Skip to main content

The Ideal Note Card

Ideal notes will include many strategies successful in learning and remembering main ideas and important details. The Ideal notes have the following characteristics:

  1. Easy to Organize.
  2. Quick to review so saves time.
  3. Speeds, not impedes learning..
  4. Contains source page numbers/lecture dates for main ideas & details.
  5. Has multiple details in easier-to-remember numbered lists.
  6. Contains visuals such as charts, sketches, & diagrams to aid recall.
  7. Includes memory enhancing mnemonics.
  8. Promotes the all-important self-testing.

One note organization format that meets all 8 of the above criteria is the Notecard Questions and Answer Technique (NQAT). Below are examples of ideal notecards for different college courses. Use these models to set-up notecards properly for self-testing.

Once notecards have been set up properly, a student may now self-test to discover what has been learned and what has not yet been learned when something can still be done about it.

To self-test and speed the learning of information on the notecards, follow the steps below:

  1. Read a question aloud or look at the problem on the notecard.
  2. Then without looking, recite an answer aloud as if lecturing a class as best you can from memory. Those who have discovered that writing answers enhances learning and recall are encouraged to do so. If you have problems and solutions on notecards, write out a solution on scrap paper from memory after looking only at the problem.
  3. When you “think” you have the correct answer or as much as you can remember, turn the notecard over and check for completeness and accuracy of your answer or solution.
  4. If your answer was complete and accurate, place the notecard in the “I know this” pile and move on to the next notecard.
  5. If your answer or solution was not complete and accurate, reread the answer aloud as many times as necessary until you “think” you have it. Then turn the card over and read the question aloud or view the problem, again. Recite aloud or write the answer again from memory and then turn the card over and check your answer. Keep repeating this step until you get the answer correct from memory and then place that notecard in the “I don’t know this, yet” pile. Then, move on to the next notecard.
  6. Review the “I don’t know this pile” once every 2 to 3 days to promote learning. Review the “I know this” pile every 3 days or so to check for learning and prevent forgetting.

As the number of times increases that you review and recite your notecards, more and more of the cards will transfer to the “I know this” pipe and you will see progress in learning. When you use this technique properly, you discover what you have learned and what you have not yet learned before a test when you can still do something about it. Regularly reciting aloud information to be learned is THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP in preventing Forgetting.

Back to Top