When you are in college, the most essential thing to do is attend classes. However, what good would be attending classes if you aren’t able to take notes effectively? Notes help in retaining information and make learning easier. Taking concise and well-structured notes enhances focus, concentration, and active engagement. Notes serve as valuable references for later review and aid in exam preparation. Note-making promotes critical thinking, analysis, and collaborative learning. It allows for filtering out irrelevant details and capturing key points. In this article, we will discuss the best ways to take notes. 

The Best Methods To Take Notes 

There are various note-taking approaches, each with advantages and suitability for different learning styles and contexts. The following are the best three.  

  1. The Cornell Method 
  • How Do You Use It? 

To effectively use the Cornell Method of note-making, follow these steps: 

  1. Divide your paper: Draw a vertical line about 2.5 inches from the left side of the page to create a narrow column on the left. Leave the remaining space on the right for the main note-taking area. Reserve a bottom section for summarising key points. 
  1. During a lecture or while reading, focus on capturing the main ideas, important details, and critical concepts in the right-hand column.  
  1. In the left-hand column, jot down cues or keywords that act as prompts for the content in the right-hand column. These cues should be brief and help trigger your memory when reviewing the notes later. 
  1. After the lecture or reading, review your notes, and use the cues in the left-hand column to test your recall and understanding of the material. Cover the right-hand column and attempt to fill in the missing information based on the cues. 
  1. In the bottom section of the page, write a summary of the key points and concepts covered in the notes. This section provides a concise overview of the material and serves as a quick reference during revision. 
  • Advantages: 
  1. Organisation: Structured layout for easy review. 
  1. Active engagement: Encourages summarising and comprehension. 
  1. Efficient review: Cues aid in the quick recall of main points. 
  1. Flexibility: Adaptable to different subjects and styles. 
  1. Integration of information: Connects lecture and textbook notes. 

2. The Mapping Method 

  • How Do You Use It? 
  1. Start with a central idea or topic: Write it down in the centre of the page. This central idea serves as the main focus of your map. 
  1. Branch out with main points: Identify the main points or subtopics related to the central idea and create branches extending from the centre. These branches represent the key concepts or categories. 
  1. Use visuals and symbols: Utilise symbols, colours, and diagrams to enhance understanding and make the map visually appealing. Use arrows or lines to show relationships and connections between ideas. 
  1. Capture keywords and short phrases: Instead of writing in sentences, use keywords or short phrases to summarise information.  
  • Advantages: 
  1. Visual representation: Enhances understanding through visuals. 
  1. Clear overview: Shows hierarchy and connections. 
  1. Promotes creativity: Encourages engagement and interpretation. 
  1. Flexibility: Adaptable to different learning styles. 
  1. Simplifies complex topics: Breaks down information effectively. 

3. The Charting Method 

  • How Do You Use It? 

To effectively use the Charting Method of note-making, follow these steps: 

  1. Identify categories and columns: Determine the types or topics relevant to the subject you are studying. Create columns to represent each category across the top of the page. 
  1. Label rows for subtopics or details: Identify the subtopics, details, or specific information related to each category. Label rows vertically on the left side of the page. 
  1. Fill in the chart: Fill in the cells of the chart by recording the corresponding information for each category and subtopic. Use concise phrases or bullet points to capture key details. 
  • Advantages: 
  1. Clarity and organisation: Provides a clear structure for information. 
  1. Efficient comparison: Easy identification of relationships. 
  1. Summarisation and synthesis: Deepens understanding and retention. 
  1. Customisable: Adaptable to various subjects. 
  1. Visual cues for memory: Aids in recall and review. 

Happy Note-Taking! 

The realm of note-taking offers a delightful array of techniques, each with distinctive allure. From the structured elegance of the Cornell Method to the visual artistry of mind mapping and the systematic precision of charting, there is a note-taking style to suit every individual. Experiment with different styles, adapting them to our unique learning preferences and subject matters. So, grab your pens, fire up your devices, and embark on this delightful note-taking journey! 

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x