One of the most useful skills you can master when you are a student is effective note taking. It’s a skill that will benefit your student not just in their schooling days, but well into their professional adult life. Note taking helps people retain information longer, better understand the information they are being taught, and improve the recall of information.

Think about it – if notes are written in an unorganized, sloppy way, it will be hard to make sense of them at a later time. Add the fact that your handwriting may be messy if you are writing rapidly and the notes you took are basically useless.

On the other hand, good note taking helps you to:

  • Remember concepts
  • Understand topics in a better way
  • Connect the dots between topics
  • Engage in active listening to your instructor
  • Think about what you are writing

Top Note Taking Methods

#1: Summaries

In the Summaries Method, notes are broke down into little summaries. To do this method, you would take notes during a tutorial as neatly as you can. After the tutorial, review your notes and jot down key things you need to remember, including key vocabulary terms. At the bottom of the notes, write a summary that highlights the key points of your notes. People like this method because they can quickly scan the summary to see if they need to delve deeper and review that days notes in preparation for a test since all of the main points and concepts are called out.

#2: Outlining

In this method, you will use headings and bullet points to organize your notes. When you have topics that have a lot of details and nuances, this is the method to use. It keeps your notes nice and organized, and shows a clear relationship between the topics and subtopics. To use this method of note taking, begin each section of notes by listing the main topic at the top of the page (this is your heading) and add bullet points under each heading for each subtopic and/or supporting facts. You may end up with several different indents of bullet points, depending on how much detail needs to be noted.

More Note Taking#3: Mapping

If you have a lot of information and you want to show how various topics are related, then the mapping method is best to use. It is a visual way to put order to a chaotic topic. Your page of notes will be organized by topic then will branch off into subtopics with additional branches citing detailed information.

#4: Charting

When covering topics that have a lot of facts or relationships, charting is an easy way to keep your information organized. This type of note taking is very clear and easy to follow. Key pieces of information are called out for each topic. To do this method, divide your paper into equal columns by category. Use the space below each column header to jot down supportive facts.

Excel with Excellent Notes

At first, notes can look like a bunch of chicken scratch but after spending some time rewriting or organizing the notes, they will prove to be helpful study materials. Have your teen try out some of the note taking methods we mentioned and let us know what they thought by leaving a comment below.

For more tips and tricks head over to our Facebook page, and if you have any questions regarding our program and how we help middle and high school students, visit our website or give us a call at 800-297-2119.