Chapter Summaries

Do not (just) read

Enjoying a nice read

Photo by Adolfo FĂ©lix

When we were younger we spent a lot of time re-reading our notes, maybe with the occasional bit of highlighting. Turns out that although we felt like we were being good students, it wasn't the most effective approach. When learning information you must actively engage with the material if you want to really take it in. Just reading again and again is more passive, recognising information is not the same as retaining information.

This is why Zofoco is designed around the active approaches to learning with flashcards and question banks. However there is benefit to be gained from creating your own notes (to ensure you understand the concepts) then not just re-reading them but re-writing them. So we offer the functionality to,

  1. Add your own notes and attach tags to them for later lookup
  2. Practice re-writing your notes on the ScratchPad
  3. Color code your document as an extra visual cue for your memory

Tagging and adding

We cover the tagging strength of Zofoco elsewhere but, simply put, when you add a chapter summary you can easily attach tags to the chapter for easier lookup later.

After saving each chapter the input window steps onto the next chapter to be added or if you want to skip ahead you can go to a select chapter. These can all be edited later too.

Re-writing notes

As mentioned earlier, this is where you'll get the real benefit from your chapter summaries. Simply trying to remember what you just read and write it out again will significantly improve your retention. Think of it like closing your textbook and trying to remember what you just read. The harder it is, the more work is being done, the more benefit you will get - so don't avoid this because it's difficult. It won't be perfect retention every time, if it is you probably know it well enough to move on!

Zofoco includes a scratchpad alongside your chapter summaries so you can try re-writing your notes from memory as many times as you desire. The chapter summary will be hidden from view while you write then return when you're ready.

Color in

You may have spotted above that you also can choose different colors for you notes. This is partly to make the notes more visually appealing and partly because it may assist memory retention. If you have a color coding system we've given options of different pastels for your sheets. We added three colors we like but if you have a favorite color that you would like to see then get in touch and we may add it to future versions if there is enough demand.

More to come

So you can keep all your notes safely in the app if you like, the real strength of this approach comes from the tagging which we'll cover in more detail soon. You have the ability for a given tag to view all your questions and all your notes related to that tag in one place! More on that later.

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