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Note-taking Methods & Tips

organization useful tips

Did you know that after 9 hours you will forget 60% of what you saw in class? This is why it's important to practice active listening, take notes and review the information afterwards. This leads us to tip #1: Handwritten notes help more when it comes to remembering factual and conceptual information.
There is no correct way to take notes, this can be different for each person. Explore these 6 methods and try them out first. Stick to the method or methods that work for you.

1. Cornell Note-Taking

This one is ideal for preparing and revising for exams, recording main concepts, and when in lectures. Note that it's helpful to have the page ready beforehand, and you will need time afterwards to summarize the information.

How to:

- On an A4 paper sheet, rule your paper with a 2.5 inch margin on the left, leaving a 6-inch space on the right. On the bottom, leave around 2 inches of space (see example below).

- During class, take notes on the right side. For every new idea or point, skip a few lines to divide the information. On the left side, write keywords or the main ideas of the topic. It can also be for questions that can help during a study session or that the teacher says will be on the test. 

- When class is over, summarize the information on the bottom part of the page. This should be concise and to the point.

Tip #2: Cover the right side of the page and leave the left side visible. Go through each main idea/question and say what you know/answer. Reveal the right side to check!

2. Sentence Note-Taking

This method works best for an organized lecture where a lot of information is being given at a quick pace. It's like taking information point by point without knowing how it all fits. Know that it's not helpful when studying, and it might be necessary to edit and re-organize the information later on. 

How to:

- As the teacher speaks, number or bullet point, every new thought or idea on a separate line. 

3. Outline Note-Taking

Try this method out when there is time to think and organize the ideas being given in class. If there is a clear structure in the information where A leads to B and then to C, this method is quite useful. For example, it's not suitable for chemistry or math class. These notes are great for studying because it showcases a hierarchy where there is an obvious connection.
How to:
- Listen and process the information.
- Determine the main point which will go far to the left. Under it, with indentation, write the supporting ideas. Each on a separate line. Use numbers or bullet points.
- Do the same for each main point in the subject.

4. Boxing Note-Taking

This method is suitable for digital note-taking with a stylus pen. The information is organized in a way that helps those who are visual learners. It's great for splitting information into sections, which later on helps when going back to study the topic.
How to:
- As the teacher speaks, take notes by topic, dividing each main topic into separate boxes. 
- Go from box to box and add information that is being given, feeding each main point.

5. Mapping Note-Taking

If it's a lecture with heavy content, or it's a guest where you don't know how the information will be presented, this method is perfect. Take into account it's for information that can be branched out into sup topics. Though these notes give a comprehensive overview of a subject, it can be time-consuming to organize it correctly.
How to:
- Start with the main topic at the top of the page.
- Divide the supporting ideas on the left and right, take notes if necessary under these.
- Continue branching out according to the information.

6. Charting Note-Taking

This method is for recording statistics, facts, or data. For example, when there is information about big events in history. Easily take notes of what it was, when, who, and where. Note that it helps to have the chart prepared beforehand.
How to:

- Determine the categories that fit the subject.

- Fill out the rows organizing the data.

Tip #3: Use this method to study information that needs memorizing. After class, organize it in a chart and quiz yourself.
The last few tips:
- For long lectures, sit close to the front to encourage active listening.
- Use abbreviations and symbols to be efficient when taking notes.
- Review your notes within 24 hours and then 2 more times in the same week to memorize information.
- Use color when taking notes! For example, purple is for titles/headings, yellow for definitions and pink for information that needs to be memorized.
We hope this information was useful for you and that that it get's you ready for school! 

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