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students & thousands of pages of books

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  • students & thousands of pages of books

    I'm a student having to study with between two to seven books totalling in around 500 to 2500 pages per exam.

    I feel it is difficult to set out on a venture like this - I have tried various approaches in the many years of my education:
    I've tried to take the total amount of pages, divide them by the amount of days I want to be finished with a book/exam in and then do that amount of pages per day. Unfortunately that doesn't work because of a few factors. One is, that sometimes I need a day for five pages while on others I can skip almost a whole chapter because either the contents are not highly relevant or not completely new to me.
    To solve this problem I've tried to skim ahead and see what I can decidedly cross out and not even take a second look at, or find out which chapters are key to the area I'm focusing on. But even with this method I've found that a 1200 pages book doesn't melt to manageable numbers easily.
    Yes, you can cross out a few hundred pages if you are very good and patient with skimming through the book, but even after a week of preparing a studying schedule (and that's longer than what my colleagues tell me they spend on 'planning') I was still looking at around 900 pages in the current book.

    So, my problem in short is: I have a huge book with several small ones that are dictionaries, references, specialised books etc. to support me in understanding the main book. How would you recommend I set out on this best?
    I've tried numerous approaches (including the ones above) and I've failed to consistently stay at one topic and not flick to another chapter after some time (or take leaves of absence from studying and thus forget earlier learnt things far too often).

    My approach after reading GTD: I've thought of making a list of chapters and for each chapter using the PQ4R method to create a list of NAs. Now that sounds pretty straight forward maybe, even repetitive and boring (I imagine the list would look like this: chapter 1 - preview, chapter 1 - question, chapter 1 - read, chapter 1 - review, etc.).
    What do you think? I'm not sure PQ4R works perfectly for me, but frankly I've not ever had to study that large volume of information before.

    I've read into some popular learning techniques books as well. Some of them appear rather playful in their approaches - in my opinion many of these approaches might work with smaller amounts of work, but I can't quite visualise drawing mind maps or using the Loci method on hundreds if not a thousand and a few hundred topics and then connect them to each other.

    From colleagues I know that the fastest student so far has taken around two to three months to study enough to pass the exam. I've also found that the average time to do this is between four and six months and that the largest amount of time invested is somewhere around two years.

    Now this sounds pretty intimidating (I certainly don't want to spend two years on the subject!). So, with all of you being interested in project management, time management, setting up lists, goals etc. I hope I can get some feedback on how to tackle more easily. Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    I hate reading if I don't enjoy the subject matter, but here are some things that might help you. (or not)

    Academic success requires various competencies, among them the ability to know and use a variety of tools and techniques to generate and organize information and ideas. I refer to the tools and techniques on this page as "notemaking" because "taking notes" is passive: just as we must make meaning, so we must make notes---in our head, on the page, and in our notebooks. None of the ideas here are new, though I hope the way I have designed these "school tools" helps you use them more effectively.

    Cornell Notes is very popular, there's a free PDF here

    I have no experience with it, but plan on trying it out soon, but is supposed to be good. There are shareware and freeware verions available. It lets you quiz yourself and it will re-quiz you based on how quickly you forget things. Build a few of these files and you can make some money selling them to your peers.


    • #3
      As someone who has been in a similar situation (w.r.t. number of pages to handle for a test) I may have a few helpful suggestions.

      In a nutshell, read faster and read more effectively.

      First, if your reading speed is not very high you will readily recoup an investment in some specialized software to help you boost your reading speed. I suggest AceReader as a friend of mine has personal experience with it and has used it raise his reading speed from less than 300 WPM to more than 800 WPM in a few dozen hours of drilling using the program. He downloads free sample texts from Project Gutenberg.

      Second, the issue is not just to study hard and to study hard for a long time. One needs to understand the material. One wants to be able to measure that one has assimilated the materal. One wants to avoid spending time re-studying the material one has already studied and mastered.

      I may be mis-reading your post here, but it seems to me that you may be hoping that if you can just study each topic for enough hours all the needed material and relationships will just somehow "soak in" and "gel". If the test is primarily regurgitation and recitation of rote learning you may be correct. If the test is at all relational or conceptual you may have a hard time.

      May I respectfully suggest the use of both mind maps (per Tony Buzan) and Concept Maps (per Dr. Joesph D. Novak)? Paper works just fine for both (bigger pieces of paper work better). Google searches will reveal free software available to create both for the Windows PCs (I don't know whether you have a PC or a Mac or no computer).

      The Buzan mind maps and the techniques he suggests in his books for reading and making mind maps of the material as you go have cut my own personal reading time down more than 10X for a given amount of content. No joke. I personally used to study, study, some more, and then study some more. I had no way to measure whether I had covered all the material or whether I had assimilated it. Flash cards, whether paper or electronic, are a good way to reinforce memorization and rote learning (and that may be appropriate for the test you will be taking). More likely, however, the you will need to demonstrate an understanding of the concepts and relationships in the model.

      A Google search on "Tony Buzan mind map" will yield many examples and even good tutorials on constructing mind maps as you read through written material (it is a multi-pass process, but each pass does not involve carefully reading every word).

      Concept maps do a superb job of helping you distill out the essential concepts in the reading. I frequently find that the cogent concepts in a book fit neatly onto a single 8.5" by 11" piece of paper (the concepts, not the content). Dr. Joseph D. Novak's books, "Learning How to Learn" and "Learning, Creating, and Using Knowledge: Concept Maps As Facilitative Tools in Schools and Corporations" explain how to create Concept Maps and then even how to grade them to see whether you are understanding the concepts and relationships in the material. I suggest the latter book as it was written later and is a superset of the former book.

      I also suggest the use of D. Bob Gowin's "Knowledge Vee" as a useful metric to determine whether you understand the material and the concepts and principles presented in the material. The "Knowledge Vee" is described in "Learning, Creating, and Using Knowledge: Concept Maps As Facilitative Tools in Schools and Corporations" (Gowin co-authored it with Dr. Novak).

      You can readily create and maintain both Mind Maps and Conceps maps on plain paper, in a general purpose drawing package, with a general purpose drawing package (Visio, SmartDraw), with free on-the-web tools (I have forgotten the name of the free mind map tool, use "C-Maps" for Concept Maps), or commercial packages (MindManager or MindGenius for mnid maps, I don't know of a commercial package for Concept Maps).

      A google search on "concept map" will yield many examples, instructions on how to create them, and tools to create them.

      Both Mind Maps and Concept Maps will help you drastically cut down the amount of time you spend studying and re-studying (easily 10-fold, probably much more). Both will allow you to measure whether you have gatered the material and understood the fundamental concepts in the material. Both are extremely easy to learn (a few hours for each) and both are extremely easy to share with your fellow students and study group members.


      • #4
        Without knowing the rest of your situation, I would assume two things up front: the exams are given by your instructors, and your instructors will provide lectures and assignments from which your can infer what material in your books your need to study or not. Some instructors base everything from the textbook, others almost nothing -- you can rely almost exclusively on lecture notes. Of course, if you're talking about novels, then you have to read them whole.

        I've been using SuperMemo for the Palm for a couple of years, and will switch back to using the desktop version when I switch back from my Powerbook to a Windows laptop. I recommended it with some qualifications.

        If you like the flashcard approach to studying, the SuperMemo is the most efficient method of iterating the process. You don't waste time repeating items that you score high on, and you get additional repetitions on low-scored items.

        But the program can be quite a taskmaster. Basically, once you enter items into the system, you don't get to choose which items you get to study on a give session. It schedules items for repetition based on an empirically determined forgetting curve ("repetition spacing"). The curve is a lengthening interval in which the days for review of a particular question are scheduled from the original entry date -- usually based on a factor between 1.4 and 2.0. Less technically, items are reinforced just before you would theoretically forget them. This is somewhat similar to the Pimsleur method of language study, but which Pimsleur audio courses are non-interactive, the factor for repetition spacing gets readjusted by user grading.

        There are two main problems with the program, and they're why I wouldn't necessarily recommend it for everyone. Actually, they're not problems with the program, but with user discipline. First, you have to be dedicated to using it every day. If you skip today's questions, they get piled with tomorrow's questions. While nothing terrible happens, it can get overwhelming if add a lot of material each day or skip a couple of days. According to Piotr Wozniak, the programs author, many users quit using SuperMemo because they get overzealous with the amount of material they input versus their irregular review regimen. You can memorize a lot fast, but there's no free lunch, and after several false starts with the program, my experience bears that out.

        The other problem lies in question formation, which can be labor-intensive. For each Q/A pair to work most effectively, they need to truly be atomized into only one fact per pair. So a sentence like, "The Treo 650 is the latest smartphone from PalmOne," should be regarded as a compound statement, broken down into single-fact questions like "Which company manufactures the Treo 650?", "What kind of product is the Treo 650?", and "What is the latest smartphone from PalmOne?" Paradoxically, it's faster to memorize these three distinct facts rather than learning to answer a question like "What is the Treo 650?" with a compound statement. Incidentally, this is true with or without SuperMemo.

        So if you've got a lot to learn and you want to use SuperMemo, be prepared to spend some time learning the methodology. The demo version is a free download, and you'll probably need to spend a few days just learning how to use it. It will accelerate the learning curve for what you want to study. Just be aware that the program and the method have a learning curve of their own.

        One of my Someday/Maybes is to adapt the material from Wozniak article, "Using SuperMemo without a computer" into a set a templates that can be used with a tickler file instead of the data book/schedule book combo.


        • #5
          I'll second the Tony Buzan recommendations.


          • #6
            I third the mind map recommendations.

            In my experience, mind mapping becomes more useful, not less, as the amount of material increases. The more information you have, the more you need to (consciously) think about the relationships between topics.

            Very briefly, the approach goes something like this:
            *Map what you already know about the topic.

            *Very lightly skim the material you are trying to study. For this amount of material, that means reading the table of contents and maybe the first paragraph or two of each chapter. Draw a preliminary map based on this overview.

            *Compare the two maps to see where you have the least knowledge and/or the most interest. Plan your studying accordingly.

            *Read the material

            *Draw another map of what you've learned. Compare to the original map to see what gaps still exist.

            *Repeat until you pass the exam.

            For this amount of material, you'll probably need to do a course overview first, then take a similar approach to each major subtopic.

            Good luck!



            • #7
              Originally posted by Gameboy70
              So if you've got a lot to learn and you want to use SuperMemo, be prepared to spend some time learning the methodology. The demo version is a free download, and you'll probably need to spend a few days just learning how to use it. It will accelerate the learning curve for what you want to study. Just be aware that the program and the method have a learning curve of their own.
              All facts mentioned by Gameboy70 are quite correct. I found an annoyance at least with the PALM-Version (I am using Version 1.1.1). There is no way to export your data! I cure this by entering the data using an PC-editor and converting them to supermemo. So I have the chance to use my informations further even if I have to change my HW-platform.



              • #8
                Re: students & thousands of pages of books

                Originally posted by Anonymous
                I'm a student having to study with between two to seven books totalling in around 500 to 2500 pages per exam.
                Although there are general principles applicable to studying (e.g., you need to put in the time), I think there is also a lot of room for variation with each individual. It's a great idea to think about your study methods and to revise them to evaluate what works best for you.

                I think some sort of reverse scheduling is helpful (e.g., 2500 pages divided by three months to read them). But within the schedule, there needs to be a great deal of flexibility. If you divide all the way down to how much you read each day, then you are likely to run into problems. To get a general idea of how much material you need to get through, you might try breaking it down into larger increments, such as two weeks, just to have some kind of measure about whether you need to speed things up or not. Sometimes the teacher will set the pace by scheduling reading assignments. This can be a helpful guide.

                The first step before digging into reading is to try to get an overview of what you will be studying. You can look at the table of contents, chapter and subchapter headings, etc., and also any syllabus you might have received for the course. You can use these to form the basis of an outline or mind map, as others have suggested. Then choose your reading material for the study session and skim through it to try to digest the main points, perhaps marking them with a highlighter. Then read the material in more detail. As you read, you need to cull information that will be reviewable in outline or mind map form to refresh your memory about the material. Try to mesh any significant lecture materials into the relevant portions of your outline or map. What you should end up with is material that is reviewable independent of the books you are reading. You could also form a study group with one or more students where each student outlines a portion of the course and then you exchange outlines. This allows each student to focus more in-depth on their portion of the outline, but also requires some level of trust that the other student will do the work (and you still need to read the materials yourself).

                With all the software tools out there, studying and breaking down information into reviewable material is easier than ever. I often think that if I had to go through law school again it would be so easy compared with the "olden days."


                • #9
                  How to read a book

                  Here's how to read a book when the purpose is business, not pleasure:

                  Read the table of contents.

                  Read the introduction.

                  Read the conclusion.

                  Read the introduction again.

                  Delve deeper into anything in the book that you think might be personally interesting to you, useful, or on the test.

                  Ignore the rest.


                  • #10
                    memory tricks

                    With such a demanding student schedule I would recommend a holistic approach. Which includes using many different techniques and methods. However, this is time intensive and takes some practice. As a fellow student (with a lighter workload), I understand your position. Let me share some of the most important tools I have found through years of searching.

                    Supermemo without a doubt has been a school saver! I use it everyday! Gameboy70 (above) was right about the program however, the positives far outweigh the negatives.


                    Quantum Memory Power. This is the finest memory program on audio available. Period. You can listen to it in your car. If you are having to deal with such massive amounts of schoolwork you will have to employ mnemonics. A professional course is what you may need. This is it!


                    Cornell Notes are outstanding! Recommended from MarkTAW (above). I have only recently started using Cornell Notes in college and have noticed remarkable gains. Cornell Notes can also be used with Supermemo for a greater effect! An outstanding book that contains a Cornell Notes guide and other techniques is called:

                    How to Study in College
                    by Walter Pauk


                    And for another holistic memory course you could look into Memletics. I own their Memory Course and their Speed Reading course and they are both spectacular!


                    It has taken me years to assemble techniques and tools I prefer and use in my college studies. (there are more not included here) I would recommend you step back and do some serious research into the books and material I have listed above and this will give you help in your studies. It will take time and some investment. But if you have serious material to go through you should seriously consider it. For instance, if you were to employ Supermemo and Quantum Memory Power (mnemonics) I do not see a problem, even with your workload. Good Luck!



                    • #11
                      Re: memory tricks

                      Originally posted by arthur
                      It has taken me years to assemble techniques and tools I prefer and use in my college studies. (there are more not included here) I would recommend you step back and do some serious research into the books and material I have listed above and this will give you help in your studies. It will take time and some investment. But if you have serious material to go through you should seriously consider it. For instance, if you were to employ Supermemo and Quantum Memory Power (mnemonics) I do not see a problem, even with your workload. Good Luck!Arthur
                      You raise some valid points about memory tricks. The other day my father gave me a new telephone number for my grandmother. The first three numbers were part of the name of an old TV show. The next two numbers were a football player's number. And the last two numbers were 49, which could be recalled by thinking of the San Francisco 49'rs or the '49 gold rush. My father was laughing at how quickly I memorized the number, and I told him that was how I got through law school. It doesn't hurt to have a few memory tricks up your sleeve when you are trying to absorb a large amount of material.


                      • #12
                        +1 for SuperMemo. I haven't used it much yet, but I have a lot of things I want to add to it. There's a free version available on their website, and it's sitting on my desktop.


                        • #13
                          even more

                          Good to see some fellow Supermemo users here. I found a dramatic learning curve with Supermemo and it took me some time to be comfortable with it. I found the Supermemo Help Guide indispensable although a very difficult read. As a side effect of Supermemo, I have noticed it that when I started asking more questions about my homework in general my recall ability has jumped dramatically. It’s one of those side effects of Supermemo use, because you have to formulate your own Questions and Answers constantly with Supermemo. This for me is a skill within it’s own.

                          Also, I would recommend Supermemo 2004 as it has some dramatic improvement over older versions, mainly improvements on Incremental Reading.

                          Here is a good page on Supermemo; I found a lot of information on how to create Questions and Answers here.


                          I agree jmarkey about memory tricks, whatever works! Whatever gets the jobs done. Why I’m here let me post some other good books on the subject. One that I really like and it’s perfect for school is:

                          Memory Power For Exams (Cliffs Test Prep)
                          by William G. Browning

                          This is an exceptional book (you can also read some of it on Amazon). He uses mnemonics, pictograms and so fourth. What makes it special is it’s all school related. History, chemistry, law, etc. And he goes through numerous examples! Great book, and probably in most city libraries (mine included)

                          Also here is a list of memory books reviewed by a friend of mine. I have also gone through most of them and learned a lot. Like me, he also spent years searching for books and so-fourth.


                          Later gators,


                          P.S. MarkTAW, I have been using a little trick with Cornell Notes and Supermemo. What I do is, that I do the questions for Cornell Notes in the margin, then I add them to Supermemo. However when I add the Questions and Answers (From Cornell Notes to Supermemo) I mark them done on Cornell Notes pages. How I do this is I merely highlight them, but lately I just put a line "above and below" the Questions in Cornell Notes. This tells me that the Cornell Notes are transferred to Supermemo and I DO NOT have to study them from my Cornell Notes pages. It has saved me review time and improved my memory by transferring them to Supermemo. Good Stuff.

                          A System of Memory, that's what it really is. That's what the Greeks and Romans used. A System.


                          • #14
                            A test

                            If I can let me make some further comments about learning because it is uniquely tied to time management. What I will do here is give an example of a Philosophy class I took and show how I aced a Mid-Term exam. I feel this is an important area and wish to make everyones life in school a little bit easier. Mine included! Hehe

                            Below is a study guide from my Philosophy 1010 class. I posted everything I had to study and my further explanation is below. Please bear with me…

                            __________________________________________________ ________________________

                            Chapter 1
                            * Define [relativism]
                            * Assess the distinction between knowledge as [justified true belief], [theoretical knowledge], [practical knowledge] and [belief]
                            * How would you define [philosophy]?

                            Overview of Classical Themes
                            • Discuss the Homeric period and the role of ["Divine Agency"] as a prelude to the birth of Greek philosophy

                            Chapter 2
                            * Assess the general distinction between [eastern] and [western] philosophy
                            * What is Humanism? Discuss a humanistic philosopher we talked about in class
                            * Define how the philosophy of the Tao might be applicable today
                            * Define [Yin/Yang], give examples of each, and do you agree with this distinction?
                            * What is Te? How might this concept be useful in our world?
                            * What is the difference between chun-tzu and hsiao-jen?
                            * What is jen and how does this relate to the chun-tzu?
                            * What are the "Four Signs" in Buddhism and why were they important?
                            * AA (Alcoholics Anonyous) requires something discussed in the "Eightfold Path", what?
                            * Discuss the "Four Noble Truths" as the foundation of Buddhism
                            * How does following the "Eightfold Path", including meditation, lead to [Nirvana]?
                            * Discuss the "Five Precepts" and do you agree with any/all of them?
                            * What is the distinction between Karma and Dharma in eastern philosophy?

                            Chapter 3
                            * Evaluate the distinction between Sophos and Sophist, what are you? Why?
                            * Define Monism and Pluralism with respect to the existence of matter
                            * Evaluate Thales argument that water is the first principle of creation
                            * Evaluate the Principle of Sufficient Reason and how did Anaximander use this concept?
                            * What are the "six stuffs" of Empedocles and how do they constitute matter?
                            * Explain Parmenides concept of "Being" and his denial motion and change
                            * Define it pluralistic or monistic? Why?
                            * Define the Logos from the perspective of Heraclitus and what it means to you
                            * Discuss the distinction between appearance and reality in the pre-Socratic tradition

                            Chapter 4
                            * Define ethnocentrism as the Greeks understood this phenomenon
                            * Evaluate the expression, "Man is the Measure of all Things" (Protagoras)
                            * Define pragmatism from the perspective of the sophists
                            * Evaluate the Sophists treatment of truth and knowledge
                            * Evaluate the notion of "moral realism" and give examples in our own time
                            * Do you find the "Doctine of the Superior Individual" agreeable? Why/Why not?

                            Chapter 5
                            * How does the general character of Socrates relate to his philosophy?
                            * Was Socrates a sophist or sophos and why?
                            * What is the Socratic method or dialectic and how does it relate to knowledge?
                            * Evaluate the idea of Socratic ignorance and it's role in the history of western philosophy it * Do you agree with Socrates that no one knowingly does evil? Why/Why not?
                            * How did the death of Socrates relate to his philosophy?

                            Chapter 6
                            * What was Plato's disillusionment?
                            * Define Plato's epistemology (knowledge versus opinion)
                            * What was Plato's dualistic solution?
                            * How does Plato's theory of forms relate to knowledge?
                            * Evaluate the divided line analogy and the levels of information/opinion/ knowledge
                            * What are the parts of the soul and how does this relate to the divided line?
                            * How do the "Cardinal Virtues" relate to the divided line analogy?
                            * Evaluate Plato's critique of democracy. Do you agree? Why/Why not?

                            Chapter 7
                            * How would you define Naturalism? Are scientists considered naturalists today?
                            * How does the Aristotelian relationship between form and matter differ from Plato?
                            * How do the four causes of Aristotle relate to the hierarchy of knowledge?
                            * Define Entelechy and how this concept relates to your life
                            * How does character relate to habit and practical wisdom?
                            * Define Eudaimonia as expressed by Aristotle
                            * Define Sophrosyne or "Hitting the Mark" and give examples in your own life
                            * What is the main principle of the article from Time Magazine on "What Makes You Special" as it relates to Aristotle?

                            __________________________________________________ ________________________

                            I posted the above for effect. Many people here may recognize such a study guide from college. As you can see this is not a small amount of material to be finished for a Mid-Term exam. However this is not a multiple-choice test, this is an essay test. There were a number of short essays and four long essays that were going to be on this Mid-Term test. And we did not know which questions were going to be on the Mid-Term, so we had to memorize everything on the list above. This included each question above with at least three main points (to be able to write an essay on it). How about that for a lot of material? It’s from seven chapters in my book.

                            I could have crammed this whole review guide by using rote memory and studying, studying and studying. However, with mnemonics, Supermemo, Cornell Notes, Flash Cards and some tricks, it was much easier and I had a better grasp of the material and was less nervous during the test.

                            I will now explain some of the easier techniques I used to master the above material and how I did it. Please bear with me…

                            From above you will notice words like [Divine Agency] and [justified true belief]. The bracketed words are the ones that I highlighted with a pen highlighter on my paper review sheet. This created a link word, something I could grasp onto. It created a key word. Highlighted keywords are very important in Chapters, Sub-Chapters and exams, as you will see.

                            __________________________________________________ ________________________

                            For our example let’s use [Yin/Yang] from above. This is the process I used in memorize this one question.

                            1. I highlighted [Yin/Yang]
                            2. I created a mnemonic. Mine looked like this
                            Yin Yang
                            (smaller spelling) (larger spelling)
                            Negative Positive
                            Dark Light
                            Weak Strong

                            The mnemonic was (smaller/larger spelling) it was my hook to remember the different words to go along with Yin/Yang. Because Yin = smaller I associated it with “Weak, Dark, Negative”

                            3. I put this on a Flash Card because of the time factor. Otherwise, if I did have time I would have put it into Supermemo. For long term memory I always put it into Supermemo. Although, I am VERY careful in what material I put into Supermemo. Do I want to remember it forever? If the answer is "Yes" I put it into Supermemo. However I have put less important material into Supermemo and deleted it after the semester is over or Final Exams are completed.

                            __________________________________________________ _______

                            Let me do another example that is a story technique. Merely linking words to create a story. Let’s look at [Nirvana].

                            1. Highlight a key word, in this case [Nirvana].
                            2. My mnemonic is Kurt Cobane from the group Nirvana. This is the first thing that popped into my mind. It’s easy now.
                            3. The definition for Nirvana is essentially
                            Released ego
                            Guide for life
                            Meditation = deep mind
                            4. I merely saw Kurt Cobane dying, what did he do? He ‘released his ego’, it was a ‘guide for life’, and he was in a deep ‘Meditation’.

                            That’s it. Just create a story with a hook word. This is essentially all you need to do when reading. Just narrow it down to key words and phrases. In addition, make your answers key words in order to memorize them. Then create a story out of it.

                            Remember reading is also key when creating story-links. Because you have to link them together with other smaller details from your reading. You essentially make up your own smaller story with just the main points. Your story, your method.

                            __________________________________________________ _______

                            The acronym method. This is another powerful method in memorizing. I use it very frequently. An example…

                            The Four Noble Truths

                            1. To exist is to suffer
                            My acronym was “Elementary School” for the main words of Elementary = exist, and School = suffer.

                            2. Self centeredness is chief cause of suffering.
                            My acronym was Santa Clause. Santa = Self centeredness, and Clause = chief. Be sure not to confuse words, I didn’t.

                            3. Suffering can be understood and rooted out.
                            My acronym was Sigur Ros (the band)
                            Sigur = Suffering, and Ros = Rooted out

                            4. Suffering can be alleviated by following the Eightfold path.
                            My acronym was “Hourglasses lined up”. Hourglasses for me represent the number “8” because they look like the number “8”.

                            Now, from here I linked all of the objects together in my own little story. Visualize some event: Elementary school >> Santa Clause >> Sigur Ross >> Hourglass. I did this so I could remember their order. And from their order I could them remember the wordings for each individual object (Elementary School = To “exist” is to “suffer”).

                            I then put each one on a Flash Card and drew a picture for each one. Elementary school (draw picture) Santa Clause (draw picture) Sigur Ros (draw picture) Hourglass (draw picture). I find pictograms especially helpful in memorizing.

                            This is long and detailed but I assure you it only took me a few minutes to accomplish. A site I routinely use for acronyms is this one:


                            This is the exact site that I used to get acronyms to memorize “The Four Noble Truths”.

                            Remember reading is key to creating stories and doing Mid-Term exams with essay writing. Without the reading I would not have been able to fill in the details of the stories. The key words just jarred my memory and helped me with the overall facts. Very important.

                            Thousands of pages of books, not a problem! I use different techniques but combine them for an effective overall strategy. Practice, Practice, Practice.

                            Time managment is also important here. But why menmonics and memory tricks are important is because they can dramatically cut the amount of time it takes to memorize a subject, therefore increasing time management. Therefore making a happier life. Very important.


                            As a trick with Flashcards, I put the definition at the top, and then flip the card vertically and put the mnemonic/definition on the other side. That way when using flashcards, you merely flip the card and you can easily read the definition. Flip vertically, NOT horizontally. (Thanks to Barry Farber and his outstanding book "How to Learn any Language") Barry Farber said Flashcards are the most underused tool for learning. He was completely right. I use them all of the time! I do not see Supermemo replacing Flashcards only enhancing them. I see Supermemo as a "long-term" Flashcard. Regular Flashcards are portable and you can easily draw on them (pictograms). I have also found anytime I draw material out I find my memory increases. This goes for Supermemo as well. (Hint: Mathematics & Supermemo). Try this, put a Mathematical problem in Supermemo. And everytime you try to solve a repetition of the problem, write the problem out COMPLETELY. It's the best way to understand Math problems I have found. No doubt.

                            Also from the first post "Guest" I would not discount "Loci" I use it all the time and it is VERY powerful. You have to build up many "Loci" to have many lists but it is tremendously effective. I use long "Loci" and short "Loci" for different material. Longer or shorter material. Domonic O'Brien is a memory champion and his course in Quantum Memory goes through this. Do you believe Dominic O'Brien would have a problem memorizing your same school material? No way! He has proven himself over and over. Look on the internet for a story of where he was challenged to remember the Periodic Table of Elements. Not a problem. Everyone can do this, NOT just experts. I know from experience. It just takes practice. It took me a long time, no overnight miracles here. If you can take spring break off and hunker down and find a better formula than what you are using now. I believe the material I posted here can significantly help anyone in the same situation. All of the material I memorized above is simular to yours in it's alot of material to be memorized in a short time. In your case I would just amplifiy my formula to fit your demanding workload. However, with some added tricks that I use. I always modify my formula for different workloads. You have already asked the Questions, now you need to ask a few more and dig little deeper. You will always find the answers.

                            It's not all about memory, or memory "tricks". Some Getting Things Done philosophy will help here are well. Time management/Next Actions/Priorities/etc...

                            How to Learn any Language

                            P.S. jmarkey, I wanted to mention that my personal mnemonic for the number 49 is Joe Montana of the San Franscisco 49'ers. I always use it to remember the number 49. Cool huh? Great Stuff!

                            Arthur (now done)


                            • #15
                              Re: A test

                              Originally posted by arthur
                              P.S. jmarkey, I wanted to mention that my personal mnemonic for the number 49 is Joe Montana of the San Franscisco 49'ers. I always use it to remember the number 49. Cool huh? Great Stuff!
                              Way cool. No one is cooler than Joe.

                              Very informative post. This stuff really works.