I think it was in the fourth grade when I really tapped into my color coding potential. No, it didn’t come from a place of wanting to succeed lmao; it was simply to watch the different shades harmonize as the teacher carried on with their diatribe.
But here’s the thing, by simply highlighting different segments of my textbook, I realized that through my sense of association, I was able to retain these bits of information for longer periods and also feel a lot more productive after study sessions.
The beauty of color coding lies in its subjectivity. One may prefer crayons to underline things while another might prefer ink. You could play around with highlighter pens for numbers and use pencils for important sentences. You could even use different colors for different subjects! Expert advice: go crazy.
Of course, the sudden lack of structure in the study process might be hard to implement, so here are some effective ways to begin:
- Think in colours.
What this means is to basically let yourself freely associate that which is boggling you with a colour that you’ve learnt to associate with bewilderment. For example, I’ve started associating concepts of ‘supply’ with the colour pink, so every time I draw a supply curve or go over notes on supply, I use pink.
- Embrace chaos.
Your notes do not have to look like they belong in the Louvre. In fact, the messier it is, the more impactful it can be. Personally, when I use shades of red and brown on the same page, I tend to remember it more distinctly than other pages, simply because I think it’s a mess. Also, your notes are your notes; nothing needs to be symmetrical as long as it works for you.
- Come prepared.
It’s always a good idea to lay out your stationery before you begin studying. Once you’ve used a color for a particular concept, keep it beside you so that you can continue to associate that concept with whatever color you decided from the word go. For example, if I’ve decided that Plato’s maxims will appear in purple, I keep my purple pen aside and use it every time information about Plato is repeated. This conditions me to think about Plato in purple and it’s a lot easier for me to recall when required.
I hope these tips help you fall in love with the process of studying and I really hope you don’t accidentally cover information with dark ink; tread cautiously :)