How to Take Better Notes: The 6 Best Note-Taking Systems
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Preparation steps before a note-taking session:
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:
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.
Using a laptop is not an ideal way to take notes or to learn, during a lecture.
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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 ...
All notes that are related to each other are grouped together in a box.
A dedicated box is assigned for each section of notes which cuts down the time needed for reading and reviewing.
Apps are especially helpful for this method because content on the page can be reordered or resized subsequently.
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Students who take notes during a lecture or presentation achieve more than those who just passively listen.
Note-taking makes one's attention focused on the ideas being discussed, and also le...
When the instructor says 'this is important' or 'note this', or gives a non-verbal cue that the content being discussed is important, it can enhance the student's note-taking. They can also listen to the cues to help them organize their lessons.
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.
Divide your paper into three sections: a 2.5” margin to the left, a 2” summary section on the bottom, and a main 6” section.
The page is organized by topic. While in class, start with the main topic. Branch off and write a heading for each of the subtopics. Add important notes underneath each subtopic.
This method is useful for visual learners. It helps you understand the relationships between topics.
Use headings and bullet points with supporting facts.
This method is useful when a topic includes a lot of detail.
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Different types of information demand different styles of note-taking. There are lots of reasons to take notes: to retain information, to capture ideas, to problem solve or brainstorm, to visualize...
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 goal is to jot down your thoughts as quickly as possible. Format is kept to a minimum: every new thought is written on a new line.
Pros: Is like free writing for notes.
Cons: lack organization and notes can be hard to understand.
Works for: meetings or lectures that lack organization; when information is presented very quickly.
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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 bul...
Keep them short, but have enough triggers in the keywords to jumpstart your memory when you look at them again:
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).
In an experiment, students were given Ted Talks to watch and were told to take notes, half with laptops, the other with pen and paper.
Recording lectures to replay later has shown to have no added benefits compared to paying attention the first time without the possibility of watching it again.
Studying takes too much time, and there is only a limited number of hours. Spaced repetition method uses time intervals and makes you recall more information, using less time.
The spacing e...
“Work involving higher mental functions, such as analysis and synthesis, needs to be spaced out to allow new neural connections to solidify. New learning drives out old learning when insufficient time intervenes.”
A recent theory on forgetting states that everything we learn remains in storage inside our memory, but our ability to recall and retrieve that information fades if we do not practice fetching information.
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Ask yourself why are you reading:
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Our brains are wired to work on tasks serially, and not in parallel. This means that we are not wired for multitasking - we are good at focusing on one thing at a time.
The problem is, there are so many distractions these days that we've unconsciously trained our brains to not be good at focusing.
Commit to what you want to study on a particular day, or for a few hours. Limit the number of tasks/distractions/subjects so that you keep your intense focus and actually complete the tasks you started.
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