As a full-time student, I’m a pretty active user of the Lix app. I made the switch to digital textbooks over a year ago, initially just to ditch my physical textbooks. But over time, I realized that there were some cool features the app offered that made studying a lot easier.
Since I know not everyone spends as much time as me with the app, I wanted to share a few pointers on how you can make the most of these features to improve your studies.
I was never that guy. You know, the one who would spend hours organizing sticky notes with different colors and a highlighting system. Had you asked me a year ago, I would have said it was a colossal waste of time. But truth be told, I’ve changed my mind, since there may actually be some serious science backing this (method) up.
Research shows that color improves recall time on graphs and charts and can be an important performance factor (meaning a measure of how well you performed a task. Of course, that in itself doesn’t explain a lot about why I no longer think it’s such a time-suck (or why you should care). Thing is, it’s not the colors themselves that are important, but how you use the colors to improve your comprehension and memory.
I’ve developed a system that I use for pretty much all my reading. What I generally do is that I use different colored highlights for certain parts of the text:
- Yellow = Main points of the text
- Blue = Important terms (subject terms)
- Green = Important people, dates or locations
- Red = Things I don’t really understand
Why do I do this? Well, first off, it promotes active reading since you’re forced to reflect on fitting your highlights into the different categories. So instead of treating the entire text as one big blurb, you’re actively segmenting it, which in turn boosts comprehension—a lot.
Secondly, since I only study with ebooks, it makes sense to make full use of the highlights feature in the Lix app. Every time I’ve completed a reading session, I start by looking at all the red highlights (things I didn’t understand). Most of the time, I end up clearing them up after seeing them a second time, and then I can simply remove them again. If the text was very dense or difficult, I also prefer to quickly look through the yellow highlights (main points of the text).
You can create different colored highlights in Lix
However, the best reason for doing it this way is because it helps make reviewing so much easier. When studying for an exam, you’ve already categorized your curriculum into different important categories. When I’m in revision mode, I usually start off by going through all of my yellow highlights for each chapter. That way, I can quickly summarize in my head. Afterwards, I make sure I have no red highlights left before I start looking at the rest of the highlights. If, for example, I see a highlight of person (blue) that I can’t remember, I click on it and read the surrounding text.
All your notes in one place
When I first started using Lix, I would still grab a piece of paper and jot down notes whenever I came across something interesting. I quickly realized how unsustainable that was. It’s incredibly annoying to pick up a pencil and notebook every time you need to read something. What happens when you don’t have them nearby? This would happen to me all the time, so I would just pick up random scraps and start scribbling.
As you might have guessed, not much time passed before I had several notebooks and loose papers scattered around. During the semester, it’s not much of a problem, because honestly, how often do you look at your old notes? However, when exams start approaching, sh*t hits the fan and thus begins the countdown.
Desperately scouring through crumpled, semi-legible papers for old notes on a chapter is not really the definition of fun during finals.
I did not want to go through all that stress ever again.
So now, I try to do everything in the app, including chapter exercises. I just use the notes feature and write down what I deem necessary while reading. The app offers a nice overview of your notes for revision. If you’re not on the app, you can also log in to your profile on lix.com and check your notes under “My Books”.
Some exercises and tasks are too complex to write as a note in Lix. If that’s the case, I use Google Docs or OneNote and put the share link in a note. This makes it so much easier to keep track of which assignments are related to specific books or concepts.
Search is a life-saver
It can be extremely annoying to struggle to remember what you read in which book. Or where in your book that specific reference you’re looking for is. Luckily Lix actually allows you to search all your books at once or through individual books instantly.
You can search through all your books simultaneously with Lix
This is obviously great if you’re writing a larger assignment based on the courses you’ve had previously. Instead of frantically searching through all your 1st-year textbooks, you can just type in the keyword you’re looking for directly in the search bar on your bookshelf. You’ll get the full overview of which books the keyword appears in and jump directly to the surrounding text.
No other search methods have really held up against being able to look for exactly what I need and filter out all the noise and irrelevant results that you get when you go the wide search route. Lix has made it so much easier to find exactly what I need to breeze through assignments and study sessions. Completely without distractions or being pulled into the inescapable rabbit hole that is YouTube.
The team here is always working on adding new features that will make your study experience easier, more fun, and simply better. Do you have any ideas for a cool feature you’d like to see added on Lix? Share it in the comments below!