The need to save time is generally a priority for many students, especially around exam period. In between exams, you will not find the time to do resumes, or sift through piles of pages and books to find the essential information to study. This is why highlighters are so important.
Yes this seems like quite an obvious tip, but I was so surprised when a recent study group session showed me that there are lots of students who just don’t realise the benefit of using highlighters.
I use mine on a daily basis, normally just in class. I listen to the lecture and highlight the information that the lecturer has deemed important enough to spend time explaining.
Yes, quite often it feels like this technique doesn’t save you that much time when you’re reviewing the pages among pages of highlighted information and notes, however it will have. Something as simple as not highlighting examples can save you more time than you think.
Most teachers will give several examples to help understand a certain process or theory. Quite often they explain that these examples will not be coming up in the exam and that they are just there to make comprehending the topic a little bit easier. Although a month later, when you’re revising for the exam, you might not remember the lecturer having said this and spend more time than is necessary trying to memorise something that isn’t essential to your course, all because you didn’t use a highlighter.
This is the sort of thing that happened to a friend of mine recently. She called me the night before a physiology exam, stressed beyond measure because she was finding it impossible to remember all the little details in a table in the professor’s hand outs. This table was impossible; it would have been like trying to memorise the phone book and yet my friend had spent hours trying to do just that. I explained to her that we didn’t need to know all the information in the table, that it was there simply to give us detailed examples on the chapter. All this I knew because of my use of a highlighter. When she found this out, obviously she was annoyed, having wasted hours of study time.
Moral of the story: everyone has highlighting needs!