EAsy revision: Summary sheets
Do you ever look at a topic you need to learn and think that the amount of information there is is too much and you will never be able to learn it? Creating one piece of paper which summaries a whole topic can be a very satisfying thing to do because it shows that what might have seemed like an overwhelming amount of information isn’t actually so big if you just focus on the most important parts of it.
What are summary sheets?
Summary sheets are basically what they say they are – sheets of paper which summarise a whole topic or module. They just focus on the most important pieces of information such as key words, key dates etc.. They tend to use bullet points rather than long sentences as this makes the information more condensed. If you are a quite a visual learner like I am then you might also like to use different colours and pictures to make it more interesting to look at and to help you to remember the information.
Why use summary sheets for revision?
Summary sheets are a really useful method to use if you are feeling a bit overwhelmed by the amount of information you have to learn. This can happen easily when you have a folder full of notes and a text book full of more information and you just don’t really know where to start with learning it all. By making a summary sheet you can just focus on the most important bits of information and once you have learnt them you can consider learning a few more detailed bits of information which should feel more manageable. The actual process of making a summary sheet is also very helpful for revision. This is because it forces you to look at the ‘big picture’ of a particular topic and focus on the most important parts rather than worrying about very last little detail. By doing this you will need to think about the information you are summarising which should help you to remember it.
What sort of information are they good for?
Summary sheets can be used for any type of information really – every topic you study should be able to be summarised into key points! They can be used to summarise different theories or different historical periods for example.
How to make a summary sheet
To make a summary sheet you will need a piece of paper (A4 might be good) and a selection of coloured pens (although you could just use one colour if you prefer, I just like to make my notes quite colourful…). You will also need your notes/ textbook. Start by deciding what you want to summarise, you need to pick a topic that is big enough that it will require quite a bit of condensing (there isn’t really any point if it will just end up being a copy of your notes) but not so big it is unmanageable… That is quite vague because it will depend on what you want to do but think about what chapters/ sections your textbooks are divided into and see if that seems like a suitable amount of information. For example in psychology you could create a summary sheet for different topics such as attachment, memory, perception etc.
Once you have decided on a topic write a title on the paper and start to summarise the information. You want to make sure that it is clearly laid out (for example in different boxes or with subheadings). Focus on only writing the really important information down. For example if we were making a summary sheet of attachment we could have a section for key words, key theories, and key studies and use bullet points to make very brief notes under these headings. Remember – you can still refer back to your notes/ textbook if needed so you don’t need to write everything down! So under key studies, you could list a few studies and just have a really short sentence on what they did, what they found and a few words of evaluation if you need to know that. But you wouldn’t necessarily need to go into detail about the amount of participants they had, a step-by-step procedure, or every last little finding they had if that isn’t relevant. Using highlighters/ coloured pens to make key bits of information stand out is also helpful and using pictures/ diagrams might also be useful if they would be relevant to the topic.
I hope you have found this helpful – leave a comment to let me know if summary sheets are something you have used for revision in the past 🙂