Every class has that one person with the most gorgeous notes ever. The one with loads of colored pens and penmanship that looks like a font. What’s their secret? It’s all down here in this handy-dandy guide to effective note-taking. No artsy skills required! Though, you may have to lower your expectations on the aesthetic front.
Let’s get down to business!
Don’t copy everything you see or hear
First things first, you need to know the difference between recording information and processing it. How much of what you write is actually what you need?
Effective note-taking isn’t about jotting things down word-per-word. Otherwise, you’re just transcribing. Rather, you should be concept-mapping, taking down highlights, paraphrasing, and summarizing lectures as they go. You might miss out if you’re trying to get every word in.
Ditch those apps and get yourself a notebook
Sorry to sound a bit old school, but it’s scientifically proven that taking down notes by hand is far more effective than using an app or word processor. Sure, you can take down notes faster—even word-by-word—with your tablet or laptop. But again, you want to be processing info, and not recording it.
When you write longhand, the extra time you take is actually spent interacting with all those new concepts from your lectures.
Try out a grid-lined notebook
Who says that graphing paper is only for math? Grid notebooks mean all your bullet points and indentations will be aligned like a dream. You can draw boxes or sections on your page if you need to add reminders or highlights. With all the #studygram accounts going around, it’s becoming the new student’s choice for all subjects.
Plus, it’s super pretty. Your notes will be way neater. You can thank us later.
Use different header styles while note-taking
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Hi again!! I’m finally back with an actual study post! Here are some summary notes I made before my maths exam, and they helped me a lot ☺️🌈 At the moment I’m on summer holidays, so I’m obviously not doing as much studying as usual. I’ll keep posting once in a while, and I’ll of course be back full time this autumn! Hope you’ll stick around 💛🌼 Are you guys in the middle of exam season, or are you finished? Let me know! 💕 – You can get all the mildliners at @kawaiipenshop! Use the code STUDYTEE for 10% off ☺️☀️ – #studygram #studyblr #studynotes #stationery #notetaking
What better way to get your notes looking pretty than with headers! You don’t need a calligraphy class. Just add a title at the top of your page and whenever the topic delves deeper. Dividing your notes into headers and subheaders will allow you to visually organize these concepts. It creates a flow and order to your note-taking.
Usually, these headers will consist of: the class name, the subject, the topic, the subtopic, etc.
Get colorful with highlighters or pens
Stationery hoarding is sometimes one of the best parts of being in school. You have an excuse to get a rainbow of pens, highlighters, markers, pencils, you name it! All for the sake of doodling—er, studying. Use these to mark off keywords in your notes. Color-code your notes with different pens. Maybe get creative with your headers. The possibilities are endless.
Have a key for your bullet points
Designate a certain symbol or bullet point for specific kinds of info like a term or definition, a question, date, place, process or step, and task. You can even do the same for your highlighter colors! This is to give context to your notes, to signify that some bullet points are more important or more highlighted than others.
It’s especially helpful for information-heavy subjects like history, science, literature, and economics.
Post-Its and sticky notes are life
For when you’ve got a question or a side-note but you don’t want to ink it in, sticky notes will save your life. You can write on the front and back, so you can use them for reviewing tough concepts. If you’ve got a continuing lecture, use a note to move along with your notes.
One handy trick is to get a bunch of notes and stick them at the back of your notebooks. That way, you don’t have to bring a whole pad with you.
Make boxes and sections for lecture questions, homework, and asides
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[ november 13 | 6826 ] I am SO sorry for being inactive lately, school’s been taking up a lot of my time :/ anyway, this was a biology summer homework that I did on evolution but I never posted it! I am so proud of those drawings – I don’t even care if I sound like I’m boasting they honestly turned out so much better than I thought they would – – tags: #study #studygram #studying #studymotivation #studyspo #studyhard #studynotes #notes #studyaccount #brushlettering #crayola #bujo #bujocommunity #bujolove #learning #learn #student #studentlife #england #uk #unitedkingdom #bujojunkies #mildliner #science #gcse #biology #evolution #darwin
Part of concept-mapping is allowing yourself to make side-notes. These could be your own comments about the lecture, or possible questions you may have that can’t be answered yet. Make little boxes on the side for these tidbits. Or if not, designate a margin or a space at the bottom where you can add these thoughts as you go.
At the end of the lecture when your teacher asks for questions, fire away! It also helps for your review. Being able to add new ideas on your own means you’re applying what you’ve learned!
Number your pages and make an index—alternatively, get a notebook with numbered pages
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My Index is slowly (or quickly?) filling up. I love love love to have my index this way. As all the pages are written out I sometimes use a pencil for planning when I set up a new month, writing out which pages go where. It also allows me to leave a blank page when I’m unsure if I need two pages for something. If I end up using it for something else later on, I can still write it down in the index. Or I just put a quote/pattern there. And I highlight where each month starts. That covers pretty much everything about my index.
This might just save your life. Number your pages and create an index at the back of your notebook. Remember how we said you should have titles and subheaders in your notes? That’s what you should put in your index, or table of contents. Never lose a lecture again.
In the same way that your textbooks have tables of contents, so should your notebook. You’ll find it easier to refer to your notes and find concepts quicker. You’re welcome.
Thank us later when you’ve secured that A and upped your study habits! Hope you found this guide helpful. Need more tips and study hacks? We got you fam! Just head on over to our All About Senior High section on the Edukasyon.ph blog!
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