these objectives means failing to make a good first impression. Many things need to be taken into consideration in order to accomplish these goals. Here are five things to consider:

1. You must understand the technical aspects of resume development. This includes resume design (what fonts to use and spacing), use of industry specific key words, career synopsis and company profiles, appropriate resume style and formats (reverse chronological, functional and combination), and page length.

2. You must have good word processing skills!

3.  You must understand what the hiring manager is looking for and what you’ve done so you can make a match between their needs and your qualifications.

4. You must have grammatically correct, creative writing skills to communicate what you have done in the positions you have held using a reasonable amount of detail.

5. You must avoid wasting the reader’s time by listing too much irrelevant information or going back too far if the position does not warrant it.

Some positions such as waitress, car wash attendant, and cashier might not require a resume. If they do, it would be a general resume with a traditional objective statement and chronological listing of jobs held with a sentence or two under each to indicate responsibilities, along with job-specific skills, and education. In a word: simple. However, sometimes a resume needs to be strategically developed to emphasize the value you offer a company, especially if the position is very competitive and you need to stand out from the rest of the potential candidates.

Often, a job seeker finds himself or herself in a pickle because they have held many different positions over the years and do not know how to keep the resume focused for a particular position. Maybe you are returning to the workplace after raising your children and are concerned the gap will put you at a disadvantage. Maybe you are just starting out in your career and do not think you have enough to offer a company. Or, maybe you are ready for a career change and do not know how to create a presentation that will position you for a new field.

If you have done your homework (which we believe you have since you are reading this article!), you know that a resume is often referred to as a “marketing tool.” No different than a commercial advertisement, your resume needs to entice the reader to buy the product (you) by grabbing their attention, listing the product’s benefits (your qualifications), and compel the reader to make a move – in this case, to invite you to an interview. As you know, time is money. The more time that passes after sending your resume out, the more money you lose if it is not generating responses. If you cannot afford to be out of work for several months, you should make the decision to have your resume professionally prepared. Here is a quick quiz to help you put things into perspective:

Client A: wanted to save money, so she prepared her own resume. She faxed and mailed her resume to over 50 companies over a period of six weeks, but nothing happened. While she kept her fingers crossed, she depleted half of her savings. She eventually landed an interview in the seventh week through someone she knew.

Client B: understood that having her resume professionally developed was a good investment. Without one, she knew she could not launch her career in the right direction. She faxed and mailed her professionally prepared resume out to ten companies over a two-week period. By the end of week two, she landed a great interview that resulted in a fabulous job.

Quick Quiz: who came out financially ahead in the long run?

If you answered the job seeker that invested wisely in consulting with a professional resume writer, you are 100% correct! So, in summary, the question is not whether or not you can afford to write your own resume. The question is whether or not you can afford not to have it done properly.

About The Author:

Ann Baehr is a CPRW and President of Best Resumes of New York. Notable credentials include her former role as Second Vice President of NRWA and contribution to 25+ resume and cover letter sample books. To learn more visit http://www.e-bestresumes.com