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Writing study notes that work

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Why is it important to write study notes?

No one has to tell you that there is A LOT of information you need to study for the exams. Making study notes can help you organise the large amount of information into chunks that are easier to understand and revise. Also, when you write information down in the form of study notes, it helps you to consolidate the content in your memory. More so than if you just read your textbook.
 
There is no right or wrong way to make study notes. You need to develop your own style that works best for you but here are some helpful tips to get you on your way to making good study notes.
 

Tricks to writing good study notes

1. Understand what you will be making notes on
It is a good idea to read through the text before you make notes to get a general idea of what you will be studying.
 
2. Organise content
When writing notes, use headings and subheadings to break down the content into small chunks of information. This will help you to easily find something when you are revising your work.
 
3. Write notes in your own words
Don’t copy the text straight from your textbook. This will make it difficult for you to remember the information. Rather, rewrite the information using your own words. This is a great way to check your understanding of core concepts.
 
4. Underline or highlight important information
Underline or highlight key words or important points. Instead of scanning through large amounts of information, the important points you need to focus on will be more visually grabbing.
 
5. Full sentences versus short bullet points
It is important that you learn how to write notes in a way that helps you study for exams. If you find it difficult to study from notes with long sentences, don’t write full sentences. Rather use your own abbreviations and symbols to save time or use lists and bullets to summarise content.
 
6. Get visual
Everyone has a different learning style. If you are a visual learner, use flow charts, mind maps and diagrams to help you summarise information. Identifying important information and plotting them visually can help you to memorise the content.
 
Want to know how to make a mind map? Click here.
 
You can also use different colour pens, different font sizes or highlighters to emphasise important points you need to remember.
 
7. Record your notes
Some learners have a more aural or verbal style of learning and prefer using sound and words when learning. Read your notes out load and record yourself. Then play back your audio to reinforce the content.
 
8. Make flashcards
Summarise important points, key concepts or bulleted lists of information on flashcards. This will help break down large chunks of information into manageable sizes to study. Use your flashcards to revise.
 
To make flashcards, fold a piece of A4 paper of cardboard in half and then in half again. Cut the closed edges of the folded paper to have 4 separate pieces of cards you can use to write your concise notes on.
 
9. Create quiz cards
In a similar way you can create quiz cards. Write down possible exam questions on one side of a card and the answer on the other. You can use your quiz cards to test your own knowledge or quiz your friends. This will help you to check that you know what you need to know for the exams or identify sections of work you need to spend more time on to understand.
 
Good study notes help you to feel more organised and prepared for your exams, increasing your confidence and success in passing.
 
Good luck for the exams!