There are lots of different ways to take notes and it’s important to take the time to figure out what style of taking notes works best for you. You can take notes digitally, or with the traditional pen and paper. Below you’ll find some different note-taking styles, aswell as some of our top tips for keeping useful, comprehensive notes.
Text based notes
Some people find that traditional text based notes work best for them. These can be full sentences, bullet-points. Using different coloured pens, highlighters and clear headings can help to make these notes as useful as possible when it comes to using them to revise later.
For more visual learners, notes with lots of colours, diagrams, symbols, even little cartoons, is the best way to take notes. Some people will find it easier to remember a series of images rather than a list of written words.
Many people find spider-diagrams useful when taking notes. This is done by writing the main topic in the centre of the page, and writing points branching out from this centre point.
After the lecture, using an audio recorder to record yourself talking through the main points of that class. Then when it comes to revising, you can listen back to the audio. Some people also find it useful to audio record the lecture, but make sure you notify the lecturer and get their permission before recording them.
There is no wrong way to take notes. You may find that one type of taking notes suits you, or you may prefer to use a combination of several different types of taking notes. With time, you’ll find a system for taking notes that suits you.
In addition to finding a note-taking system that suits you, remember these top tips:
Keep it Brief
You don’t need to take note of absolutely everything that is said in a lecture. Concentrate on the most important points, the points that you find most interesting and the things that the lecturer is saying that aren’t already mentioned in the slides or notes that the lecturer provides.
Develop a Good Filing System
Notes are only really useful if you’re able to find them and understand them when it comes time for revising. Start every page with a clear heading and the date you wrote the notes. By keeping all the notes for a particular subject together in the one place and in order, you’ll save yourself a lot of stress when it comes to exam time!
Access Notes Online
Nowadays, most lecturers will make their Powerpoint slides, notes or other materials available online, via email or other platforms like Moodle or Blackboard. This can save you a lot of time taking overly detailed notes in class. If you’re not sure how to access notes online, or if you are having problems accessing the notes, you can ask your lecturer, or the disability office.
To find out more about taking notes, you can ask your tutor.
Video: How to Take Great Notes – By WatchWellCast
App: Evernote -a free app to help you take notes and keep them organized across all platforms
Useful Link: LiveScribe Pen: Both a pen and audio-recording device that helps people make notes without writing it all down
Podcast: Note Taking Strategies – By The George Washington University