We’ve all heard phrases and seen the memes addressing how difficult college is. From racing from one side of the campus to the other to dealing with multiple professors, homework, and exams at one time, college is far from simple. It’s an experience like nothing you’ve ever witnessed before.
But it’s just that: an experience you never have or will experience again once it’s gone. Because of this, we want you to make the absolute best of it. But to do so, you might need a few helpful tips to guide you along the way.
One of these helpful tips is learning how to use highlighters to study the correct way. If you’re like most of us, then you most likely didn’t use your highlighters too much in high school. Or, you used it quite a bit but no one ever explained good highlighting techniques to you.
So before you highlight a whole page in your textbook, continue reading below. We’ve put together a list of good tips to follow when using a highlighter!
Don’t Replace Your Notes with Them
The first tip is to not replace your notes with your highlighter. Just because you have a neon yellow marker in your hand, doesn’t mean you don’t need to take notes on what you’ve read. To be an active learner, it’s important that you take great notes.
Keep your notes organized and readable. Once you’ve written your notes down, you can then go back over them and highlight what’s most important to you. You can also pinpoint these same things in your text.
This is a great way to connect your notes with information from the text.
A Highlighter Connects Important Ideas
Remember that a highlighter is there to aid you in your studies, not to just color things that sound important to you. When wanting to learn in an effective way, it’s vital that you make connections between important ideas. Why?
The more connections that you make within your notes while studying, the more likely you are to remember what you’ve learned. It’s the brain’s natural way of learning. We’re constantly making connections with things all around us.
Using the highlighter helps you to take these mental connections and turn them into physical ones. And once you make them visual, you’ll remember them with ease.
Read the Text First, Then Highlight
Don’t make the mistake of looking for a specific name or terms while scanning through your text and then highlighting it. You need to take the time to actually read through the text first and then highlight where appropriate. Also, put the highlighter down when reading through the text if it’s your first time reading it.
Until you’ve taken the time to read through the text using great care, there’s no way to know what’s important or what’s not. You need to read the information and process it before making this decision. In some cases, you might even need to read through it more than once before even picking your highlighter up.
Failure to do so could result in you highlighting everything or anything that seems relevant, meaning the whole page is almost covered in neon colors. Or, you might end up highlighting something that seemed important but doesn’t actually hold much value. When this happens, you could end up confusing yourself later down the road when you go to revisit your notes.
A good tip to follow is to read the text in its entirety one time. Leave the text for a couple of hours or a day. Then, come back to the text.
This time, have your highlighter handy!
Use More Than One Highlighter
Because there are probably so many different important ideas in your text with different meanings and different levels of significance or connection, you might want to consider using more than one highlighter color. In most cases, when we highlight different sections of the text, there’s a different reason behind highlighting each one.
For example, you might decide to highlight one thing because it’s something that you’re questioning or have a question about. You might also highlight something else because you want to explore that idea more, or it sparked another idea in your head. Each time you’re highlighting something for a different reason, use a highlighter color that you’ve assigned to that specific purpose.
You can even create your own chart and keep it in your notebook to refer back to when needed. This is a great way to keep things organized. You’ll be less confused when going over your notes, and you won’t have to worry about forgetting why you highlighted something when you revisit it on a later date.
Let Your Highlighters be Your Friends, Not Your Enemy!
Highlighters are a great studying tool when used correctly. But when used incorrectly, they can be your worst nightmare. Bad highlighting techniques could lead you to confusion, which ultimately lands you scores or grades that you don’t want.
Read through these tips and take notes if needed. You’ll want to remember these the next time you go to take notes and study.
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