Effective Study with the Study Scrapbook
Scrap booking as a hobby is all the rage these days. Go to any department store and many supermarkets, and you’ll find whole aisles or half-aisled devoted to scrap-booking. Hobby stores, likewise, have caught onto the trend and started stocking scrapbooks, dividers, and stickers for making the best memory books. There are even scrap-bookers clubs popping up in cities across North America.
Here’s an idea, though, that maybe you’ve never considered: As part of your study time, begin developing a study scrapbook. A study scrapbook is an album that, throughout the period that you’re taking a course, you stock with things that will help you grasp the material better. We’re talking about copies of pages from books, charts, graphs, articles that relate to the material, and more. Let’s explain what you need in order to create your own study scrapbook, and how to best use it to improve your performance in your course or courses.
We start, of course, with the basic materials. You’ll need a scrapbook–which resembles a photo album, and as we said, is available at almost any good department store. The thickness and number of pages will depend on a couple of factors. First, are you a college student, with several courses–or do you just have one class that you’re taking? The fewer classes you have, the smaller you’ll need. If you have several courses, you’ll need either a pretty thick album or one smaller one for each course. Also important will be how much information is covered during the course. Again, the more that you cover, the more space you’ll need.
You also need some dividers, so you can separate your album into several sections. There are borders available to put articles and photos on. This is purely aesthetic, but the better looking the album is, the easier it’ll be to commit things to memory, so it’s good to make it spiffy looking. For the same reason, feel free to get some decorative stickers and stick-on letters.
Here’s how to use your album now that you have the materials. Remember that is not to replace your notebook; it complements it. As you go through your course, there will often be hand-outs that your instructor will give you to help illustrate certain concepts. While you could put this in your notebook, the idea behind a study scrapbook is to emphasize points and help you memorize them through quick visuals. So visual-oriented handouts should go in the scrapbook.
Sometimes you’ll find articles in magazines or newspapers that help you understand something you’re studying. Let’s say, for instance, that you’re studying the body’s respiratory system. A NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC article might be the perfect companion piece, and you can stick that in your study scrapbook. Along with it, write up a description of what the page is about and the principle that you’re studying which this page helps to illustrate.
Tables and charts are perfect candidates for inclusion in the scrapbook. Example: You’re studying a math course where you have to learn certain formulas. Something as simple as the multiplication tables or as complex as the Pythagorian Theorem are often illustrated on charts and should be included.
Remember to put a divider in front of every new topic in your scrapbook. A good reference point would be a new unit, following your most recent test. So if, after the last test, you’re starting a unit on World War I, you’ll have a World War I divider. In this particular example, maps of key battles could be included as part of the section.
Most of us are visual learners. Inclusion of a study scrapbook like this will help you take advantage of visual media to better learn the material in your course.
About the Author Brian is a writer and web developer living in Victoria BC. He has a BA in Economics and an MA in Psychology. Brian has written and published widely on education, testing, psychology and popular culture.