Take Note: These Are The 5 Best Note Taking Methods Guaranteed to Work
So it’s time for exam revision, and you look back upon the pages upon pages of lecture notes that hold the answers to your questions, only to find a mess of handwriting smooshed together on an unorderly page.
Despite it being an important part of learning and studying, we often don’t think about our notes and the methods of recording information that we use enough, especially during a fast-paced lesson were all you can really think about is just copying everything down in time.
Luckily for you, we have compiled the top five best note-taking strategies, guaranteed to help you get down accurate notes on all your course and lecture content.
The Cornell system is a note-taking system, shown to be one of the most effective note-taking methods. To use the Cornell method, separate a single page into two sections, a margin sized section on the left and a larger section on the right.
Online Note Taking
With an abundance of apps and programs created for the purpose of improving one’s academic organisation and skills, one doesn’t need to have impeccable study skills and note-taking techniques. Here are a few apps to help you with your note taking and organisation.
Mind mapping is great for visual learners, though they will likely not be as efficient at capturing your notes in such detail as a more Cornell like system. However, if you have been trying to use such methods, but they haven’t been working for you, then a different note-taking strategy might be best for you.
How to make a mindmap
To create a mind map, take a larger piece of paper and write your topic in the middle of it. From there, branch off from the main topic, and write subtopics around it. During the lecture, listen for important ideas, and list them under the subtopic you think it is most suited to. If there is a point that you think deserves a more specific subtopic, then branch of even further.
Before the lecture, draw columns on your note taking paper, and give each column a header. For example, if you know your lecture is going to involve people from history, facts and dates, you’d label columns ‘name’, ‘date’, ‘extra information’.
Take notes during lecture
Throughout the lecture, create brief dot points of information in your columns under the header that suits the information. For example put dates under dates, and names of people under people. Easy!
After the Class/Lecture
If you find your notes that you have taken under your columns messy or unsatisfactory, redraft them in a way you would like.
When to use this method
This method will work best during lectures in classes in which you already know what is going to be talked about, and when you already have a general understanding of the content that will be covered.
Colouring your notes
Studies show that colouring your notes stimulates the brain and can help you remember by associating ideas with colours, a technique especially useful for visual learners. Not only that, but colouring makes it easier to distinguish your notes, and pick out key things to notice whilst you are flicking through your notebook.