As a student, I’m sure you’re familiar with note-taking. Over the years, students have asked me “Is there a best method to take down notes”?
From my personal observation, students often have different tactics when it comes to writing notes. Some will copy everything they hear and see in class. Others like myself will write only the facts and look up the rest of the details on their own.
In my opinion, there is no one perfect way to conduct note-taking. Rather, different note-taking techniques suit different learning styles
If you are looking for the best way to do notes, first you need to ask yourself: What is your learning preference?
There are 4 types of learning styles can be found in students:
• Tactile or kinaesthetic learners
• Auditory learners
• Learners who ar good at reading and writing.
Check out the tips I have below and see which note-taking technique best fits your style.
What is a Visual Learner?
A visual learner can analyze the information when they see data before their eyes. The information could come from a picture, colour, diagram or maps.
Visual learners also have great memory recall and organize information to get the right facts.
What note-taking technique fits this type of learner?
A great way to take notes if you are a visual learner is by using pictures, colours or diagrams to support the notes. These learners can use colour-coded notes to organize their notes better and memorize them easily.
Another great strategy to use for these learners is with the help of a mind map.
Through this method, learners can match information with ideas and find ways to make it understandable. Your map can be in the form of doodles, shapes and colours to help you recall information faster.
To get you started, here is a short guide to making your mind map:
• Begin with the main idea and write it in the centre of the page
• Write the branches for each main idea or theme.
• Create sub-branches and use key images or keywords to explain them.
Extra Tip: Use colours to organize your notes. It could be using a post-it, highlighters or colour pens. Just make sure to list a guide so you won’t get confused about which colours goes where.
What is an auditory learner?
This type of learner learns faster when they get the information verbally. They can follow instructions even if it is given verbally and explain them. They can also solve problems by communicating directly with others.
What note-taking technique fits this type?
A great note-taking strategy for this type of learner will help them listen and recall the information given.
If it is possible, ask your teacher if you can record the class with your phone or recorder. This will help you listen during the lectures and when you study, you can use the recorded audio to listen to it again.
Auditory learners will also benefit by speaking the facts out loud then recording it.
Using this method will help you record your thoughts as you explain each point vocally. Afterwards, listen to your recording wherever you go.
If you cannot record yourself or your lectures, you can listen to the information and write it. This will help you gather information faster, analyze it and write down the key points that have to be remembered.
Extra tip: Sometimes, playing some music as you read texts can help immensely. While some may say music can just distract you. However, it can lessen noise and assist your mind to focus on your task. Classical music is preferred when you do use music to listen while you study.
What is a Kinaesthetic Learner?
This type of learner learns and understands concepts while doing or moving. They can analyze new information by applying them. They are also great in analyzing gestures and another person’s body language. They can also repeat actions after they do it once. They are also able to see the ‘bigger picture.’
What note-taking technique fits this type of learner?
Having an opportunity to engage or move is a great way for tactile learners to take notes. They can also write their notes on note cards and flashcards.
Once you have done your review, you should take an active break while you write your notes or release some of that pent-up energy from sitting down and reading.
Here are some of the things you can do to help your mind focus:
• Use a squishy toy and squeeze it as you read.
• Chew gum or nibble on a snack.
• Walk for a bit
• Tap your foot.
You can also type your notes on your computer or any other gadget. When you type, your hands are busy and you move a lot more. You will then be able to focus on what you are typing and still keep busy.
Extra tip: While you work on flashcards, assign different actions so you can remember what is in the card. You can also sort the cards in a pile and separated into two: the ones you can understand the most and the ones that need more review.
What are Read/Write Learners?
This type of learner learns well when they read. They also love to jot down notes and read what is written to get the information and analyze them.
They are learners capable of listing down information and remember it as they write it down. They also transfer information through their notes.
What note-taking techniques fits this type of learner?
Since these learners love to take notes for information and organize each fact in headers, the best note-taking technique they can do is use sentences for their notes.
To do the sentence method, here are the things to do:
• Write the key information in a full sentence.
• Organize your information in headings
• Write only the key information so you can keep up with your lecture.
Extra tip: Use the margins or borders of your handouts and make notes. This will help you review facts easily.
To create the best study notes, you need to know what learning style works best for you. When you know this, you will be able to develop new ways to improve the way you do your notes and get an improvement in your grades.
Want to know more about my study tips? Here are some of them: