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Study Skills

Note-taking

Note-taking is one of the most important skills for a student to learn. There are several different note taking methods you can use as a student to help you when you are in your classes. Taking notes isn’t simply writing down everything you hear. Rather, it is about taking notes that summarise the key concepts as precisely as possible in your own words. Your notes will help you when it is time to study for exams or write your assignments.

Methods

The Outline Method

This is one of the most effective and popular note taking methods. It lets you organise your notes in a structured way, saving you time for further reviewing and editing. This method uses bullet points to represent topics and subtopics. This type of note-taking is best if your instructor follows a clear structure. This note-taking method is best used for students who do NOT take maths or science subjects.

The Cornell Method

This is a unique note taking method that can be used in a variety of circumstances. You divide your page into three or four sections starting from one row at the top for-the title and date and one at the bottom with two columns in the centre. This is a great way to do note-taking if you want to quickly review or organise your notes, since it helps you extract main ideas and absorb information in a short amount of time.

The Boxing Method

This is a very simple and easy note-taking method, and especially a great one for tablet users. You group all ideas related into one specific subject box. You create several boxes for several different specific subjects under the one main central topic.

The Mapping Method

The mapping method is very similar to mind mapping and is great for visual learners. It also helps you to process large amounts of information. You write your main idea in the middle and use branches or stems to divide into subtopics, connecting them all together.

 

Before, During, and After Lectures

Before... 

  • Read any handouts or online material given in advance so you know what to expect
  • Think about what you want to find out from the lecture

During... 

  • Listen for clues about the structure or lecture plan
  • Be alert to the key words/main points and note these
  • Be an active listener – not a sponge

After...

  • Read through your notes to check you understand them. Add any details you may have missed.
  • Use your notes to study for exams or work on assignments

Mind Mapping

Mind mapping is related to note-taking as another way to understand and process information. You can use mind mapping on physical paper or in digital format. For example, MindMup is a free online mind mapping tool that lets you create a mind map and download it in different formats.

See the videos below for more information about how mind mapping works and why it is effective.