Many of us learn to take notes as young as pre-school, but did you know that there are some note-taking secrets and tips that will help you to ace any exams? Notetaking is a passive studying method that many already know how to do but with these added tips and tricks for notetaking, you will be able to ace any exams well!
11 notetaking secrets and tips to help you ace any exams
1 – Always go back to your notes after class
The human brain is not the best at absorbing new information in one seating and is rather inefficient when it comes to remembering. One way to counteract this is to know the “The Forgetting Curve” and its impact.
It takes only 24 hours for our brains to completely forget what we have learned yesterday in class. Hence, it is always highly emphasized that students should always review their notes again at the end of the day to prevent any loss of information.
As you consistently review your notes every alternate day, you will gain stronger muscle memory around the information.
You should aim for the green lines on the curve. The red line symbolizes the inefficiency of only doing your notes once and never revisiting them after.
With a constant effort to review your notes, you will be able to keep this information in your brain for long periods of time.
2 – Cornell notetaking method
This notetaking method separates the paper into 3 major sections – Notes Column, Cues Column, and Summary.
The notes column is where you take notes, the cues column is where you write down cues, questions, and hints to the notes that you are taking. Lastly, the summary section requires you to write down the important points or takeaways of the notes.
It is a simply notetaking method that is efficient for subjects like humanities and great for extracting major or core information from the notes. Additionally, this notetaking method is systematic and easy to absorb at the end of the day.
3 – Box-taking method
This notetaking method requires you to box up relevant concepts or points together in a box on your notes. This helps you to organize your notes into different but clear sections. The whole idea of this notetaking method is for one to see an overview of all the concepts at the end of the day.
4 – Mindmapping notetaking method
Mindmapping organizes the topic or concept you are doing your notes on. This notetaking method is useful when the topic has many subtopics and concepts. Mindmaps also help to give you an overview of the topic. They help to connect ideas, concepts, and facts together through visualization.
5 – Use post-it notes in your notes
Post-it notes are a great way to spice up your already written notes. It helps you to add new points to your notes and it is also a great way to make certain important points stand out.
6 – Write down only the important points
When you are doing passive studying and notetaking, you should always be conscious about what you are taking down. You should only note take what is important and the main focus of the sentence, concept, or topic. This will help you to better organize your notes and focus only on the important points. Otherwise, you would just be copying your entire textbook into your notes.
7 – Use colors or distinct separations
Highlighters or colored pens are a great way to make distinct separations in your notes. However, you should be mindful of the number of colors you are using. It is best to pick 3 to 4 colors when notetaking. They can be categorized as headers, new concepts, important points, or keywords, solely up to your choice.
It is not recommended to overwhelm your notes with too many colors as it would only make it harder to read and understand.
8 – Use your own acronyms and short forms
The fun of notetaking is writing down your notes in your own way, your own understanding, and your own words. You can make up short forms or acronyms to make notetaking more efficient for you. It can also serve as a good memorizing technique for you. Acronyms and short forms help to reduce time spent on writing the entire word out, helping to save space and also quicken your notetaking process.
9 – Active listening during class
Your notes will not make any sense to you if you are copying them blindly off the board. You should actively listen and seek clarification with your teacher in class as soon as you find yourself stuck. Chances are that some students are as confused as you are!
With your doubts cleared, you will be able to make connections with the notes you have taken.
10 – Use visuals
Should there be any subjects that are harder to understand with just words, it is good to draw it out and have a mental image of it. This tip might be more useful and impactful if you are taking notes digitally. Digital notetakers have the ability to snap photos instantly and annotate them or find an image online and insert it into their notes. Which is convenient and extremely useful when referring back for revision. Visuals are excellent for remembering content.
11 – Be consistent
Notetaking is a skill that should be practiced consistently. If you are notetaking in class, be sure to review them at the end of the day. Whereas, if you are notetaking for revision, it is best to spread out your notetaking sessions instead of squeezing them in last minute. Spend time every week or two to note take and review all your subject content consistently.
In a nutshell, notetaking consistently will make a significant difference to your revision and study. All in all, consistent notetaking can reduce your workload when it comes to revision and you will be familiar with your own notes by the end of the semester. This gives you leverage as you do not need to rewrite your notes, and you are able to remember what you learn throughout the semester!