The Notebook Method: How Pen and Paper Can TransformYou Into a Star Student
Features: Becoming a Superstar,Tips: Reading Assignments & Problemsets,Tips: Studying,
Tips: Paper WritingStudy HacksMarch 20th. 2009, 10:43pm
From Good to Great
Unlike many hacks you read here, the strategy I want todescribe today is not designed to reduce your study time(though I don’t think it will add much to your scheduleeither). Instead, its purpose is to help you transform froma good student into an
It starts with the simplest possible tools…pen and paper.
The Notebook Method
This method applies to the following academic situations, among others…
Writing an essay or paper.
Working on a problem set or technical take home exam.
Tackling a difficult book or reading assignment.
Designing a project for a computer science or engineering class.The idea is simple…1.
Buy a sturdy college-ruled notebook
dedicated to the relevant class. (I use the 100page, 1 subject, college-ruledStasher by Roaring Spring, but many people also swear bytheBlack n’ Red.)2.
Buy a good pen
. (Nothing beats a black uniball micro 0.5mm.)3.
Take your notebook and pen and
go to the most relaxing, meditative, non-distractingplace possible
. The deep stacks of the library is okay. Hiking 30 minutes into the woodsor onto the dunes overlooking a windswept springtime beach is even better.4.
Spend 1 - 3 hours working out your thinking on the task at hand in the notebook
.Spend the last 20 minutes carefully summarizing your results on a clean page that youmark with the date and a title.For example, here is a snapshot from a page of my PhD thesis notebook: