Paul Penn’s article, How to Study Effectively (Psyche Magazine) provides insights on why common study techniques fail us. Research shows that cramming doesn’t work well for gaining knowledge before a test but there are other techniques that do work.
Penn makes the point that:
“Using our memory effectively is less about maximising exposure to a new source than figuring out how to use our prior knowledge, experience and expectation filters to integrate that source with what we already know.”
Then he provides five techniques, which take advantage of this to help you study better. The last of these raises the spectre of the often futile highlighting-of-text technique as opposed to really engaging with and thinking about the material.
And to that end I would like to strongly recommend, reading Sönke Ahrens’ excellent book: “How to Take Smart Notes” (Concordia Library link) which goes far beyond what you might have as preconceived notions on the practice of note-taking.