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The 8.5”x11” Notecard

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In college, I had a (now retired) professor who allowed us to use an 8.5”x11” notecard. “That’s literally a letter sized page”, I thought when I heard of this policy. Turns out it wasn’t a letter size page since we could use both sides of it. On top of that, we could scribble on any handout he gave us.

Being the lazy person I am, I was like “sweet, no need to study if I can just scribble an entire chapter of notes on the page”. Examining the textbook, I would take the time to ensure that what I put down made sense, ignoring all the elaborate explanations which wasted valuable space.

Come test time, I would come in smug at how I was able to game the system by cramming a notecard instead of actually learning. As I took the test, I wouldn’t actually use the notecard. The tests were too simple to ever need one. Once the results were out, I got high marks whenever I used the 8.5”x11” notecard.

Turns out he tricked me into studying.

In trying to condense the chapters notes into two-ish pages, I internalized what I learned, which I suspect is what the professor was going for when he let us use it.

So if you wanna effective way to prepare for a test or exam, make an 8.5”x11” notecard.