A good student is known by his or her note though this might not be in all cases. A good note is not about how voluminous it is, but how detailed or how valuable the points contained in the note, and the student’s ability to read and understand.
Not all lecturers give notes or handouts in their courses. Sometimes, the lecturer might ask you to browse and form your note. And this might be the note you will read for your exams, and that means you have to form a good note which will add to your scores in your exams. Bad study notes drain your time and makes studying harder. Some of the strategies to apply when forming a note or when taking down notes in your class are listed below:
- The first thing in making your note is that you need to be sure of the topic and the course you are making your note on. This will help you to be focused and know what to do so you don’t go around in circles.
- When making your notes, headings and subheadings are very important which must be underlined. Sometimes, when you remember the headings, it is possible you will still remember at least 60 percent of what the heading is about. In making notes, everything should be in the right order so you understand. A good note should start with introduction or definition before moving to explanations, and conclusions should be last.
- If you are browsing or using materials or textbooks to form your note, you will come across big words. It is better to write your notes in words you will understand. This will help you easily remember it in exams. You must not use the big words found in the textbook, rather you can check the meaning of the word and replace it with a simpler word with the same meaning.
- In a situation you are taking notes in class; make sure you understand what the lecturer is saying, that way, you would understand or know how to put it down on paper to your understanding, but if your note is from the internet or textbook, read with understanding before putting it down.
- Note making is not about the number of pages but how valuable the points. Make sure you stick to the topic instead of diverting or writing many pages with no valuable point. Before making your notes, think of what you want to get out of your notes before you start.
- Always write down your own explanation of what something says or means. Make your notes brief and be selective. Use your own words to summarize.
- Know the contents of your notes so you can apply it whether in class presentation, test or exams. Keywords and names should always be jotted down.
- Some students make note once and believe that is enough. Do not dwell on making a note just once. The truth about making notes is that the first time you make your notes, the note might be long. Going through it again, you might end up forming another note from it but shorter and more valuable with points. Your notes should not be made once, but always revisit your notes and cut them down, putting down valuable points. As you read through your work, cut out what you think is not important.
- Having too many notes can be almost as problematic as not having enough. The key strategy is to prepare your mind before note taking or note making. If your lecturer is always too fast, recording might help and then you can listen to the recording later and form your notes from there or include what you had left out while taking down notes in class.
- While taking down notes, you can decide to use some abbreviations but do not get so used to abbreviations to the extent of using it in exams; you might lose some marks due to this.
- Reviewing your notes within 24 hours of taking it down in class will help you not to forget the explanations and helps you to make corrections where necessary.
- You can always write down your questions and ask later where you do not understand rather than assuming you understand everything.
- Do not waste time and space writing down information that you already know. Always write down information you have never learned before or that you won’t remember off hand.
- Always make your notes neat, organized, well structured and appealing. This way, you will be able to read and it will make sense to you. When your notes are messy and disorganized, you will feel lazy and reluctant to read it. Always start a new topic on a fresh page, do not make everything look congested on one page.
- Have a consistent format of structuring your notes. Do not use different formats on different day, that way, anytime; when you pick up your note, you will understand it.