It’s like 3:00 AM and I just got this idea now (Wow, really?)
I always get asked on how do I make my notes and how I personally organize them and stuff (’cause I’m that great, hehe).
Please be advised that this my own reference on how I study and make notes but it's different for everyone so don't just think that because I get straight A's in school it means that my method works for everyone, in fact I went though many different learning methods to find my perfect fit that works for every class that I take.
Take Rough Notes from Lecture
The first step of the learning cycle is introduction which is where you start questioning the topic and try building observations and knowledge from it. From my past experiences, lectures don’t give you the full information rather a “snapshot” or “feel” of the material. So, I always try to get out a tonne of information and material from that first lecture for the topic and asking a lot of questions from my professor about the lesson, some clarifications, and what other topics I should go into and just basically following the curriculum.
Also, if you have the course syllabus or outline then you can also use that as a guide.
Revise Notes By Looking at a Textbook or Watching Tutorials
Like I said before (I sound so bossy…), the lecture is just a a preview of what you learned, and you should try to fill in the gaps by completing the learning cycle which is the second and third third step, discovery and extension.
What I usually do is re-read my “draft” notes and see what I need to know and it also doesn’t hurt to look at your syllabus of the topic or even the curriculum study guide to see what you need and don’t need (make sure you just write notes only on what you need to learn for that class, too much or excess information is not needed). I take both general courses at school at the same time IB courses, so I have a bunch of textbooks that I use.
After looking at what my objectives are for the topic of study I start reading. Now, please don’t read passively, that is reading like a zombie whose eyes just goes from left and right. This is a common mistake, if you just read and take notes, you’re basically just copying the same exact text from the book which kind of beats the purpose of note taking. Instead, I do what is called the information funnel method (IFM).
- Preview the text by skimming it to get the feel of what the topics are ahead.
- Read each paragraph then summarize them into your own words so that you actually learn the material. Then write them in the note taking section of the cornell note taking system.
- After writing notes for a paragraph or section, on the cue section (usually the left side of the note taking column, write review questions or key words to help without memorizing information.
Just some more additional points:
- Don’t review material that you already know
- If you see the same word over and over again, try to abbreviate it.
- Remember to check with what you need to know on your syllabus or guide, often textbooks go off course and tries to relate it to other material that you don’t need.
Apply What You’ve Learned
The fourth and last step in the learning cycle is application where you actually apply what you learned to see if you really know the subject well. So, I usually get straight into the worksheets that I was given by my professor then continue with the work in the textbook exercises.
If you still can’t understand the work that you’re doing, then go back to your notes and look through the worked out examples to see where you need pin-pointing. If you still need clarification, on a separate piece of paper or stick note, mark it down so you can go over it with your professor or classmate.
This one example is from my physics class but I find that this method works with every class that I’ve taken.
So these this is my rough notes during the lecture, as you can see it’s note very tidy which makes it impossible to review from.
Here, I started going through my IB Higher Level Physics textbook and started writing down what my curriculum needs me to learn which is written in lime green. Then underneath that are the start of my notes which are more detailed than what I learned from the lecture.
Now on the left side, I stared review questions to help me review afterwards before applying what I learned.
Now here, I just printed off some of the worksheets that my professor wanted us to complete. By then you already know the material so it’s easier.
I hope that this was helpful and I have more posts to add later on! Happy note taking and ciao!