Taking notes is an essential part of studying at college. You’ll need to take notes when you are researching a paper, as well as in class and when you go to lectures or conferences. However, notes are only valuable if you can use them when revising or writing assignments. Here are our top 5 tips to make your notes super useful!
1. Make a Summary
When you are taking notes, don’t try to copy down everything that you read. Instead, try to summarize the information in your own words, as this will help you remember it later.
If you’re taking notes in a lecture and don’t have time to write everything out in full as you’re listening, leave space at the bottom of the page so you can write a brief summary at the end.
2. Go Back and Highlight
A great way to consolidate your notes when you are revising (or preferably before!) is to go back over them and highlight or underline important details. You can even annotate them with more information.
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Revision is much simpler if you have filed your notes properly. You can group notes based on date, theme, author or suitability for certain projects.
4. Use Shorthand
This doesn’t have to be the kind of technical shorthand used by journalists. Just having a few shortened terms that you understand, such as w/ for ‘with’ and ‘b/’ for ‘because,’ can save valuable time when you are trying to follow a lecture!
5. Don’t Skimp on the References!
It may feel like hard work, but get into the habit of writing down the full references for whatever text you are taking notes on. This will make it much easier when you come to using your notes for writing a paper. You can then just copy the full reference into your bibliography as soon as you mention the author.