Taking good notes

12th October 2021

Lots of things go into retaining the information that you learn about in lessons, but a major factor is the notes you take. This might be in lessons, or consolidation that you do afterwards. Either way, taking effective and useful notes not only helps you later on when you want to revisit the information (especially before exams, for example), but it also helps you to commit the facts to your long-term memory. But what are good notes?

First of all, it’s important not to just copy things down word-for-word. Putting information into your own words both helps you to process what’s being said and means that when you reread it, it’s in a tone that you can more easily understand.

Secondly, it can really help to figure out what type of learner you are. For instance, if you’re a visual learner, drawing pictures/diagrams and using bright colours might really support your revision. If you’re an auditory learner, you may want to create recordings on your device for the future.

Linking to this, mind mapping can be a great tool for organising your thoughts, particularly if you’re a visual learner (but it can help everybody!). Start by putting your broad topic in the middle and then branch out from this by splitting them into categories. From here you can continue to break ideas down, link them together, and add in explanations. This is especially useful if a topic seems super daunting or overwhelming at first as it can help you to compartmentalise the individual parts.

Lastly, and this is less about making the notes and more about making sure they’re useful, make sure you keep all your consolidation in an accessible, organised place. This could mean getting a simple ring binder or plastic wallet folder and sticking to a chronological order based on your lessons or keeping them more divided based on what works for you.

We hope this was helpful and happy note-taking!