How to take efficient notes: A 101 guide

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How to take efficient notes: A 101 guide

An example of bullet notes.

An example of bullet notes.

Photo taken by Anna Drabik

An example of bullet notes.

Photo taken by Anna Drabik

Photo taken by Anna Drabik

An example of bullet notes.

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We’ve all been taking countless amounts of notes since middle school. All our notes come in very different formats that our teachers have presented to us. However, have you ever stopped and asked yourself the question: is this note-taking strategy helping me learn anything? If the answer is no, you might need to find a new note-taking strategy that will help you excel in class and on tests. If you’re still reading, feel free to scroll down and read my three ways of note-taking to push you in the right direction.


Outlining Method

If I’m being completely honest, outlining method it definitely my favorite. The concept is quite simple and it will be easy to keep your notes organized. The first thing you do is write the main term or topic before proceeding to the next line, indenting, and writing details beneath the term. For every new term, you repeat the same process. If there are terms that are more important than the others, feel free to highlight them or go over them in pen.


Bullet Notes

Bullet notes are a more simplistic version of outlining notes. While these notes are a bit less organized, they are definitely a lot faster when you’re taking video notes. I constantly find myself using bullet notes when I’m in history class, or basically whenever I’m just trying to get every little piece of information crammed into my notebook. Even if these notes aren’t your style, they’re a base line that you can always go back and organize into what you like best.


Annotating

At this point, everyone has had the dreadful experience with annotating. As much as we wouldn’t like to admit it, annotating helps for jotting down quick notes that we would like to remember.  For example, when your teacher tells you to carefully read over a piece of text they’ve given you, annotating should definitely be your go-to. All you really need is a highlighter and a pencil; highlight important lines and jot down a quick summary in the margin. If you feel like the margin may not be enough space, feel free to use sticky notes to attach your summary onto the page. When the test is rolling around or when your teacher asks to see your notes, you’ll have your notes handy and you won’t have to reach into your brain in order to remember what it is you read.


Personally, these note-taking tactics have definitely helped me since I started high school. Even so, it may not be useful to you. You aren’t only limited to these three options, feel free do a quick google search, there are several more strategies that will boost your note-taking skills. Although, I hope my suggestions push you in the right direction.

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