The more effort we put into recording a piece of information, the better the chances of retaining it. A study conducted at Princeton University in 2014 demonstrated this through a series of experiments. Students of a particular class were split up into two groups. The first group was made to take down notes in the old school method, using pen and paper. The second group was permitted to use laptops, tablets, etc. to take notes according to their convenience. Two observations were made by the researchers.
The first one was that the second group took down more notes. The second observation surprised everyone- the first group, who had lesser notes when compared to the second group, performed twice as well in all the tests, even surprise tests.
The result is not as surprising as it seems if one takes into account the effort the first group put into taking down each piece of information. This proves that it is not the amount of information we expose ourselves to, but how much effort we put into it that matters.
If practiced, the effort rule can transform the way we manage large chunks of information. It can help us study and prepare for examinations more effectively.
The technique is to always carry a pocket-size notebook, and make the effort to note down information we want to remember, as and when we come across it.