Whether it’s from our class notes, from a textbook or using digital notes, note making is one of the most important elements in preparing for an exam. Our time is limited, so reducing mass amounts of information and summarising key points helps us to better focus our time and be much more efficient. Each student can develop note taking strategies that best fits their learning style but today we want to share some key points that can help you in the process of note making.
Note Making Explained: 6 Basic Steps
# 1 Exploring the theme and sub-themes: The first step towards good note making consists of a reading of the text to get a general idea of its theme.
# 2 Organisation of content: This step can be carried out in conjunction with the first. The aim here is to identify the various parts that make up the text. Do this to get an idea of the amount of note making that will be required.
# 3 Notes in the margin: Before you start working on the summary itself, taking notes in the margin helps to add clarification to the content. Use it to note some main points and keywords in the text. This task will simplify things greatly when it comes to the summary process.
NOTE: This step can be skipped if you have used techniques such as the split page or the Cornell Method.
# 4 Underline essential information: Utilising this option will make your second and third effort of studying the material that bit easier. Rather than filtering through heavy amounts of material, your key notes are underlined and more visually grabbing.
NOTE: If your notes look like the image below, you’d better start again. Less is more!
# 5 Content Outline: Having identified the most important parts in the text, a diagram or Mind Map that allows us to visualise the content and their relationships can help with memorising information.
# 6 Editorial: The 5 steps above are only the starting point in compiling the bulk of summarising. At this point, we have to get down to work and start writing. To do this, here are some tips to consider when summarising. (As you’ll see in the images below, Digital Notes can really help with Note Making)
Go Further: 6 Added Extras
# 1 Take advantage of the work already done:
Use the summary from the notes in the margin, combined with information in your Mind Map to create a brilliant Digital Note that is bursting with information. You don’t need to worry about an eraser or Tipp-Ex any more, if your notes get messy or overcrowded, simply delete them and start again.
# 2 Organize the text:
Divide your notes into short paragraphs, this makes reading and digesting them much easier. Use separate pages or tabs if necessary. The note making tool on ExamTime allows you to break up your notes into sections that are colour coded as seen below.
# 3 Stand-out:
Use indents, lists, bold letters, different sizes, colors, and more. Anything that helps you to distinguish different parts of the text will help you learn more. Often in magazines and newspapers you will see pulled-quotes using bold or italicised font and online is no different.
# 4 Bring your notes to life:
Use images and multimedia resources to give life to your notes and communicate more with less. Why restrict yourself to plain black and white text when you can add images, videos and sound files? Make your notes really come alive with these great digital elements.
# 5 Continuous improvement:
Share your notes with your classmates and ask them to share theirs with you. This way, you will discover if you have forgotten points and then can apply them to your own notes. Share through Social Media websites, embed a resource so that it is fully functional on a webpage or add it to a study group.
# 6 How To Summarise:
Most of the above points can be difficult to utilise using traditional paper notes. So why not try using Online Notes. These will allow you to create a more complete summary of notes in a more dynamic setting.
Check out this great example below then get started creating your own:
Did these note making strategies work for you? Have you any additional suggestions you would like to contribute? If so leave us a comment with your ideas.