This article is a guide on how to use and maintain a journal for an effective learning experience.
A learning diary or journal is a conventional notebook or a simple desk-diary which is one of the most convenient, portable and organised means of preparing your lessons. It also acts as a planner to remind you of how much and what all you have to finish every day. Maintaining a journal for studying helps to learn better and makes the learning process quite interesting. In a way, journal helps to keep a record of all what you have learned. However, it requires a bit of expertise when it comes to maintaining a journal. If handled properly, it can become one of the best study aids for the students.
Here are the ways in which a student can maintain a journal for studying:
1) Be aware of the syllabus:
Before you start preparing a journal, take your syllabus and mark those topics or chapters that you will have to prepare for the exam.
Once the syllabus becomes clear to you, place all the topics on the journal. But don’t make it clumsy. Maintain gaps between each topic so that you can add the information in between.
3) Color psychology-
Colors help to learn better. Use different colors or highlighters for the topics in order to distinguish them from each other. Using neon or fluorescent highlighters is the best way of locating or keeping in mind a particular topic.
Once you have the topics in hand, make a proper note of the time and date within which you will be able to finish that chapter.
5) Sticky notes:
Since it’s not possible to write every point for so many topics, one can use the colorful, sticky notes at various, relevant places in the journal. For instance, one can write the names of all the planets separately on a sticky note rather than cramming the journal with the same.
Using pictures corresponding to the topic is one of the best ways of memorizing it. For instance, if you are preparing a chapter on the ‘planets,’ using a picture of the Solar System and sticking it next to the broad heading will help to remember better. You can also use this picture idea for the sub topics.
7) Methods –
Once you are done with the creative part, you can think of the methods in which you want to learn a particular topic. Some of the common and effective methods of studying are research, flashcards, mind map, etc. Write these topics down under the broad heading and make a box adjacent to each of them. Check the box adjacent to the one you will be choosing to learn the topic. For instance, if you are using “mind map” then tick that box only.
Upon reading a topic, if you find it difficult, note down all your queries under the topic using abbreviations. For instance, if you are not able to understand some of the concepts related to “puberty”, write down beside it in a short form- “Q- Stages of pub 4 girls”.
9) Bullet -
Using checklists and making points is the best way to memorize a topic. Nowadays, one can even make a bullet journal for an effective learning experience. (For more information on bullet journal, see the video below)
10) Resources/citation –
There will be topics under the same heading where you will be required to make use of various learning resources. For instance, if the topic is “Planets” and you got information about it from the internet, then write the name of that website beside it. For instance, science.natural geographic/Topic-Planets.com
11) Strike it off-
Once you are done with a particular topic, strike it off slightly or cross with a black pen to get an idea of how much is done and how much needs to be done.
After you are done with all the topics, make a separate revision list at the back of the journal and start revising.
While a journal promises a better and effective learning experience, it requires a student to start planning early so that he/she doesn’t miss out on any topic which needs to be included in the journal. It harnesses your creativity and helps to score better in your exams. Hence a lot of benefits come to a student who maintains journal for studying.
Below is a video showing how to make a bullet journal for studying: