Outline Method

Taking a structured approach to note-taking is the best way. Put the outline notes by choosing four or five key points of the lecture, followed by in-depth sub-points. One way to review is to use the Cornell Method, which divides the note sheet into three sections:

  • Cues: It includes key questions and main points.
  • Notes: Which you write during the class using the outline method. 
  • Summary: Which you can write after class while reviewing.

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Preparation steps before a note-taking session:

  • Try to get familiar with the topic that is going to be discussed, beforehand. This leads to better understanding.
  • Make sure you have adequate notepaper and writing material.
  • Stay hydrated and consume caffeine moderately.
  • Don't go in hungry, opting for a wholesome snack.
  • Have a positive attitude, and a willingness to pay attention.
  • If something is getting repeated in class or is indicated to be important, pay attention.
The Mind Map

The mind map is a visual diagram of abstract concepts.

It works best in subjects like chemistry, history and philosophy, subjects having a neural network like interlocked and complex topics. 

  • Simply Write on PPT Slides: An easy method to take notes is to just write on the slides of the presentation. The PPTs have note-taking space in them and if you are able to get them in advance, the whole process becomes simple.
  • Bullet Journaling: Turn a blank page into a beautiful representation of your thought process. You can go crazy and include mind maps, flow notes, colorful design styles, making the note-taking process a delight, and learning in the process.

Using a laptop is not an ideal way to take notes or to learn, during a lecture.

  • A laptop distracts and impairs the learning process, as you might be tempted to play games or multitask with it during lectures.
  • In the old-school hand-written method, you are processing the information, leading to better understanding and learning.
  • How you use the computer also matters, and many students can use the internet to learn or re-check information on the fly.

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The Cornell Method
  • The page is divided into 3 or 4 sections (top for title and, bottom for summary, 2 columns in the center).  
  • 30% of width should be kept in the left column while the remaining 70% for the right column.
  • All notes go into the main note-taking column
  • The smaller column on the left side is for comments, questions or hints about the actual notes. 

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Revision of notes, done right after the lecture, is a crucial step so that any missing lesson ideas can be filled using our short-term memory.

  • Hand-written notes are better than laptops as the latter can be distracting, with students checking email or playing games. It also distracts nearby students.

  • Laptop notes are inferior as they are verbatim and shallow.

  • Hand-written notes are well-thought-out, summarized and have a lot of graphic information that is missing from laptop notes.
TAKE NOTES EFFECTIVELY

If your in-class notes are messy, unorganized, and unclear at first glance, you’re not going to get much use out of them. This has nothing to do with how neat your handwriting is — it’s all about how your notes are structured.

One of the most effective ways to remember (and understand) what you are learning in class is to take effective notes in the classroom.

  • Ensures you are actively listening to what the teacher is saying
  • Requires you to think about what you are writing
  • Helps you make connections between topics
  • Serves as quality review material for after class

Using different note taking strategies is important, especially as you progress through high school and transition to college or university. There are several note taking techniques you can use to start taking better notes in class.

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