Share your workflow and tips & tricks

What is your workflow for studying in MarginNote? How do you use margins, tags, flashcards etc.? What tips, tricks or shortcuts do you use to make studying more efficient? Share it here so that we can learn from each other.

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I find it more efficient to focus on highlighting text when first going through a text.

Then, at a later time I will organise my highlights into notes by merging them together and using the ‘As Title’ button to quickly label a note with some text that has been selected.

I’ll then arrange these notes in a mindmap as I see fit.

A side benefit is that going through material in different ways helps with deepening learning.

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That sounds like a good strategy. How do you review your notes after you’ve made a mindmap? I struggling with coming up with an effective revision strategy. Simply re-reading mindmaps doesn’t seem efficient. I am currently experimenting with flashcard feature.

One of the best things is that the mindmap hierarchy automatically generates an outline for you (that’s kind of what mindmaps are, just visualized). So if you keep your mindmaps well organized, via auto-add-to-mindmap when highlighting, it essentially creates a nifty outline of everything for you, that you can review quickly.

Tags and highlighting also allows for an amazing filter in both the outline mode, and in the mindmap. I find it very useful when I highlight certain nodes red for questions, and and filter for those specific red items, in outline mode, when reviewing

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I would really like to see more responses here, more tips are always welcome.

One of my biggest change after watching “Learning about Learning” (#1 course on coursera) is my extensive usage of “active recalling” to learn new things . I have been using anki for this process for more than a year on anything I deem worthy remembering, from tech books to psychology books to Chinese poetry to English words, and now I’m experimenting with MN for better digestion (or “incremental reading”, whatever you call it) of books.

This method consists of two standard steps:

  1. create flash cards out of the original material
  2. review the flash cards with SRS (spaced-repetition software)

Most people doesn’t take step 1 seriously, but it’s indeed at least as important as step 2 because cards are the sources for reviews thus “garbage in, garbage out”. Also the process of creating cards is the initial review process - you have to know the material to a certain extent so you can create cloze etc. out of it.

After a while of playing with MN’s flashcard feature I think it’s very powerful:

  1. it can create graph cloze very easily.
  2. it supports going back to the excerpt of the document from which the card is created

I haven’t used it that long so I’m not sure how MN’s flashcard review algorithm works well or not. Anki has an excellent algorithm based on Supermemo’s exponential decay memory formula. But I do believe even a basic implementation would suffice for most of people.

BTW, currently my biggest PITA about integrating MN with anki is described in the Chinese user forum: https://cforum.marginnote.com/t/topic/919

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Considering the developer team and half of users are Chinese, I would like to share some Chinese resources from my another answer. Hope they can help you a bit though with the language barrier.

My suggestion would be, if you intend to use the flashcards (and you should), be careful what kind of notes/extracts you create otherwise you’ll be in a world of hurt when it comes to cleaning up flashcards. MN3 just doesn’t let you modify the flashcards easily.

So:

  1. Start titling your extracts with questions (unless the highligtht is a good candidate for Cloze)
  2. Prefer short extracts that could serve as the back of a single card, answering the exact question you used in the title. Big merged notes can be handy on the mind map but they make horrible flashcards.

Trying to split and add questions later is painful.

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Thats exactly my problem… without a title in the card created from an extract I will always have the excerpt on the front section as well. As the extract is supposed to be the answer, it’s not really serving the purpose anymore. I think I will create my Anki cards out of liquid text now, because I don’t get it in MN3 and I don’t have enough time left…

How are you going to do that? Last time I checked LiquidText didn’t have Anki export (or I missed it)

Titling isn’t TOO bad if you do it when you are creating the extract. I tap on the highlight, hit edit and type it in real quick, it’s under 10 seconds or so. It’s very time consuming if you have to go back and redo bunch of cards, at least on the iPad. At that point I’d do the editing in Anki. That’s fast enough for just adding titles, but if you need to edit the back as well, you frequently need to create new cards, which is slow.

That’s why I strongly recommend taking care when creating the extracts. I hope in the future MN3 will give us better options to split extracts into multiple flashcards and edit flashcards without modifying the extract, or at least an option to hide extracts.