If you take messy, disorganised and unclear notes during your lectures, you’ve probably landed on the right page. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have neat handwriting, taking efficient notes is all about how you structure them.
Why is taking effective notes so important?
Taking notes is one of the most effective ways to remember and understand information, as well as develop meaningful learning skills. Additionally, effective notes help reduce your stress when it’s time to write your assignment!
Taking notes in class is a good way to learn concepts as it ensures you’re actively listening to what the teacher is explaining, and it also requires you to think about what you are writing. Furthermore, it helps you make the connection between subjects, and it is a very useful material for your individual study.
Over the years, different note-taking strategies have been defined. By following these methodologies, you will start taking organised and clear notes.
The Cornell Method
By adopting this methodology, you will be able to organise your notes into more digestible summaries as well as remember the main topics discussed in your lectures. If you want to use this method, you should simply divide your document into three parts: one for your cues, the other for the summary and the third for all your notes. During your class, you should take notes in your main note section. Then, once you are at home, use your cue part to annotate your main ideas, prompts and questions. Finally, in the summary section, write a summary of your notes. This process can seem long and useless, but once you have finished it, you will recognise all its benefits.
Creating maps is another way to organise your notes and memorise all the topics discussed in your class in a visual way. Also, this methodology allows you to better recognise the relationships between topics. Do you want to start using this method? Start mapping your main topics when you are in the class. Then, split your main topics into subtopics and write details under each of them.
This methodology is one of the best when it comes to the revision time. Indeed, by having a schematic view, you will easily remember all the topics you need for your exam.
The Outlining Methodology
This method uses bullet points to highlight the main topics covered in the lecture. It allows you to take notes neatly as well as see the relationship between topics and subtopics. Furthermore, by using this method, you will easily convert your bullet points into study questions.
If you want to adopt this methodology, start creating bullet points during your class and label each bullet point with a topic name. Then, list subtopics under each main subject and point out all the details under each subtopic.
This methodology allows you to organise your notes within different columns to facilitate your review process as well as recognise the key information for each topic. If you want to use this methodology, you should divide your documents into columns and label each of them with a category. Then, the category details will be written in the rows below.
The sentence method
This is the most common methodology used by students and consists in writing notes as a whole sentence. This method will help you to understand what is important and what is not as well as give you specific details about a topic.
If you want to adopt this method, you should consider each line of your document as a new and separate topic. To organise your notes even more, we suggest you assign a title to each main subject.
By adopting one of these methods described above you will be able to have organized notes all year round. Sometimes, these methodologies can seem a waste of time – but, believe us, you won’t have any regrets when you start using one of them!