How to make effective notes

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I think you’ll agree when I say:

We’ve all had our times where we just don’t feel like going back to review certain notes, and yes it’s annoying.

But if you keep wasting time to make such notes, you’ll never learn to spend your time effectively. Thankfully, though, we’ve got you covered:

Here are our top tips on how to make notes:

But First, Let’s Get Some Things Cleared:

  • You Don’t Need Expensive Stationery.
  • Your Notes Don’t Have To Be Gorgeous.
  • If You Don’t Seem To Enjoy Making Notes, Try Changing The Way. Don’t Give Up Easily.
  • Don’t be bumped up if your notes aren’t as effective in the beginning, it’s a learning process.


Now that we have that cleared, let’s get to how to make notes:

Making notes aka Note taking

Know What To Include In Your Notes:


You obviously cannot put everything the textbook has to say. Note-taking involves segregating important points from lesser ones.

If you’re new, start by making your notes centered towards key points that best explain the concept to you.

After you’ve got that, highlight or underline important points so it catches your attention when you review it later.

You can achieve this by effectively skimming over the text and reviewing and noting down what you feel is important for the topic.

Remember to include only the necessary points in your notes – noting down everything that textbook says isn’t an option.


Keep it simple:


Don’t complicate your notes.

The only reason we don’t prefer using textbooks is the complexity of the way the information is presented and the language used.

Note-taking is pointless if you copy exactly how the textbook says it.

Alter the information in a better, more personalized way of presentation which will help you understand it deeply, and also remember it longer in the process of making the notes.

This can be achieved  by making sure that your notes have a proper structure, and that you input information in the simplest way possible.


Skim Through The Topic:


The first step to taking effective notes is to quickly skim/scan through the text you’ll be taking notes from and read any summaries or practice questions that may be provided at the end of the chapter.

You don’t have to understand everything you read, just glancing at the text and knowing what’s coming up is necessary.

Making notes from textbook

Break Topic Into Sections:


So you’ve skimmed through the entire text: What’s next?

Break the topic into several sections as possible.

Let’s say the topic is on Cell Division, so your possible sections would be “Inter-phase”, “Mitosis and It’s phases”, “Meiosis”, “Inheritance” etc.

Once you’ve successful divided the topic into several parts, deal with each topic per note. Don’t try to fit everything into the same page(unless it’s a mind-map)


Focus On Keywords:


Have you ever wondered why your notes don’t get you top grades sometimes? Well, you don’t meet the requirements.

Now requirements for different teachers, or even different subjects will be different ~ but the one universal requirement is emphasis on keywords.

What are keywords? Keywords are the specific technical words that best explain the referred concept.

For example, “Growth” or “Rest” would be the keywords for Inter-phase stage of cell division.

What do you do when you come across a keyword? Write it down with a different color OR highlight it later. Don’t do both, you wouldn’t be able to read it of you did both.


Add A Visual Aspect:


Chances are, you’ll learn better if a concept is visualized as opposed to just described with words.

For subjects like Physics or Biology, where concepts are at play – You’ll need to add a visual aspect to your notes.

You don’t need to be artist to add a flare to your notes.

Doodling a concept is enough to illustrate it to your brain.

Grab a simple black pen(works best if you decide to color in later) and doodle a simple diagram/schematic on your notes that best helps you understand the concept.


Effectiveness over Aesthetics:


I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again ~ Effectiveness of your note is more important than how it looks.

Sure, good-looking notes make you want to come back to them, but it’ll be all useless if you don’t get anything out of them.

What can you do? For starters, don’t spend way too long making notes.

If you take any more than 30 minutes making a single page of notes – you need to reconsider. My notes take on average 20 minutes to make per page ~ So I get a lot of them done effectively in a short period of time.


Come Up With A Style And Stick To It:


I know having all your notes look kinda similar is very monotonous and boring – But it’s mostly effective.

At least for one subject, make sure you follow the same style for all your notes.

If you like adding a summary at the end of your literature notes, then make sure all your notes have it.

Perfecting your note-taking style will help you make them quicker, make them look aesthetic and make the most out of it ~ because you know where exactly to extract most of the vital information from.


Decide Whether You Want To Make Notes At All:


I don’t make notes for History/Geography. Why? Because I like how the information is presented in the book, and there’s nothing I could add to it.

Go through all your courses or topics and decide if you want to make notes or not.
How do you decide? Well, from my experience if I understand the entire concept or at least the major part of it just through reading the topic once – I don’t feel the need to make notes on it anymore.

Understand that notes have purpose – that is to personalize the information and make yourself understand and adapt to it.

If any of those things seen lacking while making notes – It’s time to reconsider.


Store Them Effectively:


Needless to say, if you don’t find your notes when you need them – they’re basically useless.

You need to come up or copy an organization system that works for you.

I store my notes in a binder and organize them on the basis of topics and creation date.

I also have different binders for different courses. Find what works for you and abide by it.


So that’s my take on how to make notes guys, I hope you found this post helpful – you can show that by sharing this post with your friends and check out this post on Top Study Mistakes.

and as always,


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