Hey guys! So I’ve been receiving questions regarding my note-taking style and strategy for quite some time now but I believe I have never answered them in detail. The good news is, I finally decided to make a post about this (plus, I had fun making the graphics :D). Note that I am a visual learner, so my note-taking methods may not be effective for some of you, but I hope you can all learn something.
I only use one notebook for all my class notes, an A4 grid notebook whose pages I divide into two columns.
I use the outline method for in-class notes, which means I write information chronologically, in the order that they are taught. Some teachers do not have properly structured presentations/lessons (good thing my physics teacher does) so when in need, I use arrows to connect related information.
Abbreviations to me are one of the most important things to master when taking notes. I personally make them up as I go along. Some examples of abbreviations I use are:
w/c - which
w/ - with
cpd - compound
envt - environment
digenz - digestive enzyme
It might be confusing, but to me, knowing the context and part of speech are enough for all abbreviations to be comprehended.
Here’s an example: ‘Indonesia’s tsunami pre-warning system is made up of two types of components’ could become ‘Indo’s snmi pre-warn sys 2 type comp’.
The first thing I would do is highlight keywords and terminology (and sometimes formulas). For physics, since my teacher is relatively succinct, I don’t really highlight, but for humanities and biology, I look for words that would be expected by a mark scheme, words that are crucial to the understanding of each particular piece of information.
I would then check if the material taught coincides with the syllabus, and if not, note down any points that are missing or have yet to be taught. You could write these on a post it or on the syllabus itself, but I prefer to highlight the syllabus’ pdf file.
My rewritten notes are arranged based on the order they appear in the syllabus unless there are pieces of information that are related to more than one topic.
I use a black pen for rewriting notes as well as colored pens to write keywords and terminology only. I know some people who write whole sentences in colored pens but to me that is ineffective; we all have our own learning styles. When making tables, I usually use different colors for different columns (see the table for different types of radiation above) which is most often the color I associate with each word. For example, water would be blue, ocean would be a darker shade, ice would be a lighter shade, and water vapor would be purple.
I still abbreviate words in my rewritten notes, but they’re not as condensed as the ones in my class notes. Another thing I find helpful is leaving a bit of space between separate points especially if the page doesn’t have a lot of diagrams. I can’t think linearly, so I can’t remember super lengthy bullet points.
I use mildliners and a drawing pen to make my diagrams (more of these in my biology notes) but I only start with pencil if it’s a complex diagram. I rarely highlight my rewritten notes, but even if I do, it’s usually only the headings and formulas.
I don’t have a rough draft for my notes, but I try to visualize the layout. I try to alternate between words and pictures/diagrams so that when I’m sitting for an exam, all I have to do is imagine that I’m looking at that page and I can remember where everything is.
Well, that’s all from me. I hope that this information could be of some use to every single one of you. Don’t hesitate to ask me questions if you’re confused about note-taking or any other problems you might have :)
MARCH MASTERPOST MADNESS PT I as part of a follower milestone and celebrating spring break, i present to you march masterpost madness: a series of masterposts/guides on studying by yours truly!! first up we have math & how to study for it!!
i love math so much it looks like i spend almost all my free time doing it. anyway, i got a few requests asking me how to study best for math and about resources, so i thought it’d be best to start off with this one!!
SO, HOW DO I STUDY FOR MATH?
practice, practice and practice!! this is so important, omg. math is heavy on problem-solving, and most problems require analytical thinking and application of logic — the best way to hone these skills is through plain practice! besides, once you get used to math questions, you find them less intimidating and you get faster and more accurate at solving them! i suggest using practice books (your textbook should be a good starting point) or finding problems online (Khan Academy is great!). A pro tip is to look around your school community (ask teachers, students, librarians) for practice books — most of them will gladly lend you a book they’ve gone through! it’s ideal to practice/do at least one-two questions everyday, or even more! if you’re stuck on a practice problem and have no one to ask to, feel free to ask the mathblrs, wolfram alpha or the internet! (google your question: it has saved me numerous times!!)
pay attention in class!! this is definitely recommended, but it’s really not a must. if you don’t have a strong aptitude for math, i really urge you to do this! listen actively, you don’t have to take note of every word the teacher/lecturer says, but do listen to the most important parts! when a teacher emphasizes something, pay extra attention to that (but don’t leave out any parts of the chapter!).
Today was majorly productive - I’m still a bit behind but I got so much done! The book in the middle “the Cold War” is one I’ve been reading on the train the past few days to try and expand my knowledge for history, but in a more novelised way because I find I take in information from books and textbooks differently. I also managed to finish f my ecologist notes as well as type up some history work and convert them all to pdf’s to print (Never let pdf converting build up - I had over forty files to convert) Also during the day I managed to cram in planning a history source question and a Ecologism question to consolidate some of my knowledge. Late tonight I think I’m going to do some more economics and maybe start writing my history questions and I’m super looking forwards to tomorrow because it’s Starbucks Thursday’s!! :)