4 Tips to Writing Study Notes

India has some of the best tourist attractions – the Taj Mahal, Holy City of Varanasi, and the University of Ancient Taxila, one of the world’s oldest universities.

Indians consider teaching as a noble profession. They celebrate National Teacher’s Day to commemorate Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, one of India’s best educators.  On YouTube, there are many Indian channels dedicated to learning – passing government exams, learning math, and studying techniques.

One vlogger shared one of her study hacks – getting university study notes in India.

Here are some tips on note-taking to help you get started.

Prepare Your Note-Taking Strategy

Taking notes from lectures, textbooks, and discussions will require different note-taking styles.

For lectures, the Cornell and Sentence Methods are suitable.  If you are taking notes from textbooks, use the Outlining, Mapping, or Charting Methods to create outlines, mind maps, and tables. In the case of study groups, the Sentence Method will be useful in jotting down main points.  If you need examples of these note-taking styles, look for services wherein you can access a library of study notes and guides.

Use color-coded highlighters to scan notes for details quickly.  As a guide, use the following colors in your university study notes in India:

  • Blue – for names of people
  • Red – for locations
  • Green – for concepts
  • Purple – for words or ideas you need to research.

Focus on Taking Notes

Listen attentively to the professor. Watch out for the following verbal cues indicating that he is about to say something important:

  • Introducing topics
  • Outlining the lecture
  • Emphasizing valuable information
  • Mentioning less important information
  • Defining terms
  • Drawing and giving examples
  • Rephrasing
  • Concluding

Instead of writing down everything he says, paraphrase essential information.  If you want to write faster, have your own set of abbreviations.

However, if you have problems concentrating, try Avadhana, an ancient technique wherein practitioners focus simultaneously on unrelated subjects.

Review Your Notes

The secret behind remembering new information is to review or rewrite notes within 24 hours. Here are some things you should do:

  • Create order by rewriting notes
  • Highlight, underline or mark essential details
  • Add illustrations or doodles to personalize the information
  • Annotate the margins with symbols (like asterisks and arrows), keywords, and comments. You could write down questions you intend to raise in a future class or make your review questions.
  • Elaborate by connecting with what you already know
  • Write down examples if you missed out on anything.
  • Fill in some missing information.
  • Summarise the main idea in a few sentences
  • Close your eyes and see the “big picture.”
  • Create an index of keywords for future flashcards
  • Discuss or teach another person to cement the ideas in your mind
  • Review old notes and connect with new information

An article by Indian tutoring school Khan Academy mentioned that taking notes using mnemonic techniques is an effective way to learn.

Read Before Attending Classes

Read or research some materials before class, use the SQ3R technique.

  • Survey – involves skimming the chapters, outline, and illustrations for a few minutes.
  • Question – list down questions that will guide you in discovering information
  • Read – involves reading to answer your questions.
  • Recite – means expressing the main ideas in your own words.
  • Review – after reading the entire section, summarising with your own words

If you follow this technique before attending class, you would have covered the basics.  Listening to the lecture will add more to what you already know.

These four tips will equip you in taking notes – practice them before your next class.

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