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How to Take Effective Study Notes

Posted in Tips & Advice

How to Take Effective Study Notes

Having effective study notes help student develop a better understanding of a topic and help remember and learn concepts.   With exams around the corner, having well organized notes by subject, will significantly reduce stress and allow students to focus on review versus learning concepts from scratch.

Developing strong note taking strategies also encourages students to better focus on the teachers' lesson and helps connect ideas between topics.

Here are some of our favourite tips to strengthen students' note taking:

1) Write Notes in Your Own Words: Avoid writing directly from a textbook or existing notes.  Part of the process of note taking is to encourage thinking on subjects and how different topics link together.   Writing your own notes forces students to understand the concept and verbalize it on their own.

2) Use Colour:  Make studying fun by highlighting certain words, terms or mnemonic devices by colour to reinforce ideas.

3) Diagrams:  These are a wonderful strategy to draw pictures to associate with topics.  In particular with science, using diagrams for biology, chemistry and physics can help visualize and better understand a concept.

4) Use a Notebook or Binder:  Having random sheets of paper can cause students to loose notes or cause them to fall out of order.  We recommend using a notebook or binder to ensure that papers stay together in their intended order.

5) Don't be Afraid to Re-write Notes:  If a concept is difficult or it is sure to come up on an exam, re-writing notes can help consolidate and solidify the item.

6) Keep Notes in an Organized Manner: Use headings and subheadings helps students find the section they are looking to study for.

7) Use Technology:  Digitize your content in the cloud (ie. Google Drive) so you can access your notes on any device as you are studying.

8) Record your Notes: Use a voice recording app to read and record your notes.  Reading and then listening to your notes can be more effective than only reading.

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