3 Steps To Manage The Sources Of The Study

Textbooks, manuals, supplementary texts, atlases, transcripts, codes, notes, diagrams, summaries, slides, handouts, forums, blogs, posts, abstracts, articles, videos, recordings, video lessons, audiobooks…

But what is going on? Where did the good old book to study from, which one prepares well and then presents for the exam serene

In recent years, the resources available to students have multiplied as far as the eye can see, as have the opportunities. At the same time, teaching has also changed, has been enriched, and has begun to exploit the potential of digital technology to produce supports, aids, and supplementary materials, and let’s not forget professional writing services helping learners achieve their academic goals like a custom term paper writing service.

Students who do not know where to start, who spend whole days trying to bring order, who go back and get lost in a labyrinth of readings and re-readings from different sources.

So today, in this article, we simplify and establish order, with a few precise steps to manage the sources of study.

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Collect Sources

Okay, first we need to collect the sources and classify them. I advise you to do this work at the level of the entire subject you have to prepare for, of the entire exam.

Start like this: prepare a bulleted list with all the possible sources that you have available in the order in which they come to mind, write them down without evaluating them yet and without giving them an order.

We can use this list as an example:

  • I have two textbooks that are part of the official exam program;
  • I have my notes taken in class;
  • There is a YouTube channel that I follow that explains some of the exam topics very well;
  • The prof has uploaded the slides of the course on the portal and I can download them;
  • There are the recorded video lessons that I could relate to;
  • I could search online for explanations from other sites;

So, we are at six potential sources.

Once this list of sources has been created, it is advisable to note the length of each of them, expressed in pages or in minutes in the case of videos (these data will also be useful in the various stages of planning).

At this point, you have a rough idea and you can move on to the next step.

Skim The Sources

It’s time to get serious about ordering.

The first thing to do is to rank these sources in order of importance. I advise you to work based on 4 parameters:

  • The completeness in the explanation;
  • The quality and care in the content;
  • Clarity of presentation and ease of consultation;
  • The relevance for the purposes of your examination (because perhaps it is a very complete, qualitative, and very clear source, but it covers topics that do not interest us or are not part of the program);

Here, based on these parameters, classify your sources into three levels:

  • Primary sources, that is, the most complete, qualitative, clear, and relevant sources, which contain most if not all the contents we need, and on which our preparation can be based;
  • Secondary sources, that is, those that perhaps have useful and clarifying elements but are not in themselves very complete and cannot be enough on their own;
  • Tertiary sources, that is, the really extra ones, which you could take advantage of if you really wanted to.

Hierarchize The Sources

The third stage is where you will actually determine how to manage your sources.

If you are extremely lucky, there is only one source in the primary source category. A beautiful complete book, phenomenal notes, very complete handouts … ah, how wonderful!

In this an idyllic case, all you have to do is proceed like this: base your planning and study on that single primary source and, topic by topic, check the secondary sources to see if you are missing something, if there are any additions to be made or any points of view that are worth considering, or that can help you clear even more complex and difficult points.

But what happens if, as in our example, we do not live in a utopia and there is no single primary source? Here we find ourselves with an essential book, but which on some topics is a bit incomplete, and with excellent notes but on which we are uncertain for some passages. What to do?

We move on to evaluate everything topic by topic. The matter is divided into blocks that actually constitute the units of topics that are addressed, and for each of those topics, the primary source is chosen.

Ultimately, we need to arrive at a single primary source for each topic, so we need to evaluate and weigh it carefully.


Very well, I would say that then we should have managed to put some order, to always and in any case arrive at a single, single primary source for each subject of study, without too many doubts and wasting time.

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