It’s 2022! A new semester with lots of goals and achievements ahead. But what about academic goals? Are you stuck in a never-ending loop of stress and nervousness when it is comes time for exams and tests ranging from small quizzes to standardized tests?
If you ever felt like reviewing for a test was hard, here are some tips to write great, quick, and effective notes to help you feel better and more confident about taking tests. Let me share a secret with you all. Tests are just a lot of questions where you have to click or write the correct answer. I get it — they determine your grades, and sometimes if you move on to another grade, it can be stressful!
Now technology has advanced a lot over the past decade since smartphones became the new normal. Some people (like me) prefer to take notes online rather than the old school pencil and paper (which is also COMPLETELY fine — I love notebooks and pens!) Taking digital notes can either mean opening a document and typing or (as I do it) opening a tablet/iPad and using an electronic pencil to take handwritten notes digitally. Both ways are completely fine and have their own advantages!
Whatever your norm is, in today’s article, I will be talking about how to start your academic year productively by taking good and effective notes, both digitally and traditionally. Let’s get started!
#1. Have a proper heading for your notes.
I recommend that when starting a new lesson, always write what the name of the lesson is! That way, when you are revising, you know where this information comes from. Not only will this tip help you in the present, but also in the future! This will keep you organized and help you understand what key concepts are covered in each lesson or chapter. This is very beneficial as it reinforces your learning and helps you stay focused.
#2. Write down the date of when you are writing the notes.
I can’t even believe I have to say this, but the first two things I mentioned should come almost immediately as you open a new blank page to write! Other than the obvious reasons, writing the date helps you recall when this information was covered. If you have a segment exam coming up, you’ll get an idea of how old the information is and you weigh the importance of which notes to cover now and which notes are not that important to study again since they are fresh in your mind.
#3. Don’t squish everything into one page.
As tempting as it is to make notes for every lesson in a module fit a single page in your notebook, it is not going to be any good for you other than saving pages. Honestly, this is not a very good idea as you will have to leave important information out for the sake of prettiness. Sometimes we forget that writing down notes is for studying, not for displaying them in an art gallery. Make sure you include all the important information, examples, definitions, keywords, and others — even if it takes more than one page to do so.
#4. Have a consistent and cohesive pattern.
What I mean by this is don’t keep switching the way you write notes. For example, if you follow the Cornell method on one page and then follow the mind map or the boxing method, you will be very confused when it comes to reviewing your notes for tests. It is better to stick with a method that is easy for you to use and the subject you are using it for. This also helps you expect how the layout for each page will be so you don’t have to waste time creating new rules and layouts for each lesson.
#5. Have a consistent handwriting.
Frankly, it is difficult to have neat handwriting when you are taking notes. Whether it is done while watching a video, attending live classes, or even if you are reading off of a lesson! Instead of focusing on very neat handwriting, write at a quick pace, but make sure it is legible to at least you as you will need your notes most. Also, don’t switch the way you write on each page, meaning if you write in cursive for one, don’t go back to printed writing. It is time-consuming and doesn’t make sense! Choose the type of handwriting style that is most comfortable for you to write with, and all things will be well.
#1. Take advantage of all the tools being presented to you.
One of the best things about digital notetaking is that you have a lot of options available to you, such as highlighting, bold, underlining, italicizing, etc. Whenever you feel like there is a need to emphasize information using one of these, go for it! When you come back later and review the notes you have typed, it will help you make sense of what words or phrases are most important to these notes and help you keep track of important content.
#2. Create folders for your notes.
Most likely, you will have different classes, and each of those classes will need notes for you to perform well when the time comes. It is very important that you can actually FIND your notes! So make sure that you save them and create different folders for your notes: what subject it is, what module you are on, and whether they are actually notes or assignments you have completed. It will help you stay organized and you will know where to look for review.
#3. Find a note-taking software/website that best suits you.
There are thousands of different apps, websites, and software you can install or search the web. It is very important that you understand the note-taking app you finally choose and get familiar with all the features. After all, you would need to know how to use that app so that you get the most out of it! There are many good ones out there, so your answer might just be a search or a click away!
#4. Make sure to stick with ONE note-taking software/website.
It is crucial that you use one website to write all your notes in! You might know other types of websites, but it is always best to use one as it minimizes the chances of you getting your notes lost or unsaved. Also, it is much easier to find your notes whenever you need to reference them in the future. Won’t you feel more reassured when you know that you know where exactly all your notes are stored instead of using thousands of websites and creating mess, chaos, and confusion?
#5. Make your notes interactive and fun!
One of the best things about digital notes is that you can make them more professional and fun when you look at them! You can incorporate different diagrams, photos, and colors to help your notes look better and stand out. This can also help you visualize a process or analyze the content better! Making your notes interactive is a fun way for you to enjoy notes and retain information better.
I hope that at least one of these tips help you in the future and start off the year in a nice and productive way! Remember to work SMARTER and not HARDER!
Image Credit: Pixabay