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Note-taking Tips

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Studying for a test or exam can be difficult sometimes, especially when you have a lot of topics to cover. While some people may be able to read through large amounts of text, you can always make study time easier and relieve yourself of unwanted stress.

During classes, you can take down notes while the teacher is talking, and later on, you can go through these notes to keep them fresh in your memory. You can also choose to go through the official notes that are given to the class later on in the day. By going through topics that have just been taught, it’ll be easier for you to remember and actually understand the topics. 

Note-taking can be done in different ways, depending on the person, but here are some general tips that should help you in taking notes during classes or during your personal study time:

  1. Pay attention: As obvious as this may seem, paying close attention to what is being taught is the only way you can take notes in the first place. You need to be able to direct and retain your focus on what is being taught, so that you can pick out the most important details and put them down in your notebook. Try avoiding things or people that distract you during lessons or study sessions, and this should help you focus more. 
  1. Keep it simple: When you’re taking notes, these notes are ideally meant to be for you specially. You can always share your notes, but you should take notes down in a way that’s easy for you to understand and refer back to at any time. It doesn’t really help trying to use the biggest words in the dictionary or trying to construct very long sentences. Quite frankly, this will actually be harder for you to do because you’re trying to take down the key points from what is being said. Remember that you’re not the only student in class, and so the teacher can’t always slow down for you alone just because you’re trying to remember the synonym of a particular word. 
  1. Mind mapping: A mind map is a visual representation of ideas which is usually illustrated with a main idea placed at the centre and branches of related ideas or subtopics that ‘branch’ out from the centre of the map…kind of like a tree! Using a mind map can help you to organise the information that you’re receiving and the ideas that you have. It also makes your notes look a bit more exciting, so it’s not just filled with boring words. 
  1. Add some colour!: This is especially useful for visual learners, and will make your notes look very fun. Using coloured pens, pencils or sticky notes can also help you remember certain concepts. You can try colour coding, which involves using certain colours for a particular topic/concept, and this should help you remember them. Using diagrams can also help you to remember concepts, so making a quick image or sketch of something while taking notes or while studying, can go a long way in helping you understand and remember concepts. 
  1. Use Mnemonics: Do you sometimes find it hard to remember certain concepts or a group of ideas? Then you should definitely use this method in your note-taking process. Mnemonics simply involve using a pattern of ideas, words, letters or even sounds to remember something. A good example is BODMAS which is a mathematical  acronym for ‘Brackets, Orders, Division, Multiplication, Addition and Subtraction’ and can help you remember the order in which to solve maths problems. You can also use Mnemonics in the form of a song, a rhyme or easy acronyms, and this will help you in note-taking and study sessions. 

Although different people have different methods and styles to help them remember things while studying, taking notes usually help in retaining information. You can always find a method that works best for you in taking notes and studying, and this will really help you in school and even after school…try it! 

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