“The mind is like a sponge, soaking up endless drops of knowledge.”
-Robert M. Hensel
Our brain has a lot going on at any given time. This inbuilt computer that we are blessed with stores a great deal of information. However, you may find it a tad bit difficult to retrieve relevant information at the right time if you rely on your memory alone. You will need some help that’ll make it easy for you to recall information.
For instance, if you are working on your school project, you may want to refer to books in a library or source information from the internet. You can bring in a lot more efficiency if you keep track of the reference materials, while you are gathering information. Also, you can quickly access the reference material when you want to, saving time, and allows you to study in a relaxed environment.
Here are five tips that will help you keep track of reference study materials:
- Making notes on the reference source
When you read books that you own, you can underline or highlight important sections. Some people write comments on sticky notes and paste them on the corresponding pages. Although the book has all the highlighted information, it is not easy to search since there are no direct pointers.
You can resort to this method when you need to read to gather a general sense of understanding and not an in-depth study or while working on a long-term project.
- Organize your books
Whether it’s a physical book or a folder on your desktop, it’s essential to have a designated place for the unread books. This is more than just a storage space; it can serve as a reminder for you to read them.
It’s tempting to collect reference books and fool yourself into thinking that by just having the books you’ve done an excellent job. Set aside time once every few weeks to review these books. Even if you can’t read each book in detail, you should be able to skim through and take notes.
If you find relevant information on the internet, you can bookmark it. An organized way of doing it is to categorize the web pages in separate folders.
For example, if you are studying different types of precipitation, you can create a folder named Precipitation. Then, create separate subfolders like Rain, Drizzle, Snow, Hail, Sleet and Freezing rain. Next, add the required web pages to their respective folders.
While using offline resources like magazines, encyclopedias or research papers, you can maintain a paper document or an e-document with columns that have details like:
- Title of the book or research paper
- Name of the author
- Reference page numbers
- Important notes from referred pages
You can also document online resources. Here, you may include details like:
- Source link
- Name of the author
- Keywords or tags
- Summary of the article or paper
- Index Card Method
While reading, you can write content you think might be relevant to your subject on an index card along with its source information and the page numbers.
A growing stack of cards is also a great way to amass the ideas you’ve encountered, and it also serves as an excellent visual cue. You can then start drafting your work by following the way you have organized the cards. When you place your index cards next to each other, it’s easy to identify which topics need attention and which have enough information.
Next time, when there’s a need to refer to various study materials, you can make use of these tips. It’ll increase your productivity, enhance your focus and yield better results.