Understanding the Importance of Effective Note-taking

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effective note-taking
  • 1 month ago
  • Posted: August 27, 2021 at 9:06 pm

Actively listening to your teacher and jotting down important points in class helps you make your own notes later. With the help of the textbook and by summarizing what your teacher is teaching in class, your notes will cover all important aspects of the subject at hand. You will not need to refer to any other supplementary material to aid your preparation. Re-writing what you are being taught helps you retain information better and for longer. Moreover, gone are the days when you needed to make notes using the traditional pen and paper method. Nowadays, you can make notes on almost all your electronic devices, be it a laptop, a phone, or a tablet.

The CBSE curriculum is framed in such a way that one needs to understand concepts while memorising theory. You can also create mind maps in addition to taking notes. To start mind mapping, you will first need to create a hierarchical diagram. The main topic of discussion will be present at the centre and the subsequent topics will be branching off of it. This unique, new style of note-taking helps the student to give structural integrity to the information being taught. You are made to relate the topic to other similar topics, creating a summary of their relationship on a single page.

Why Note-Taking Is Important

  • It makes you an active listener – If you know you have to make notes on a particular subject, you pay careful attention to each and every word your teacher says. Research states that students with strong listening skills do not just retain more information, but are also less likely to feel unprepared and frustrated on the days leading up to an examination. In addition to this, improved listening skills can lead to an increase in a student’s efficiency and strengthen their belief about their ability to succeed in that particular subject. Students who pay attention in class are naturally bound to pick up more knowledge to reflect on and think critically about before they respond, thereby also improving their communication skills.
  • Improves your writing skills – Since the verbal mode of teaching differs from the written mode, teachers tend to go at a faster pace when teaching a topic verbally. This in turn stimulates a student’s brain to write faster in order to be able to jot down everything. Initially, you might find that your notes are illegible or haphazardly written. However, after adequate practice, you will find that you are being able to write fast without compromising on the neatness of your writing. Highlight important points, make columns, draw tables, use highlighters and different coloured pens. Making and reading through engaging notes helps a visual learner greatly. 
  • Makes you focus on central themes – You should take notes in such a manner that makes you believe that you have to teach what you are keeping a record of to others after class. This will force you to sort through what is important and needs to be known, and what information is irrelevant and need not be remembered. You should try to use your extra speed of thought to make sense of what you are hearing and memorising it at the same time. Of course, this kind of thinking requires concentration of the highest level. When your mind wanders, refocus and aim to bring your attention back to what you hear. 
  • You overcome distractions – More often than not, a classroom is never devoid of distractions. You will always find someone fidgeting, someone cracking jokes, or someone trying to doze off to sleep in your class. This kind of behaviour tends to make even the most attentive students feel restless and distracted. However, when you are taking notes, you know there is no time for any such distractions. You must be focused to be able to note down everything the teacher is saying. Your mind is not allowed to wander, thereby increasing your attention span and retentive capacity.
  • Organizes your thoughts and ideas – Noting down your thoughts helps you organise both what you are thinking and what you are feeling. You can always write down any new ideas or questions you have while your teacher is teaching. After the class is over, you can approach your instructor and you can hold a detailed discussion over this. This will give you further clarity while helping you think analytically and be curious. 
  • You get to know your strengths and weaknesses – Whenever a professor is giving a lecture on a topic, chances are there will be some mention of what has been taught previously. Since you are already listening attentively to make notes, you will be able to recognise your strengths and weaknesses. If you think you do not remember the previous topic, you will be able to refer to those old notes you made and get yourself updated. In contrast to this, if you were not taking notes or paying full attention in class, you might have missed out on these points. Taking notes also enables you to figure out which topics need to be devoted more time to and manage your time accordingly.
  • Helps in revision – Lastly, the biggest advantage of taking notes is that all your data is compiled neatly in one place. You will have no issue referring to your tidily made revision notes the week before your examination. Since you have kept regular track of which topics are important and were emphasised upon by the teacher, you will be able to study systematically and smartly. No time will be wasted in revising irrelevant things that will be of no use and are not required for the examination you are sitting for. Moreover, you will feel prepared and ready to take on your question paper. Your confidence will increase. In such a scenario, you are bound to fare better than you would have in case you had not made your own notes.
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