Purpose of taking notes

Purpose of taking notes

Note-taking serves one simple purpose: to help you remember information. 

Although we might associate note-taking with school, it's something most of us continue doing for the bulk of our lives.

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Outdated techniques

Rereading your notes, highlighting them, underlining them, and even summarizing them  - all take a lot of your time.

Better methods include taking breaks and spreading out your studying (known as distributed practice), and taking practice tests (which isn't really applicable outside of school).

Keep your notes simple

Keep them short, but have enough triggers in the keywords to jumpstart your memory when you look at them again:

  • Stick to keywords and very short sentences.
  • Write out your notes in your own words.
  • Find a note-taking style to fit both your needs and the speakers.
  • Write down what matters.

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Is a linear method of taking notes that proceeds down the page, using indentation or bullets to denote major and minor points.

Pros: it records content relationship in a way that is easy to review.

Cons: difficult to go back and edit information written in this system.

Works for: recording terms, definitions, facts and sequences, when taking notes on slides or readings.

The Outline method

It requires you to structure your notes in form of an outline by using bullet points to represent different topics and their subtopics. 

Start writing main topics on the far left of the page and add related subtopic in bullet points below using indents.

The Cornell Method

The Cornell note taking method helps organize class notes into easily digestible summaries.

How?

  • The paper is divided into 3 sections: a 2.5” margin to the left, a 2” summary section on the bottom, and a main 6” in-class note section.
  • Use the main notes section to take notes during class.
  • Use the cues section to review your notes. After class, write down things you’ll need to remember and a prompt for each. You can also use this section for vocabulary words and study questions.
  • In the summary segment at the bottom, write a summary of your notes. This is where you will highlight the main points.

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