When preparing for your move to patent law, it is crucial that you get the most out of your study time. But most students simply read the textbook and try to remember what they have read, which is not a very effective strategy. By most estimates, the average person forgets about 90% of what they read, so if you want to remember what you learn, you need a better way to study.
Luckily, there is a proven and effective note-taking technique that will help you remember most of what you learn. While this process does require a lot of work, it is virtually guaranteed to make the information stick in your brain.
Start with Emphasized Material
The first step begins before you even start reading. Before reading a chapter or section, start by looking at any pulled out material. Most of the critical information will usually be in one or more of those elements, so if you start by skimming through those, you will already have an excellent overall knowledge of the chapter or section before you read it.
This step is essential because it provides a structure for the information that you will be learning. By putting the structure in place before reading, you will be able to understand how the more delicate details all relate to each other, and it will provide more context for what you are about to learn.
Read the Chapter
Once you have skimmed the chapter, start back at the beginning and read it in more depth. Whenever you encounter an important piece of information, rephrase it in the form of a question and write down the answer.
For example, instead of saying that Franklin Roosevelt was the president when Pearl Harbor was attacked, write down, “Who was the President when Pearl Harbor was attacked?” Then underneath that, write Franklin Roosevelt as the answer. Do this for every important piece of information in the chapter.
Turn the Most Important Questions into Flashcards
Now that you have read the whole chapter or section and you have questions about all the key points pick out the most important ones, and turn them into flashcards.
Write your number next to each section. Then on each flashcard, write the number of the section where that question came from. You will need this information later.
Naturally, once you’ve created flashcards, the next step is to study them. But the key is to force yourself to get each one of them correct. As you go through the cards, anytime you get one wrong put it in a separate pile.
Once you have attempted all of the cards, shuffle the ones you missed and go back through them. But even when you go through them a second time, keep them all in a separate pile. The goal is to isolate the ones you didn’t get right the first time, so you will know what to focus on.
Review the Sections You Missed
Now that you have a pile of cards you didn’t get right the first time go through each one and re-read that section of the textbook again. This is why I suggested writing down which section of the book each flashcard came from. It will make this step a lot easier.
With this note-taking technique, you will remember more of what you learn and stand out from all your peers who simply read through their study materials and forgot most of it. Make sure you pass the patent bar exam by checking-out our free trial.