How to take notes properly while studying

Notes are the holy grail for students who wish to do well in their exams. Having your trusty running notes for every lecture can not only help you understand concepts better but also easily help you relive the class and revise your topics in a simpler fashion. Notes are not limited to any subject and should be commonly taken during every important class.

Pen and paper vs Laptop screens or iPads

For those averse to taking notes or opting to type their notes on their laptops, it must be considered that many scientific studies have found note-taking by hand helps in more retention of the subject which positively impacts learning. Hence, note-taking is a efficient method of studying in class or at home.

If you are embarking on your note-taking journey seriously, there are many methods that you can try to find the perfect note-taking method for you. However, before you begin, it is important to keep the best stationery items or supplies handy. This includes long-lasting and smooth pens, notebooks, coloured pens, stickies, etc.

Essential tips to make better notes

  • To make helpful and concise notes, active listening is key. Listening to the teacher/ lecturer as they impart knowledge while jotting them down can be challenging. Make sure to have a clear mind before you begin a lecture and keep your supplies like Classmate notebook and Classmate pens ready before the lecture commences
  • Instead of writing the exact words spoken by your professor, abbreviate, write in short forms and clear statements instead of full sentences
  • Using your own words for a concept once you have understood it will help you remember the subject better
  • Use drawings, symbols, and flowcharts wherever necessary to make things more visual and hence simpler
  • Use a designated area for example a border box where you can note down questions, doubts and links from the topic being taught
  • Make sure you also use a special way of noting down references and reading material assigned or mentioned by the professor for an all-round study session

Effective note-taking techniques to try

The Mapping Method: This note-taking method uses branches, clouds and arms and looks similar to a tree. This method makes it easy to note down and give importance to the the main idea or topic and its resultant branches. This mapping method is perfect for students who are visual learners.

The Cornell Method: This a popular note-taking method devised by a professor at Cornell University. This method requires a clear demarcations of a page into two main columns: left for keywords, right for keywords. Along with these two columns, a panel or row on top and on the bottom is also required for summary.

The Sentence Method: A common and simple method, this method uses sentences in points to jot down during a lecture. It is perfect for those who do not require visual images during classes that are too long or not outlined. It brings structure to such lectures and hence can be devised by those who generally write fast.

The Chart Method: For data-heavy lectures, the chart method is a great option. To follow this method, first make an outline of what your lecture will cover. Then proceed to divide your pages into columns and mark them with corresponding titles. Then write down your notes and observations under every topic as and when the lecture brings it up. This system will keep your notes organised which will help you mind map them and help you in finding them with ease later.