Five information organization strategies are discussed in this section: flash cards, running concept lists, matrices, webs, and hierarchies. Another organization aid, the geography formula, is covered in a separate section of this page.
Flash cards covering ideas and terms introduced in lecture or in the text are useful for organizing geography information. Several examples are provided here.
Running Concept Lists
Running concept lists covering ideas and terms introduced in lecture or in the text are useful for organizing geography information. An example is given below.
Geography Formula Strategy
The geography formula strategy (C. Krause, CAL) targets one's ability to effectively and efficiently organize content about a geographic place. The formula includes four key aspects about a geographic place: environment, culture, technology, and spatial interactions. Each of these is further subdivided.
LIFE IN A GIVEN PLACE = Environment + Culture + Technology + Spatial Interaction
When compiling the formula, one should thoughtfully consider this question: What features distinguish this place as a developed or underdeveloped region, and why? Characteristics that make the place one or the other may be written in different colored ink (e.g. developed features in red and underdeveloped features in blue).
An effective way to learn map information is to use color coding. For example, use highlighters or colored pencils to color countries in different colors to aid in learning - Russia in red, Poland in pink, Bosnia in blue, Yemen in yellow, Greece in green, and Latvia in lavender. As another example, put capital cities in red and other cities in another color.
Color coding also may be used to coordinate information (climate, language, landforms, customs, government, etc.) about particular regions. For instance, when studying Southeast Asian countries, important information may be written in blue ink for Thailand, in red ink for North Korea, in black ink for South Korea, in green ink for Cambodia, in purple ink for Laos, in pink ink for Malaysia, etc. If different colored inks are not available, highlighters may be used instead.
Making up and answering practice test questions is a very useful strategy in geography test preparation. Students may work individually or in groups at this task. First find out what types of questions will be asked on the exam: essay, multiple choice, fill-in, etc. Then consult the notes and book for possible questions. Look in the notes for major topics emphasized by the instructor. Terms and concepts covered both in class and the book are likely to appear on the test in some form. Try turning chapter headings and subheadings into questions. Look for practice questions at the end of each chapter or in workbooks accompanying the text.
Working with other students is an effective approach to compiling map information, identifying key terms, and composing and answering practice questions in preparation for geography exams.
Determine what is known and what is yet to be learned by self-testing before an exam. Flash cards or running concept lists may be used to this end. Work with other students in a study group to quiz each other on the material.
As soon as the test is distributed, dump on the back or in the margins of the test any information that may be forgotten or confused. This includes proper names, map sketches, terms and key words, dates, and statistics.