When I was working on my comprehensive exams for my Ph.D., I made note cards for each novel and poem that was on my exams. So if Of Mice and Men was on my exam, I would have a note card for each of the characters, a note card for psychoanalysis, a note card for race and mental illness, and a note card for the plot.
This kind of studying is often called “breaking it down.” It’s like in the middle of a song, where Vanilla Ice tells the DJ to break it down. Generally, the melody goes away and what is left is the beat. Sometimes, the different parts come back in slowly. You’re doing the same thing with this kind of studying: you break it down into its different parts so you can hear each one separately and, thus, learn each one separately.
It’s a great way to study, and I recommend it for everything from math formulas to history to psychology to English.
If you want a head start, try one of our Cheat Sheets. That’s what we do for you. We break the novels down into chunks so you don’t have to do it yourself. It makes studying a lot easier.