The most important thing about the outlining technique is that it helps us highlight the most important ideas, and there are several different procedures to do it.
You might think that outlining slows down your reading, and logically, it’s true, but it also helps you get a better comprehension, and it keeps you active during your reading.
Lastly, outlining is personal: you outline according to what you know and what you want. Two classmates can outline different things in the same subject, because, for example, one of them might know a lot about a subject, and so she outlines fewer words. than the one who doesn’t know about it.
Because of this, you shouldn’t study from texts that have been outlined by other people, and you shouldn’t outline texts that other people will use.
Outlining is about highlighting; highlight the points, ideas, details and important notes in the text, using a personal code (lines, highlights, signs, etc.).
When you have a limited amount of money to spend, you work according to a budget. In the same way, when you have a limited amount of time, you have to plan accordingly.
You make an economic budget so you don’t spend more than you should, or so that you make sure to only buy what you need. Allocating your time properly helps you to avoid wasting it, so you can do everything that’s important.
So, we need to make a timetable that should be:
In regards to interests, it’s really important to keep your eyes on the future so you can give special attention to those areas that are more closely related to subsequent subjects, depending also on the choices you make.
FIXED: Use the same place whenever it’s possible, because this can help you create a study habit.
PERSONAL: It must belong to you, and it must be decorated according to your taste. You must consider that your study table, and the immediate space around your studying area, shouldn’t have anything that’s not specifically related to studying. This includes elements that can have a sentimental value (trophies, pictures, posters). You might have to share your room, but try to find a personal space in a corner. It’s important that you have your own furniture.
ISOLATED: it should let you focus, and for that, you should avoid:
◘ Conversations and telephone calls during study hours. If you share the room, try to study at different hours from your roommate, or make an agreement to keep quiet during the scheduled studying hours. The human voice is the main source of distraction when studying.
◘ Music. It’s not advisable to listen to it during activities that require great concentration. It could be a convenient method to drown out distracting noise from outside, but it would have to be background music with a low volume and without ads. If there’s no outdoors noise, it’s better to study without music on. Of course, TV is forbidden, because it stimulates both hearing and sight.
◘ Outside noises. Choose, if you can, a quiet room, away from the living room, the TV, etc.
ORGANIZED: It must be organized in such a way that each object has a specific place, and you can quickly find it whenever you need it. This will save you lots of time when looking for books, notes and material. Another important thing here is to have all the necessary material ready and at hand, so you can better face your study session. Of course, when it’s over, you must put everything back in its place.
ILLUMINATION: Natural lighting is better than artificial lighting. Light should come from the opposite side of your writing hand, so it doesn’t create distracting shadows. Artificial lighting must follow that rule as well. Try for it to be well-distributed, neither too intense nor too weak, and of course, that it’s not directed directly into the student’s eyes. An articulated lamp with a 60W blue light bulb and other environmental lamps that illuminate the rest of the room are the most appropriate sources of artificial lighting, because they don’t create too much contrast.
VENTILATION: It’s important to circulate the air in the room with some frequency, because if we don’t, we can suffer the effects of bad ventilation: headaches, dizziness, general discomfort, tiredness, sleepiness… this will cause you to have a lower intellectual performance. Going out to get some fresh air is not enough, because it doesn’t get rid of the effects of bad ventilation. It’s necessary to get a good supply of clean air, and this is where breaks can be useful.
TEMPERATURE: Even though it’s not easy to control this factor, especially in the summer, it’s convenient to know that research suggests the ideal temperature for mental activity is around 17 and 22 ºC. Anything above or below these numbers can produce undesirable effects, especially during long periods of time. Cold makes you restless and nervous; heat makes you sleepy and inactive. So, both temperatures make concentration harder. An important thing to consider is that the room should have a homogenous temperature.
FURNITURE: It would be ideal to have a study table, a chair, and a closet-shelving to put books, folders and stationary. However, a table with enough space to place all the material comfortably, and a chair with a straight back should be enough when studying.