Everyone has seen that student that arrives with an array of uniquely colored pens, maybe you even are that student. Are they on to something? Or is that person just out to cover the desk?
Color can be extremely useful in a learning environment; this student is definitely on to something. You don’t need 3 rainbows to reap the benefits, but incorporating color into your prep could boost your mood, your score, and the amount you retain.
Humans notice color before anything else; we respond to light. Colors are an integral part of design, advertising, diet, fashion; they are everywhere! We use red to indicate caution, green to represent nature, blue for water – the connections are endless.
Here are a few ways you can integrate the rainbow into your study time:
- Color coding topics. Keeping all topics or related information the same color will improve your memory and form associations between facts. A pro tip is to color code after you’ve taken notes on a topic. This forces you to revisit what you’ve written (allowing a second opportunity to process the information) and a pause while you decide the right category.
- Be consistent! If you’re trying to use colors to remember things it’s important to remain consistent. It may seem obvious, but stick to a pattern.
- Keep the number of colors to a minimum. The idea here is to make things easier for yourself, not harder. 3x Rainbows won’t equate to much if you spend more time trying to remember which color goes where instead of actually focusing on the material. Typically, people find 3-5 colors is the most helpful.
- Vary your supplies! Just because you’ve picked 3-5 colors doesn’t mean you can’t highlight in pink and have a pen for pink.
- Use only for critical information. You have so much to learn for this exam, but some aspects are more important than others. Select information highlighted in the INBDE videos and practice questions. Color code the information that is likely going to be on the exam, and that you have trouble with. You don’t need another distraction.
- Color selection! We already have generic ways that react to colors, so don’t be afraid to use an established framework!
- Red: For things that are important (emergencies, stop signs, alerts)
- Orange: For things that more comfortable. (sunlight, orange juice, fires)
- Yellow: Optimistic and attention. (Post it notes, flowers, Sunny side)
- Green: Harmony, balance, easier on the eyes. (nature, mint)
- Blue: Cool, calm, organized (ocean, water)
- Purple: Creative, royalty, fashionable (love, high end fashion, flowers)
So go grab some markers and do a colorful review of your notes thus far! Feel free to send any photos of your artwork to B&B so we can post them to our website!
Written by Dr. Kerri Lyons