If you are like most Singaporean students, then the chances are that you have been taking notes for most of your life. Note-taking is an undeniable part of academic success, whether for school or your private home tuition classes. So, how does one try to make it an exciting and effective portion of their learning journey?
1. Write down the key points
Whenever you are in class, it can be easy to get wrapped up in the lesson and forget to write down what you need to. You may reason with yourself that you would remember it. However, it may surprise you that humans are more often disposed to forgetting than not, especially when they are first learning new information. The rough estimate is that we tend to forget things only 24 hours after hearing them. Thus, a sure-fire way to remember is to write key points down as it is being said and subsequently review those notes consistently every alternate day. After all, constant reading of notes strengthens neural pathways and aids in memorisation – you might just find that you are able to keep the information in your brain for as long as you keep reading them.
2. Create mind maps
You may have heard of the concept of mind mapping, which is a method of organisation whilst note-taking. This is especially useful when the topic is complex and jam-packed with information. You can then group ideas and subtopics via colour and add visual aids such as drawings.
Essentially, mind mapping arranges the topic or notion on which you are taking notes. They aid in the visual connection of facts, concepts, and ideas. All in all, this provides you with a straightforward summary of a rather complicated subject.
3. Write only what you need
When taking notes, it is imperative that you take down only the critical information. To do so, you should ideally find what is emphasised along with any key points you can identify. Though every bit of information might seem important at first glance, none of it would be if you were to write everything down. Furthermore, your notes can seem overwhelming if it is too crowded with words. So, in this case, it is essential that you write smart, not more. After all, overdoing anything will only lead to burnout.
4. Abbreviate where possible
The great thing about notes is that they are for you and no one else. Hence, it would help if you took this opportunity to tailor them to suit your specific needs. As much as possible, try to create acronyms and use short forms wherever you can. The act of creating acronyms will make it easier for you to remember what you need to. Moreover, you are saving valuable time when you abbreviate.
5. Ensure that you are listening in class
Taking down notes without comprehending the subject helps virtually no one. Without a basic foundation of knowledge, your notes will not make sense to you when you go back to read them at a later point. If you have any doubts or questions about the syllabus, do not be afraid to ask your teachers – it is what they are there for! When you receive the help you need, do remember to add it to your notes so that you will quickly recognise them as you read through the notes again.
6. Use visual aids
While everyone has different learning styles, one of the most common learners is those who are visual. That said, visual aids are beneficial for taking cognitive shortcuts where you need them. The truth of the matter is that sometimes, verbal descriptions are just not enough. So when taking notes, especially virtually, adding images, graphs, or even your own drawings goes a long way in elucidating certain more challenging concepts.
7. Be consistent at it
Note-taking is a skill that should ideally be exercised on a regular basis. If you take notes in class, keep in mind to go over them at the end of each day. However, if you are taking notes for exam preparation, it is advisable to spread out your note-taking sessions rather than cramming them in at the last minute. It would be best if you could dedicate some time every week or two to taking notes and reviewing all of the subject content consistently.
Keeping consistent notes can improve your study and revision significantly. Overall, frequent note-taking can lessen your effort when it comes to revision, and by the end of the semester, you will be acquainted with your notes. This provides you with an advantage because you no longer need to redo your notes when it comes to studying for examinations and remember what you learned throughout the entire semester.
Note-taking is not as simple as jotting down whatever your Singapore private tutor or teacher says. It is an active skill that takes time and effort to perfect. At Tuition Family Singapore, we will be glad to show you how to put these tips – and more! – to proper use. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our quality educators coupled with affordable home tuition rates.