Do you sometimes struggle to know which notes to take down in lessons? Have you ever found yourself wishing you could take better or more effective notes? Clear, meaningful notes will help you remember concepts, develop your learning skills, and gain a better understanding of a topic. Effective notes can even lead to less stress when test time comes around!
Using different note taking strategies is important, especially as you progress through secondary school and transition to college or university. Here are several note taking techniques you can use to start making the most out of those notes:
Write notes that make sense to you – Memorising sentences on a page may not work for you and that’s okay. You’ll retain more information when you understand the learning in your own language. So maybe try to process and summarise what your teacher says by taking notes that make sense to you.
Make it fun to look at your notes – Highlights, symbols, diagrams and bullet points are just a few ways to make your notes satisfying and more visually appealing. You don’t have to spend hours doing this but if you put effort into adding visual interest to your notes, you could enjoy the process of note making more. Sometimes you may wish to draw attention to key points, so why not draw an eye or exclamation mark? Using different colours for different pieces that make sense to you can also be a great tip!
Review your notes later that same day – This will help to keep the material fresh. If you look back and realise that you don’t fully understand your notes, approach your teacher the next day or as soon as you can to double check what the key learning points were.
Staying organised – Not knowing where you’ve placed a particular set of notes you need can be quite stressful. A simple trick to help you organise your notes is to write the date, subject, and topic at the top of every page.
Also, why not compare notes with a classmate? Every now and again you could review each other’s notes and you might discover that they picked up valuable information that you could have missed – and vice versa.
You might want to use different note-taking methods for various situations and subjects — that’s great! What matters most is that your notes help you understand and remember the information more easily.
Most importantly, don’t worry about choosing the perfect method; there’s no such thing! Try out a few different strategies and see which ones help you understand and recall information the best.