How To Take Notes: 5 Effective Study Techniques

how to take notes

Taking good study notes is easier said than done. To maximize your learning potential, you have to invest some time in learning how to learn.

And that means learning how to take notes! But not just any notes—it means learning how to take good study notes.

What separates good study notes from the rest? You’re about to find out.

What’s The Best Way To Take Notes?

Learning how to take notes is a process. It involves utilizing the best techniques not just for general note taking, but for your personal preferences.

And here’s the beauty of it: there’s no single best way to take notes.

Learning how to take notes is really all about understanding what works best for you. You can become a super learner in no time!

5 Tips For Effective Note-Taking

Effective note-taking can drastically change the way you learn. Take advantage of these 5 tips for effective note taking to get the most of your study sessions:

1. Print lecture slides ahead of time

If you have access to lecture slides or speaker notes ahead of time, print them out. It can be quite effective to take notes this way because you can combine the information on the slides with your own notes in one easy to read package!

2. Use an effective medium

What’s the best way to take notes? By hand, or on the computer?

Some studies have indicated that taking notes by hand may give you the edge come exam time, but it’s really a matter of preference. If you prefer to write your notes by hand, do it. If you prefer to take notes on a laptop, do it!

Pro tip: if you plan to take notes with your laptop, use Google Docs. You can access your notes anywhere and there’s no risk of losing your notes if your computer crashes!

best way to take notes

3. Write the way you speak

Be as conversational as you can when taking notes. Let the speaker, lecturer, or professor worry about the technical jargon.

Take note of important terms and concepts as needed, but don’t clutter your notebook with the terminology you won’t be able to make sense of later. What’s most important is that you write in a way that will make sense to you later when you review your notes!

4. Avoid word for word transcribing

If you’re scrambling to try and jot down each and every word that comes out of your professor’s mouth, you’re likely going to fall behind.

Keep pace with the flow of the lecture by condensing concepts and sentences to a few key phrases or words. Link concepts by drawing arrows or color coding your notes.

5. Review your notes within 24 hours

This is probably the most important tip here, so we wanted to save it for last.

Review your notes! No, not just the day before the exam. Try to review your notes within 24 hours. You’ve likely jotted down some ideas or concepts in short form that you might not be able to make sense of later.

Review what you’ve written down and flesh out any concepts that need expanding. You will definitely thank yourself come test time!

Discover how to unlock your superbrain from Jim Kwik, expert on memory improvement and brain performance. Sign up for his FREE Masterclass below:

Do you have any tips on how to take notes effectively? Share your note-taking tricks in the comments below!

Shannon Terrell

Shannon Terrell is a writer based in Toronto, Canada. She revels in the thrill of exploration, whether it be new cultures, new landscapes, or new ways to bring on the happy. If she’s not hiking or practicing yoga, she probably has her nose in a book.

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