Every topper has always emphasized the importance of note-taking. Better grades are a result of better notes. It gets hard to skim through the vast textbook information for revision, which is when you realize the importance of good note-taking. Preparing good notes is not about neat handwriting — it’s all about how structured your notes are. If your notes are unorganized, messy, and unclear, you won’t benefit much. The best way to remember all that you have learned in class is to take down notes in the classroom. Additionally, students can also prepare their study materials at home to maximize their learning.
Why is note-taking important for students?
Effective notes are a student’s best companion as they reduce stress when exam time comes around. Studying from self-prepared notes allows students to review the entire syllabus faster. Moreover, taking structured, good quality notes ensures that you:
- Remember concepts
- Develop meaningful learning skills
- Gain a better understanding of a topic
- Actively listen to every point that the teacher is saying
- Develop connections between topics
- Prepare quality review material
All students need to learn how to take better study notes to improve their recall and understanding of everything they study. Students can opt for different note-taking strategies to ensure clarity while they study. Here are some of the best methods to choose from. These methods are suitable for students preparing for board exams, NEET 2022, JEE Main 2022, or any other competitive exam.
The Cornell Method
The Cornell note-taking method is one of the most popular methods for effective note-taking. It helps organize notes into simplified summaries. In this method, students can include the main points, study cues, details, and summary in one place.
How do you write notes in Cornell style?
- To create Cornell-style notes, divide the page into three sections: a cues section to the left, a summary section of about two inches towards the bottom, and a main in-class note section.
- Students will utilize the main notes section for taking notes during class.
- The cues section is for reviewing the notes after class. In this section, students can write down things to remember or a prompt for each. They can also include this section to add important terms and study questions.
- The summary section towards the bottom is where students can highlight the main points.
This method is perfect for students preparing for competitive exams such as NEET 2022. Students preparing for JEE Main 2022 can learn more about note-taking here.
Benefits of Cornell Method:
- The notes appear neat, organized, and summarised.
- They are easy to review.
- Students can pull out key facts and concepts at a glance.
The Mapping Method
This method is ideal when your goal is to learn about relationships between topics. It is a more visual way to organise your study notes.
How do you write notes in Mapping style?
Using this method, students can dedicate a page to a topic. So, they begin by stating the main topic and including its key points. The main topic then branches out into subtopics. They can include detailed information about each.
- Begin the map with the main topic.
- Branch it off and include a heading for each subtopic.
- Include important points and notes underneath each subtopic.
- Continue the pattern to create a map-like structure.
Benefits of Mapping Method:
- It is suitable for visual learners who struggle to study from dense paragraphs.
- It allows students to remember and draw relationships between topics.
The Outlining Method
The Outlining method is the next most widely accepted note-taking strategy. It incorporates headings followed by bullet points to organize topics. This strategy is most useful for students who have to learn about different topics in a lot of detail.
How do you write notes in Outlining style?
- Students must begin each section with a heading of the main topic.
- Below the heading comes the subtopic and supporting facts in bullet points.
- The first subtopic below the main topic needs to be indented slightly to the right.
- The details below the heading need to be placed slightly to the right.
Benefits of Outlining Method:
- It organizes notes more neatly than any other method.
- Allows students to easily study the relationship between topics and subtopics.
- Most importantly, it allows students to turn points into study questions.
The Charting Method
The charting note-taking method is one of the unique ways students can organise the information into columns. It allows them to cover a lot of facts and study relationships between topics.
How do you write notes in Charting style?
Students need to divide the page into columns in this note-taking strategy and label them by category. Each category will include details filled out in the rows below.
- This method allows students to include information about a category underneath the proper column.
- They can move down one row and begin again when a new topic begins.
Benefits of Charting Method:
- It organizes facts in ways that are easy to review.
- It highlights key facts and information for each topic.
- It allows students to include information later underneath a column.
The Sentence Method
The Sentence note-taking method is one of the simplest ways wherein students write down each topic as a note sentence. It is ideal for fast-paced lessons where students need to cover a lot of information.
Benefits of Sentence Method:
- When students jot main points, it helps them determine which information is crucial and which is not.
- It allows them to cover a lot of details and information quickly.
- The notes are simplified and serve as a perfect study and review material.
How do you write notes in Sentence style?
- Every line on the page can be used for a new and separate topic in sentence style.
- Students can organize their notes even more by using headings for each main topic.
- They can jot down all the important details that a teacher emphasizes. The details can be in the form of a sentence or point.
- Students must use headings to separate points from main topics.
Important Tips for Note Taking
Note-taking strategies can be made more effective by following the tips given below:
- Outline: Students must take well-organized notes in the form of outlines to identify the main ideas at a glance. Begin with large and work down to details.
- Simplify: It is vital to take notes in the form of complete thoughts. However, you must abbreviate, simplify, and reduce wherever possible. Remember, you do not have to create another textbook.
- Don’t copy: When you create your notes, you need not copy word by word. Do not try to write every word that the teacher utters in class. In doing so, there are chances that you might fall behind and miss out on important things.
- Utilise your pages: Begin a new topic on a fresh page and start a new set of notes each day. It adds to clarity and makes your notes easier to read and study.
- Isolate the specialised vocabulary: It is important to highlight and create a separate section for writing down difficult or new words/terms. You must include definitions so that you have all you require on a particular page when you study.
- Separate facts from the opinion: It is vital to add your ideas/ or your teachers’ opinions but ensure that you separate them from facts.
- Employ symbols: You must develop your symbols to identify or emphasise various points in your notes. You can use circles, underlines, arrows, or other symbols that make your notes meaningful.
- Add visuals: Including diagrams, flowcharts, and other visuals help you understand concepts faster.
- Make things colourful: You do not want to create another book for yourself. The best way to remove monotony is to use coloured pens and follow a pattern that makes it easier for you to skim through your notes.
- Rephrase: Students must rephrase what they are reading in their own words. However, be careful and do not alter the keywords. At times it is good to quote rather than rephrase.
- Document why a section is important: Including comments such as why the section is important can help you focus on that section more when you study again. For instance, you can add that the teacher mentioned this thrice in a live lecture. This practice ensures that you do not miss out on anything important.
- Think ahead: You must brainstorm and add details on where this note would fit into a paper or how it will prepare you for a test.
Good note-taking strategies kickstart good preparation and guarantee outshine results. Taking organized notes improves your understanding of every topic and allows you to recall everything you have learned in class or self-study. Students can try these note-taking strategies and see which one works best.
1. What are the important elements of note-taking?
The most effective note-taking strategies consist of three elements:
1. Observing: Students must observe what important points need to be incorporated into their notes. It is vital to pay attention and avoid distractions while observing.
2. Recording: It is the most crucial part of note-taking because you might know what is important, but if you do not present it the right way, you will miss out on the essence.
3. Reviewing: To err is common, and therefore, you must review your notes. Check for inconsistencies or gaps and fill them out with the right information. Also, reviewing your notes within 24 hours allows you to fix important concepts to long-term memory.
2. What is the most common note-taking method?
The Outlining method is one of the most popular note-taking strategies for school and college students. Students preparing for competitive exams prefer this method because it allows them to organise their notes in a structured form. It also saves a lot of time for further editing and reviewing. Moreover, this note-taking method allows students to lift important information at a glance and thus speeds up learning and revising.
3. Should I refer to multiple books for JEE 2022 note-making?
Subject experts suggest that students should refer to several books while creating their notes. A different book might have examples that you can connect with and develop a better grasp of the topic. This practice is helpful, especially in the last few months when you sit down to revise the entire syllabus. At that moment, it is not possible to go hunting for different topics in different books. So, when you create your study material by referring to several books, you have all the necessary information at your fingertips. Orient yourself towards qualifying JEE Mains 2022 and Advanced, refer to these top 10 books for JEE preparation.