Printables, Study

Binder Index Printable: Study Better & Organize Old Course Material

Staying organized isn’t only FUN, but it PAYS OFF, too!

I’ve always thought it more important to study SMART, not just HARD, and one of the ways I make sure I can do that is by staying organized in all of my courses. I use my Bullet Journal to track tasks. For my notes, I keep coming back to either:

  • Cornell system of handwritten notes
  • Typed, concise summary notes that I print and highlight

(Speaking of which: I’m looking forward to sharing with you how I take both of these kinds of notes! It’s a big post though, so bear with me as I try to find the time for it.)

As for the notes and all the course material itself, I’ve got a simple method to keep everything organized in their binders!


Yep, each one of my courses has its own binder. It is, in my opinion, the most organized method of storing related notes and handouts together. Of course, it can get annoying to carry four binders to and from school, so I often keep the latest notes in a separate binder with one tab per class, and migrate those notes back to the parent binders when they’re no longer immediately needed in my classes. More on that later.

So, what’s the secret? The answer lies in what all of these binders have in common (besides their gorgeous stylized cover pages)… AN INDEX!

(Want to print your own? Click on the image below!)

Click on the image to download your very own printable PDF Index template!

I’ve never been an Index girl, myself. I find it terribly tedious to log everything constantly. Plus, what happens if something moves around? It doesn’t seem worth it…

BUT IT IS!


Mathematics

For a subject such as math, I only index every once in a while. There’s no risk that things will move around, because each unit stands alone and thus gets its very own tab.

Taking a little bit of time every couple of months is SO worth it. Here’s why:

  • Creating the index encourages you to briefly skim what you’ve learned so far, even if the exam is a long way off. Doing this will prevent you from completely forgetting what you learned at the start of the course.
  • At the end of the course, you’ve got an entire syllabus of everything you’ve learned. This is helpful in so many ways.
    • When studying for an exam, you can:
      • Check off the material you understand and star that which you need to review
      • Create lists of difficult questions or track which review questions you’ve finished
  • A year after you’ve FINISHED the course completely, if you ever need to review a concept you learned that’s relevant in another course you’re taking, you have an self-made index that you can refer to!
  • Aaand… if someone else ever borrows your notes, it’s easy for them to find things, too!


A Math-Related Side-Note

If you’re studying math or another course where you need to track your homework questions, check out my other printable Homework Tracker!

If you’re taking Standard Level International Baccalaureate Mathematics like me, check out the page of resources I’ve created! I’m sure you’ll find something helpful there!


Accounting

I never kept an index throughout my accounting class. When the course was over, however, and I was about to throw my binder on the bottom shelf of my old course material bookshelf, I decided to create an index just to keep things organized. And boy, am I glad I did!

Since the Accounting course I took was an introductory one, I know my next Accounting course will be building off of what I learned in this one. This means that keeping my binder organized will make it easier when it comes time to review concepts from a year ago that I’ll have completely forgotten. Besides, if I ever need to refer to something specific, say… how to make an income statement, I can! Check it out:

It’s all in the Index! Plus, the template I’ve created is made to be versatile. Unlike for my math course, I’ve written down what tabs each topic is in on the leftmost column. In this case, I’ve got to look under tab 4.

P.S. You can tell I was way more messy with my Accounting index than with my math index. It’s just an archival index, so it’s not as important to me as my math one, which I use for keeping track of many things regarding my progress in the course.

And.. here is the section about the Income Statement in my notes! Easy peasy!


English

English is definitely an odd one to have an index for. Things are ALWAYS moving in and out and around the binder. Like with Accounting, I didn’t maintain an index during the course. But since it’s an IB course, I’m continuing it next year, so I definitely want to keep things organized.

I decided to organize my information by stage. My English class was largely based on assignments (whatever notes I did take, I kept in my English journal notebook, not my binder). But I still want someplace to keep the final assignments, the teachers’ comments, and my research and drafts. The binder tabs are divided by those categories.

So, the index is helpful because I can write down the topic or assignment, and keep track of where each component of it is stored in the binder. For example, for my essay on the book “Mad Shadows” called “The Hereditary Sickness”, the notes are in tab 5 and the assignment itself along with teacher comments is in tab 1!

We’ll see if this is practical for the second part of this course, but for now since it’s in “archival mode”, I like it!


Economics

This is a course that I’ve just started, so of course, the index is completely empty! I don’t plan on filling it in until I finish typing the notes for chapters one and two – back when I was writing them by hand. I decided typing them is a better option, so I’ve been doing that – but I still have some old notes to transcribe.


And that’s a wrap! I hope that was helpful! Don’t forget to download your own copy of the Index sheet and let me know if you use it or if you want me to make any modifications to it. Happy organizing!

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