Tips for good study notes
Whether you want to perform better in your exams or have a better understanding of a particular subject, good study notes will help you retain, recite, and remember information. Study notes are made on a regular basis from reading textbooks and online journals to lecturers at class. If you are serious about scoring great in your exams and achieving your career goals, you must now how to make effective study notes. The following tips will educate you on how to make quality study notes that will help you gain more knowledge of the subject you are studying, remember information, and prepare for your exam effectively.
Taking notes in class
1. Gather all your note-taking resources
This may sound quite basic to many students but it is crucial that you have everything you are going to take notes from ready before you start. If you are using a pen and paper, make sure your notebook has enough pages. Have an extra pen just in case. If you will be taking your notes using a laptop, have it charged beforehand or sit next to a power source. If you wear reading glasses, do not leave them behind when attending your class in case the lecturer writes something on the board that you need to note down. Also, have a small microfiber cloth to keep your glasses clean for a clear vision. It would also be a good idea to sit in an area where you can hear and see the speaker properly.
2. Go prepared
Before you attend your class or note taking session, review previous notes so you can bring yourself up to speed. If your professor had issued homework or some kind of background reading, get it done before proceeding to your class. This will get you understanding the ideas, concepts, and themes your lecturer is likely to teach. A good way to do this is to make some short notes and then add whatever else your lecturer will present. Never go to class unprepared, aslack of preparation is one of the things that makestudents to fail their classes.
3. Listen keenly
A common mistake made by students is jotting down everything the lecturer says without fully understanding the concept. If you want to save your precious time and comeout of that class with something that can help you succeed academically, practice to be an active listener.Make sure you understand the topic before taking down what the lecturer says so that you do not miss out on a good learning opportunity. Absorbing information is important as it removes confusion when studying your notes, which makes exam preparation easy and effective.
4. Ask questions
If your professor says something that you do not understand, do not be afraid to ask for clarification. Do not just write everything down for the sake of it and lie to yourself that you will take care of it later. Procrastination never bears fruits and later is not guaranteed. Therefore, get things cleared out when you are supposed and things will get much easier afterwards. If you find something confusing now, trust us, it will be much worse when you get back to your notes later. Do not be afraid to ask your lecturer to revisit a topic especially when you feel that they have said something important. It is the only way to avoid confusion and take effective notes.
Making notes from textbooks
When doing self-study, it is important to make notes, since most of the resources you are using may not be available to you later. Making study notes also helps you simplify the topic and reviewing the information later gets much easier. To make accurate study notes:
1. Identify the most important information
Write words and key phrases that are relevant to the topic. Do away with secondary details and filler words. If you are going to include these in your notes then there is no point of you making the notes in the first place. Think about the information you want to keep. Why are you studying this topic? What are the most emphasized points? When taking personal notes you only need to write the most important points. This means that you have to read and understand the topic before jotting anything down. If you already know something, do not waste time writing it. Focus on information that you have not learnt before. This will help you get the most out of your note taking and guide you into learning something new.
2. Use question and answer method
Using questions and answers is one of the best ways to make accurate notes. It gives you a chance to put what you have learnt in your own words for easier understanding. This technique has been proven to better the retention of information and improve students’ performance. Instead of copying down everything line by line, read a section of the topic, make sure youunderstand the concept and then write down what you have learned. Do this section by section and you will be surprised that soon you will have made a remarkable milestone on your note taking, and most importantly, you will have understood things better.
3. Make your study notes appealing to the eye
Although beautiful notes do not always mean great and comprehensive notes, organizing your notes properly and even using different colors makes it easier to read them later. You do notwant to read something messy and disorganized so make a point of making your notes look nice. Start each new topic on a fresh page and remember to write the day’s date. Make sure your writing is something you can read without straining your eyes. Use wide margins so that the page does not look too crowded. Leaving margins also gives you enough space to put additional information afterwards when reviewing the notes. Use diagrams and symbols to help you remember things easily. Diagrams, charts, tables, boxes and arrows are a great way to associate key concepts.
4. Use colors
You can use different colors to mark important points or separate main headings with the rest of the content for easier reading. Many students use bright colors to make the content more legible and easier to recall. Researchersargue that color stimulates your brain making things easier to read. You are also able to remember things easily, which is important when prepping for your exam. However, do not overdo it. Using too many colors will get you confused and may make your reading more difficult.
5. Review your notes
Going back to your notes later in the day will help you absorb information even more and will help you notice any errors in the text. You really don’t have to spend an hour or so in this; 20 to 30 minutes will be enough. You can also make a habit or revisiting them each night before you sleep. If you need to add any new information, the best time to do this will be early morning when your mind is fresh. Reviewing your notes every now and then will help you master the topic and even when it comes to preparing for your exams, you won’t have much to read because most of the information is already registered in your brain.
6. Utilize your knowledge
Now that you know how to make effective study notes, what you need to do now is test yourself. Don’t wait until the exams are around the corner to know how good or poor your notes are. Test yourself regularly and see if the information you have in your books is effective enough to make you pass those tests. There is also another way to know if you have done your study notes correctly. For instance, if you have toturn to a college homework helper every time your professor issues assignments because you don’t trust your notes, then your notes are wanting and you shoulddo something to fix this as soon as you can. Add any information you find missing in your notes to make them more relevant. If they cannot help you prepare your academic projects, they sure cannot help you in exam revision.
Making notes is an art and one needs to be committed to produce resourceful information. However, just as doing this is essential, making sure that your information sources are credible is equally important. The last thing you want is a notebook fullof information that you can’t use because it is either too shallow or too boring to keep reading. Use the tricks above to come up with the most effective notes for your exam revision and assignments preparation. Take time to read your notes. If there is something you need to memorize do this as many times as you can so that it can stick to your mind.