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What are my Note-Taking Methods?

Over here, you'll most likely see how I take up my notes in the classroom while my lectures are going on and how I complete them after reading my study materials.

Again, this method is something that has worked the best for me. It may or may not work for you, but it's definitely worth trying at least.

I have been consistently saying in my previous blogs as well, on how important it is to make your own notes!

Just to add on, I generally do not use my computer to make notes as our University generally does not have a practice of digital note-taking, but since we are currently attending classes from home, I believe, we can use the computers to take up notes.

However, I love writing them down because it helps me memorise the concepts better, so I'm not really sure if that's something I would use.

Although, I do use my computer to take print-outs of course modules and certain topics for which I need to refer the book and can't write down in my notes. (I may be too lazy or the topic is too big and time-consuming for me to make handwritten notes of).

This blog post is about how I make notes using my hand and if you're looking for digital note-taking, you'd be disappointed.

Here's me building the base and then moving forward, step by step.

Step 1:- Knowing what your time-table is, beforehand.

This is very important and of course, a very basic step that each person needs to follow (and I'm sure almost everyone does). Your course modules must have been given to you before your classes actually start (we don't get to choose our subjects), so you already know what subjects are going to be taught for your next semester.

This is important because I do know a lot of people who actually have NO CLUE what they're going to be taught and then just realise it when the classes actually begin.

I added this step in the note-taking part because I LOVE colour-coding my notes and for obvious reasons, if I know what my subjects are beforehand, I can assign colours to each one of them as soon as possible.

Here's how I have colour-coded my notes-

Step 2:- Lecture notes, while the professor is teaching.

I actually don't fret too much over this step. My hands keep moving as quick as they can during the lectures so I keep making notes as the professor speaks.

Let's all be very honest with each other. The pretty notes that we make, are time consuming and amazing when we actually sit down to study. Not really during lectures.

During lectures, your professors sometimes speak faster than the speed of sound and there's 100% chance that you've missed multiple points.

Hence during lectures, I do not recommend doing pretty notes or aesthetic notes or any of that kind because you really do not have the time for this during the classes.

However, what you can actually do is, to take your favourite highlighters and your favourite pen and stick to that.

Here's how I make them-

1. First things first, I have recently switched to binders and loose-papers instead of notebooks, because notebooks take up a lot of space and loose-papers can actually be rearranged in the way I want it to be. I use plain unruled loose A4 size papers to take my current notes. Binders and loose-papers have also been very sustainable for me as I only take up the exact amount of pages that are required for each subject instead of completely wasting 6 different notebooks for 6 different subjects. And more often than not, I tend not to reuse my notebooks for the purpose of next semester's notes, you know, "fresh start". But this is not the case with loose-papers and binders. I can store all of my study materials in a single binder and also not waste papers and notebooks!

2. I take my highlighters which I've assigned to the subject and then write the heading. This is something that I do before the class actually begins, or when the teacher states what they are going to teach on that day.

3. I just keep one pen. Initially, I used to keep multiple pens to write down my notes and used to switch between them a lot, while taking down my class notes. I realised, that this was a waste of time. I used to write the main headings with a black pen and the rest of the notes with a blue pen. I also used to switch between green, orange and red while taking down my notes to mark the important, not so important and other text. But switching the pens in between the classes, was hectic, especially when you need to keep up with what is being taught. So now, I switched to 1 pen theme. The whole of my notes are written down with 1 single colour pen and that is black. This method has reduced a significant amount of time wastage.

4. I write most of my notes in bullet points. Bullet points are easier to understand and they are easy to grasp. Breaking down my notes into bullet points help me in learning my modules better than writing them down in paragraphs.

5. I star-mark (*) the important things and important points which my professor has stated in the classroom or those points which I think are important, myself.

6. I leave margins generally empty and manually make margins for myself. Keeping them empty means adding on certain important points or key-words later on. This is why I like plain papers, because then, I can increase or decrease the length of the margin, depending upon the intensity of the notes or the depth of each subject.

7. As opposed to the common notion, the Cornell Note Taking method has NOT helped me at all. Instead, for some reason (I may be doing it wrong) it has not helped me memorise things, but confused me even more. So I prefer my tried and tested method of outlining little things and making proper notes.

This is how I take my notes in the classroom. Let them be messy, let them be scribbled over. You really don't need to make them look pretty. But, if you do, that is definitely your choice. I personally feel like there isn't any time during my lectures to actually make my notes look pretty, but if you do have the time, then by all means please do it!

Step 3:- Final Note-Taking + Revision.

I do this and have been doing this consistently for two years now.

On days when I am not very tired, I read through my course modules and study materials, then prepare my notes adding on to what has been taught already.

This is something that needs to be done on a daily basis, however, I also sometimes feel overwhelmed with so many different works that I switch to doing all of this during the weekend.

Here's how I prepare the final notes-

1. I first read my notes from my classes once and go over them. Post which I write down using pencil, the points which I think need to be read over again and added over.

2. I use my Bare Acts as references and then see my books. The benefit of this is that I do not have to stress too much on what the professor says in the class and just understand the topic instead of fully taking down the notes and even if I do miss a few points, I can always go back to the rough class notes I made and edit it.

As I keep reading the Bare Act or my books or other study materials, I keep adding points to them- if there is space. If there is no space, then I add another page right after the one which requires me to make changes to. This is why I love loose papers as they can be rearranged and I can keep adding as many papers as I want after any page

3. I then highlight the important points, sub-headings and other things, which need to be highlighted, in my notes.

4. I take print-outs of certain modules, or other chapters or maybe some pages from the textbooks or other study materials and then attach it next to the topic which is being taught. This way, I know what page is attached to which document. Then I highlight the topic which is important, in the study material that I had printed out.

5. Finally, as I read and don't understand a topic, or if I have a query that I need to ask my professor, I make sure to write the question with a pencil so that as soon as my doubts are cleared, I can erase them. As I said, I leave the margins empty, that's where I mark the important segments of the notes or write down the questions that I need to ask when I have my doubts. Once I'm done with the doubts and have them cleared, I write it down in the margins as extra information or key points.

And voila! That's how I take my notes. I know this may seem a bit tiring or that this may seem like it's too much effort, but trust me, I have been sticking to this method for quite some time now and it is amazing! It not only helps you keep your notes organised, but it also helps you remember your subjects very well.

Let me know if this has helped you in any way!

Until next time!


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