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Revision: Note Condensing

One of the most common types of questions asked to their peers and their own tutor is what is the best method they could use to revise. It can be difficult and easy to ¬†answer at the same time. There is a common method many students use to revise which is simply to go over the notes they have made throughout the course, others create mind maps, use flash cards and other types of learning. However, if you’re the type of person that is looking for another way to revise material for an upcoming exam, then this post could be your answer.

You might have heard about this before, you might have even tried it. Condensing is a method used to turn pages and pages of information into manageable bitesize chucks which often filters out all the irrelevant stuff and allows you concentrate on the more important information you’ll be tested on. One of the ways this technique is achaieved is by using bullet points, numbered lists or simply sometimes trigger words. This format is to-the-point and not padded with extra sentences- sometimes it doesn’t even need to form complete sentences, but that depends on exactly how far you want to go with this condensing technique.

Here’s an example

Original text: Harry et al (1997) carried out an experiment to find out if alcohol consumption affected memory performance. He found out that the more alcohol you consume, the worse the memory get as a result.

The above sentence makes perfect sense, its to the point, but also has a lot of words padding it. Although some of you might use this is a condensed version, you can in fact take this is break it down further. Here’s how you might see it in condensed form:

Condensed text:

  • Harry et al (1997)
  • Alcohol and memory performance
  • More alcohol, worse memory

As you can see from the above, it has fewer words, but the words serve as a trigger to the original sentence. Of course you would have had to read the original sentence to come up with this, but as you will be condensing your notes, you’ll be reading through and somewhat remembering bits and pieces as you go along.

From the above example, after reading it, I immediately remember about the experiment between alcohol and memory, I remember that Harry was find the relationship between the two. The next bullet point tells me the results in 4 words. Its as simple as that.

It can work with paragraphs too, just extract the key information and put it into bullet point, or number form.

Give it a go!

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