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Tips and Strategies for Effective Note-Taking

When students are trying to find a solution to a particular problem, they are faced with a confusing choice of tactics, tools, apps, and websites you could use. The note-taking process, in particular, is subject to different strategies that are being suggested to students. The “art of note-taking” involves much more than writing down important information. It is a habit that can boost the entire studying process.

In the continuation, we will suggest different note-taking strategies, so you can choose the one that works for you.

1. Visual Memory Boosters
Notes don’t have to be limited to text. Your brain can process new information more easily if you provide visual incentives. For example, you can create a mind map that will enable you to connect different concepts and ideas together. Make the map as creative as possible. Add links, videos, images, and other types of content that will enable you to understand the lesson.

Bubbl.us is one of the online tools that enable you to create an awesome mind map.

2. The Cornell Note-Taking Method
This is one of the most efficient strategies that boost the effectiveness of the note-taking process. With this method, you should break down the notes into 3 sections: a left column for the keywords and concepts, a right column with more details about the topic (provided in bullet points), and a bottom section that summarizes the notes.
The Cornell System is especially effective during the revising stages.

3. Abbreviations and Symbols
Try to think of your own abbreviations and symbols for the key concepts in the studying material. When you are taking notes during a lecture, you cannot keep pace with the teacher’s speech. If you rely on this strategy, you’ll be able to speed up the process.

4. The Split Page System
This method is similar to the Cornell System, but it lacks the bottom section. This time, you split the page in two columns: the left one is for the main ideas, while the right one is for secondary, more detailed information.

Bonus: Types of Notes You Can Take

Now that you discovered 4 note-taking methods you can experiment with, you might be interested in the different types of notes you can start taking. We already mentioned Mind Maps as visual incentives, but there are other options that might be suitable for your learning style. Check out these suggestions:

• Online Notes
You are limited to a notebook and smartphone during the lectures, but you can enrich the notes as soon as you find more time for them. Try incorporating graphics, presentations, and videos into the information you wrote down during the class. Adding a new dimension to your notes will help you remember them more easily.

• Flashcards
You can use pre-made online flashcards, but you’ll benefit from this type of notes even more if you create them by yourself. All you need to do is summarize the notes you have into large groups of information, and create the cards by taking the most important definitions, keywords and phrases.

Remember: you cannot include every piece of information in your notes

This is the most common mistake diligent students make. They have difficulties distinguishing the most important information, so they end up rewriting the entire textbook. The note-taking process won’t be effective if you spend too much time on it. Practice taking small pieces of information that will convey the essence of the entire material!