Note Taking

BASIX: This section is designed for the study newbie. Sure, you’ve been at school for years, but that doesn’t mean you’ve been doing it properly. Get up to scratch here.


You receive a lot of information while you’re in school. Most of it will be in class, so that’s what we’re going to talk about.

Your teachers don’t just tell you facts and information for the sake of it. The concepts, formulas, rules and topics they discuss have many uses, ranging from an upcoming test, to a difficult topic you may address in later years. The best thing about notes is that they don’t expire: the notes you took about the water cycle in Science, may help you a few months later in Geography.

But what if you’re terrible at taking notes? I have a few pointers for you:

  • Don’t write in full sentences. (Yes, I know, contradictory.)
  • Use abbreviations and acronyms, but don’t forget to write their meanings somewhere.
  • Try a note taking system like Cornell
  • If the teacher re-states a piece of information, or puts emphasis on it, highlight that corresponding point in your notes.
  • Copy out your notes at the end of the class/day, so that they are easy to understand, and you are reviewing them at the same time.

  • Review your notes regularly.
  • And most importantly, don’t leave revision of notes to the last-minute.

Despite the importance of note taking, many schools expect their students to learn how to do it on their own. If you’re having trouble, you can either talk to support staff at your school, or practice on your own. There are also many tips on the internet (See Below).

If you choose to practice on your own, you have many options. You could record lessons which require notes, and then practice repeatedly using that. The benefit of that is you can hear anything you have missed, and you are also reviewing your notes. Another option is to take notes of a tv show, podcast, or video series that you enjoy. While it would be more beneficial to use something educational, you might like to use an entertaining show, so that you are more engaged.

Bonus Tip

Take a look at this post from Campus Byte http://www.campusbyte.com/study-skills/online-videos-can-help-your-grades/, which I’ve referenced in NoticeBoard before. You could use these video sources to take notes. Plus, you can watch SpongeBob without feeling lame.

That’s it for today. I hope I have been of some help to you. Starting in the next few weeks, we’ll start a series on tried and true note taking methods. So this is your time to shine. What note taking techniques do you use? Mind mapping, outlining, Cornell? Let us know, and if you want, you can write a post for me about it. Well, anything, really, I’m always on the lookout for guest posters. Let me know in the comment form.

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About Katie Walker

Hey, I'm a student. I'm into web development, so currently I'm working on my blog, a few Tumblr themes, and a few web apps for various purposes. It's exciting stuff.

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