Good study notes are crucial to learning. The main objective of making notes is to promote active learning and to have the best notes handy for last-minute revision. It is important to understand how to make notes the right way. Notetaking keeps students active during class, gives them clarity of thought, keeps them engaged with the lesson, and helps in organising information effectively.
Here, we cover the characteristics of good study notes and best note taking tips to get the most out of a student’s learning. You will also find note taking tips for visual learners that you can share with your students.
The best notes are those that are easy to understand even if a student looks at them after a month, a year or a decade! They are crisp, short, comprehensive and save time when revising concepts before exams. Good study notes cover all important concepts from lectures, books, reading material and internet sources. Most importantly, they should be written neatly or typed. For best note taking tips, read on.
You can instruct students to write down only the important facts, concepts or points. Dates, formulae, exceptions, laws, etc. are important components of good notes. Initially, students may find it hard to write down everything quickly while a class is ongoing. However, with practice, they will get the knack of making notes. The secret is in writing fast and in converting their thoughts into words quickly and efficiently.
One of the best note taking tips is to not overdo the notes. Often, students try to fit everything they read or listen to in class into their notes. If students focus more on writing down everything they hear, they may end up missing important points from the lecture. Instead, you can ask them to write down fundamental concepts in short sentences. But they should make sure they don’t go overboard.
Another important tip is to ask questions. If students missed something while taking notes, especially if you are going at a fast pace, they should be given a chance to ask you to repeat the point. Lastly, once they are done note-taking, you can ask students to compare their notes with those of their peers.
While most students write down notes easily, some students, especially visual learners cannot cope with the process. One of the best note taking tips for visual learners is to make graphical representations of the content, like mind maps, flowcharts, venn diagrams and images.
Once students have taken down notes, it is important to organise them correctly. You can instruct students to divide their notes into sections based on important questions, previous years’ questions, topic-wise pointers and so on. This way, they will always know where to find notes on a particular concept or for a particular purpose (to prepare for a test, to revise a concept, and so on). In fact, the best way to study notes is to keep going back to them time and again. Through spaced repetition of the notes, students will be able to retain information efficiently and recall it when needed.
These were our tips on how to make good study notes you can share with your students. Keep reading for more tips on the SuperTeacher blog. SuperTeacher is an all-in-one teaching platform for all your needs!