“Work smarter… not harder”

3 Stellar Study Tips

We all are unique creatures, and so is the way we learn; therefore, to master our academic performances, we need to identify our study best fit first.

Inspired by Allen F. Morgenstern’s famous quote “work smarter… not harder”, in this article, we will analyze three strategic study techniques to help you pursue your goals most effectively: Cornell Notes, Mind Maps, and Mind Palace.


Taking notes is vital for the learning process; however, scheme-free notes may not be as effective as expected. On the other hand, students who rely on Cornell Notes® as their study tool retain 90% to 100% of what they have learned.

Cornell Notes® Preparation

  1. Paper set up 📝
    • Heading in the top right corner (Name, Subject, Period, Date)
    • Write an essential question to express the topic of the lecture
    • Fold 1/3 of the left-hand side of the paper for your questions; you may also draw a vertical line

2) Taking notes ✍🏼

    • Write your notes on the right-hand side of the paper
    • Use abbreviated words
    • Include symbols, diagrams, or pictures
    • Skip at least 2 lines between each topic

3) Apply Your Thinking 💭

    • After 24 hours, review your notes and complete them with the related questions, placing them on the left-hand side of the paper

4) Revise Your Notes 🙇🏼‍♂️

    • Review your notes and add details or information you may have missed
    • This activity can be done in pairs

5) Reflection 🤔

    • At the bottom of the page, write a summary of your notes

6) Review 🙇🏽‍♀️

    • Fold the paper so that only the questions are visible, but not your notes
    • Quiz yourself or work in pair

Check out below what Cornell Notes® may look like.

Source: https://www.wordtemplatesonline.net/free-cornell-note-templates/#google_vignette



Conceived in the ‘70s by the British psychologist and author Tony Buzan, Mind Maps® have become a leading study tool thanks to its efficiency and versatility. They uniquely harness the full range of cortical skills – word, number, color, image, rhythm, and spatial awareness. As a result, they allow the freedom to roam the infinite expanses of the brain.

Mind Maps® hold a hierarchical-associative structure that branches out like a tree that develops from a central element toward the outside.

How to carry out a Mind Map® 

  1. 🎯 Identify the central element or idea and draw an oval around it
  2. 🌱 Draw out thicker branches on which you write the primary keywords connected to the central element. You can expand this process to sub-categories by using thinner branches
  3. 🔑 Link the keywords to essential images/symbols, easy to remember and decode
  4. 🟣 Use as many colors as you need to organize your development
  5. 🟧 Divide the map into quadrants and start repeating aloud from the top left corner clockwise

Have a look at what a handwritten Mind Map® may look like.

Source: https://www.tonybuzan.edu.sg/about/mind-maps/ 

Handwritten Mind Maps® enhance the sinking in of the learning; however, if you are a true tech-savvy, you may express your creativity with the following software iMindMap or Coggle.


Also known as the method of loci, the Mind Palace® is a technique of remembering that associates information to objects placed inside an imaginary room or building. In essence, the concepts to be remembered are attached to objects, organized in a specific sequence.

How to apply the Mind Palace® technique

  1. 🏠 Select a familiar environment (e.g., your bedroom)
  2. 🛏 Identify furniture items as points of interest (e.g., the bed, the desk, the chair) and their sequence
  3. 🖼 Turn the info into a visual image
  4. ↔️ Match each point of interest with information that you have turned into a visual image
  5. 📖 Create a story by connecting the different images

Check out below a possible Mind Palace® process.

Source: https://www.wikihow.com/Build-a-Memory-Palace   


The proposed study tools are equally valuable and efficacious.

Please, share with us your feedback once you have experienced one or more of the suggested tips! And remember, if you need additional study support, our outstanding IB tutors are just one click away 🙃.