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Mougins School

The Learning Curve

Mastering Effective Note-Taking
  • Secondary Matters
Jane BARTHELAY

Note-taking is a skill that can significantly impact a student's understanding and retention of information. At our Inclusion department, we understand the diverse needs of our students and have honed in on various strategies to enhance the note-taking experience. This article aims to provide a set of golden rules that can help your note-taking approach, ensuring efficiency and effectiveness.

 

Don’t be tempted to write down everything that the teacher says. Take that time to focus on understanding.

Don’t copy chunks from the textbook - this isn’t time efficient.  You will just be re-writing a page that you have already got.

Don’t write out notes several times, just to make them neater.  Rather tidy up messy notes by drawing squares round notes that go together. Do remember to use useful, memorable symbols and abbreviations for common words.

Do organise your notes using different colours, dividers, coloured Post-Its.

Do label books for note-taking clearly.  If you have 2 exercise books of the same colour, make the difference noticeable.

Do organise your notes under headings or questions.

Do keep a content page updated if you have a lot of notes.

Do leave space in your notes - a wide margin or space after a sub-topic to add notes later if needed.

Do use a graphic organiser if they work for you.

Do make keywords matter  - they should be big, bold and stand out.

Do use pictures, arrows and any other image that could help jog your memory when you don’t have the notes in front of you.

Do read your notes regularly.  If you read them out loud or record them for later listening, this will help store them in your long-term memory.

Once you identify your most effective note-taking method, ensure your notes are easily accessible, and review them regularly, incorporating any new material multiple times a week. Categorise your notes into three sections: those you know well, those requiring more frequent revision, and those you don't know. Prioritise the last two sections for more regular review than the first.

Share your notes verbally or through presentations with anyone willing to listen. Use visual aids like posters or mind maps, placing them on walls, mirrors, or doors for reinforcement. When it's time to revise, infuse your sessions with fun and memorable elements, increasing the likelihood of retaining the information.
 

To sum up

Don'ts:

  • Avoid Copying Chunks

  • Don't Write Out Notes Several Times

  • Don't Overload Notes:

Do's:

  • Focus on Understanding

  • Embrace Organisation

  • Headings and Questions

  • Leave Space

  • Use Graphic Organisers

  • Make Keywords Stand Out

  • Review your notes regularly

  • Share Your Knowledge

  • Use Fun and Memorable Revision

 

Mastering the art of note-taking is a personal journey, and finding the right approach is crucial for academic success. Implementing these rules will not only streamline your note-taking process but also contribute to a more effective and enjoyable learning experience. Experiment with these strategies, discover what works best for you, and watch your academic journey thrive.

  • Secondary