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Charlton's study tips

Using a whiteboard can help you effectively categorise and visualise your thoughts

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white board with person writing

My greatest study tip is slightly unorthodox, but for those studying humanities or social sciences, and particularly those doing large essays (particularly dissertations), I would recommend purchasing a large whiteboard and some coloured pens.

‘Why a whiteboard’ you may ask; ‘I already have a pen and paper, a laptop’ etc. etc… Yes – if you think a whiteboard is just for writing words, then you would be correct in saying you don’t need it. But the power of the whiteboard is visualisation. I used this technique when I was writing my history dissertation. At 9,000 words long, there was a lot going on – it's certainly a step up from your intro, 3 points and conclusion essays from first year. There are thousands of words of quotes, dozens of authors, and lots of interconnected ideas. 

The whiteboard allows you to effectively write down and categorise these – for this reason, the bigger the whiteboard the better. Instead of having lots of sheets, or lots of documents, where you can very easily miss things, or get overwhelmed by the sheer quantity, with a whiteboard you can effectively categorise and visualise the points, and then also the links between these points. This is also where the coloured pens come in, as it gives another dimension to the point-making and the link-drawing. The best way I found is to whack one of these on your wall, next to your desk or table where you’re writing your essay.  

Whenever you get lost in work, don’t open Twitter – turn left (or right?), and look at the board for instant clarity!


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