The learning process differs from student to student; various strategies are used to capture the essence of a lecture or topic. Among the strategies used by students, annotation is one that is considered to be very effective. What is this technique, and how does it benefit the students?
What is annotation?
Annotation refers to highlighting and marking comments in the margins of an article.
What is the purpose of annotating?
Highlighting all the important material and translating it into your own words in the margins means you only have to read a chapter ONCE. Additional readings are a waste of time. When it comes time for an exam, you only need to study what you extracted as important: the highlighting and margin comments.
What is the first step in annotating?
Read the title and a paragraph or two to get an idea of the authors’ main point. Why was this article written? Once you know the authors’ purpose, it is easier to pick out the main ideas and important details.
How much should you highlight?
A general rule is to highlight between 25-30% of the page. If you are highlighting more, it is often too much, unless it is a highly detailed scientific article, for example. If you are highlighting less, chances are you are omitting important ideas.
How should you highlight?
NEVER highlight in complete sentences – that is “coloring”. You should highlight in “telegram” language – pretend you are paying by the word. Being selective forces you to think while highlighting, while daydreaming occurs when you are “coloring across lines”.
What is the purpose of marking in the margins?
You should write in the margins to explain the material in your own words. You probably will have to read some paragraphs several times before you understand them. Once you are able to translate the authors’ idea, you know you understand it. When it is time for an exam, simply study the highlighted and marked material. Of course, do not forget you also have important points in your notes.
How do you know if your annotation is done well?
You can check the highlighting by reading it back. While it will sound choppy, it should tell an understandable story to someone who did not do the reading. If it does not make sense, you have not highlighted the correct words.
How do you study your annotations?
•Put the facts on flashcards.
•Put a term on front and explanation on the back in LIST form, in PHRASES – Do not use sentences. Lists are easier to remember using word tricks called mnemonics.
Annotating is one of the most essential study skills in college. Although it will take longer to read something if you are annotating it, you have done the hard work up front. When an exam is announced and other students are scrambling to re-read the chapters, you will simply have to study your annotations!