Decades of research have shown good note-taking methods lead to better test performance.
It seems easy enough. Write down what you think is important before reviewing it later.
In reality, there are many types of note-taking, but most of them don’t work. Long sentences crowd the page, or you end up writing down useless information. Avoid these pitfalls and ace your next exam with our note taking guide below.
1. Outline, Summarize, and Separate #
This is the most important step in taking better notes.
How you write down and organize your notes determines how well you study them later. It might be tempting to write everything the teacher says, but this leads to jumbled and ineffective notes.
Start by choosing an outline that fits your learning style best. One of the most popular methods is The Cornell Method. This separates notes into three sections for easy review.
Other outlines include mapping, boxing, and charting. If you like grouping notes by overarching themes, boxing could work for you. For notes that flow well, use the mapping method.
Regardless of which structuring technique you choose, one thing should remain constant. Take short notes that summarize the main ideas and important facts. If you try writing in long sentences to capture everything, chances are you’ll miss parts of the lecture!
2. Make It Fun, Creativity Is Key #
Whether you’re a visual or auditory learner, making your notes appealing can improve your productivity.
Who wants to study bland, black and white notes? If you’re a visual learner, add color to your notes to make them pop off the page. Auditory learners can use a voice recorder to listen to their notes instead.
Using a laptop or iPad? Add videos and audio clips into your notes to break up sections and help information retention.
A great example of creative note-taking: bullet journaling. With bullet journaling, you can customize your notes in hundreds of ways. Doodlers and creative thinkers will love this free-form method.
3. Utilize Note Taking Technology #
From PowerPoint slides to apps, technology can make your note-taking productivity skyrocket.
Many of these digital note-taking programs provide premade outlines so you can focus on listening to lectures and writing. Sure, laptops might get a bad rap in the studying world, but as long as you stay focused this shouldn’t be a problem.
Why limit yourself to handwritten notes? If you have trouble reading your handwriting or writing fast, electronics can enhance your learning abilities.
One added benefit of using technology: sharing with other students. Sharing your notes is as easy as emailing the document over.
What Note Taking Methods Are Right for You? #
Do you love segmenting notes into easy to read boxes? Prefer bright colors and drawings? Or, maybe you thrive best with note-taking applications.
No matter your learning style, you can find the note-taking methods that are best for you. Once you find a good fit, putting it into practice should see an increase in your studying productivity.
Ready to try a note-taking program for yourself? Check out Elisi’s visually stunning app today!