Warriors, This Study Strategy Will Save Your Life

Have you ever written a test or exam and then been surprised at the mark you received? Do you try and memorize the material for your courses and not really learn it? That was me in first year; I had absolutely no idea what in the heck I was doing when it came to studying for finals. What I did (or didn’t do) in highschool was not cutting it anymore and I needed a new strategy for studying.

Thankfully, one of my professors blessed my class with a studying skills workshop during my first term at UW. I have taken the skills I learned there with me throughout my entire undergrad. As an Arts student, this strategy works really well for me because of the nature of the material I’m learning, so bear that in mind as you read these tips!

So, how can you make the mass amounts of material you need to know bearable?  The key for me is to find a way to organize all my notes from one week/chapter/theme onto one sheet of paper:


Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Your lecture notes

  • Your textbook

  • Pens, highlighters, etc.

  • Plain, blank sheets of paper (either lined or printer paper)


Step 1: Fold your paper in half

Hotdog style, not hamburger.


Step 2: Add headings

  • Top left corner: Subject + Chapter/Theme

  • On the left side write “Key Terms”

  • On the right side write “Main Concepts”



Step 3: Fill in the blanks

Key Terms:

Skimming through your textbook and your lecture notes at the same time, pick out the key terms and definitions and write them down on the left side. Since the goal is to fit all the material onto one side of the paper, write tiny!


Main Concepts:

You’ll probably notice that some of the terms line up with the main concepts you learned that week! Write them down, and colour code them to connect with the key terms.

In the end, your sheet of paper will look similar to a structured mind map, perfect for studying all the main pieces of information you need to know without feeling overwhelmed. Now instead of using a whole notebook up to study, you’ve summarized 12 weeks of material onto 6 sheets of paper! High five!


If you don’t think this strategy is the right fit for you, have no fear! Here are some resources so you can find what works best for YOU.


More Resources:


Happy studying, Warriors!