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Five ways to take better notes

Five ways to take better notesTaking notes is one of the most important skills for successful studying, but you don’t want to drown in paper. Here are some top tips for keeping your note-taking in control.

There isn’t a ‘right’ way to take notes. In fact, the more personal your style is, the more effective it will probably be. That said, there are a few guidelines you need to make sure your notes are useful when it comes to revising.

Show your sources

Before you start taking notes, make sure you’ve written down where you got the information from, whether it is a particular lesson, book or magazine. This should make it easier to find out more, if you need extra facts when you come to do your homework, assignments or revision.

Break it up

Make sure you don’t write in one continuous chunk. You need to use lots of sub-headings and bullet points so when you come to read it again, you can pick important sections and key facts. Organizing your notes like this will also help you to understand the information, as you'll have to think about the structure and decide which points are most important.

Don’t copy, write!

Try to write in your own words rather than just copying down large amounts of text. It will help you to understand what you’re reading and will help you to memorize as you are writing. The exception comes if you need to note down an important quotation exactly as written. Make sure you note down where any quotations come from to avoid plagiarism.

Less is more

The point of note-taking is that you are compressing information. This means that should try to keep your notes short. Always keep in mind why you’re taking notes – if it’s for a particular project, only write down points that will be relevant.

Get filing

It sounds boring and obvious, but if you can’t find your notes, then there’s no point in doing them. Invest in a file and some dividers, then make sure you put your notes in the right section. It will make your revision much less stressful!

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