Learn strategic ways to take better notes in school or at work. Improve your note-taking skills for class or meetings with these effective note-taking systems.

Note-taking is a skill that comes especially in handy in school. You may be already pretty good at taking notes in high school, but have you ever thought about making an upgrade, especially if you’re heading to university? Or perhaps incorporate your note-taking skills into the workplace?

While note-taking may seem as simple as jotting down the key points or writing down everything verbatim, taking a closer look into this skill will make you realize that there’s more to it than meets the eye. It offers so many benefits that you may haven’t discovered yet.

For starters, it helps you remember concepts more clearly and gain a better understanding of a certain topic. Effective note-taking also reduces your stress when the exam period comes around. In this article, we will cover the different techniques you can use to improve your note-taking technique.

Effective Note-Taking Systems To Take Better Notes

Everyone has a unique way of learning and studying, often depending on the subjects. You just need to explore your options to find the one that fits just right for you. And so, without further ado, let’s take a look at the six effective methods for note-taking.

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1. Charting Method

The charting method makes use of columns, dividing them into three parts to organize information. This note-taking method is most ideal for lessons that have several facts or relationships between topics.

Compared to other methods, this one is the most laid-back. Nonetheless, it’s valuable for students who like highlighting the key points on various topics to organize the facts better for easier review.

Charting Method of Note Taking

2. Flow Notes Method

This holistic approach of note-taking is ideal for students who wish to maximize their active learning inside the classroom while minimizing their time for reviewing. The main concept of flow notes is to see yourself as a student, instead of transcribing like a computer.

You’re free to jot down topics, make some doodles and diagrams, draw arrow and graphs, you name it. Let your mind loose while keeping the material or topic in mind. When writing and drawing, try to actively learn at the same time.

Just remember that when you’re using flow-based note-taking, you must not transcribe. Rather, your goal is to learn the material, whether while in the class or for a later time.

Flow Chart Method of Note Taking

3. Mind Mapping Method

A bit like flow-notes method, mind-mapping is a visual representation of information through the use of boxes, lines, bubbles, or any other visual markers. This technique works best for subjects that have complex or connecting topics and abstract ideas like chemistry, philosophy, and history.

The maps will be your visual guide for every topic that’s related to one another, thus, giving you the chance to delve deeper into the particular topics or ideas. Usually, students who use mind mapping start off using general ideas then branching out later into sub-concepts during the course or as they review. The common things used for “branches” are formulas, dates, concepts, and support facts, between people and events.

Mind Map Method of Note Taking

RELATED: 7 Tips On How To Take Better Notes During Online Class

4. The Cornell Method

Like the charting method, the Cornell technique is another division kind of note-taking where you organize your paper into three parts: notes, cues, and summary. Developed by Cornell University, hence the name, this is the most common technique of taking notes. Key points are necessary for this method, but it’s more in-depth when it comes to organizing.

The first part is your cue section where the main points, possible questions, people, and more are written. This section helps you recall larger ideas and topics. Next to it is a much wider column reserved for your actual notes. It’s for going into detail on those cue points.

When determining the specifics, use numeric bullets and indent them. Roman numerals or letters are also okay. Then finally, the summary section is where you write up the summary of all information in a sentence or two. Keep it clear and succinct. Your cue section should also be simple like your summary, with only the note column having all the details.

Cornell Method of Note Taking

5. The Outline Method

Known for its simplicity, the Outline Method is one of the easiest note-taking methods you can learn. Anyone can easily swing this method since it comes pretty naturally to man. When using this method, choose 4-5 key points that will be tackled in a certain lecture.

Under those points, be more detailed about the sub-points for each topic as the lecturer talks about them. If you are jotting down notes by hand, leave enough room on each page so you have lots of space for all the sub-points. You can also computerize them and arrange them better as you go over your notes.

The Outline Method is very straightforward and aids you in following along and paying attention during class. You can use your notes to ask questions to yourself to see how much you’ve actually learned instead of just rereading them again and again.

Outline Method of Note Taking

6. The Sentence Method

This method only has one rule: write down each topic as a sentence. If you want a simple method of flow notes, then this one’s for you. In essence, it’s transcription at its finest since you’re just gonna write down everything your professor said to the best that you can.

The Sentence Method works great for fast-paced lessons where there are lots of information being discussed. The thing is, it can be hard to keep up with everything especially when writing notes by hand. And surely, there’ll be key ideas and points you won’t be able to catch up on. Using a laptop can help you keep up better but there may still be challenges.

Sentence Method of Note Taking

Each method has its own good points depending on certain situations, the subject, and your preferences. Knowing which method works best for you helps you take organized and clear notes. Consequently, this leads to better understanding and recall of whatever you’ve learned in class. If you still aren’t sure about which method calls for you, you can try them one by one in your next classes to see first-hand how each method feels for you.


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