Scholastic Spotlight: the Art of Taking Notes

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We know. It is a widely known fact that not all pupils enjoy the tasks of writing or taking notes. To some students, writing and note-taking are tedious activities they would simply prefer to not do at all. On the other hand, note-taking is one of the most crucial actions students can take to promote their own active learning. This rings especially true for those enrolled in healthcare training programs and health science coursework.

Alas, a multitude of convincing reasons exist for the sheer importance of taking notes in school. Thus, for the sake of time, only the most significant rationale will be pointed out here: taking good quality notes tends to help students remember and recall important material that they would have otherwise forgotten. Recall and remembrance of crucial material is very essential when studying for quizzes, tests and the state exam.

To reiterate that point, taking notes is a really important task. This fact has already been established. However, taking notes correctly and efficiently is not always as simple a task as it appears to be on the surface. Good, effective note-taking does not just call upon students to write down every word the instructor or professor says in a haphazard way. In fact, effectual note-taking entails capturing main ideas in the student’s own words.

One recurrent theme most good students share is the fact that they adhere to a specific way of taking notes in class. A specific note-taking style assists students to focus and organize prior to class; in addition, it helps them effectively review and recall crucial concepts long after class has ended. Adhering to one note-taking style and sticking with it will help students pay attention during class while capturing important information.

Sticking to one specific style of taking notes has an array of other study-related benefits, too. For some students, it bestows more than enough motivation upon them to stay attuned to class discussions, pay close attention and participate in an active manner. It helps students reword their notes effectively so they do not lose focus of the main concepts and ideas once they start studying for final exams.

The following list provides an overview of the different styles of taking notes in school settings. It is advised to pick one method and try to stick with it unless another style of note-taking seems more suitable for the topic of study. Of course, now that this information is out here, students may take it and utilize it as they wish. Students are also totally free to avoid using any of this information at their own peril).

  • Flow-Based Note Taking Style: a way of taking notes in which the pupil writes down the main concepts instead of verbatim paragraphs and sentences. The student connects the written notes and concepts by drawing arrows, boxes and diagrams to link them together as interrelated ideas.
  • The Cornell Note Taking Style: a method of taking notes that organizes class topics of discussion into easily memorable summaries. This style works since the main concepts and summaries are all written in one place. In the Cornell Method, the note paper is divided into 3 sections: a 2.5” margin to the left, a 2” summary section on the bottom, and a main 6” in-class note section.
  • The Bullet Point Style: this is a method of taking notes that involves simply jotting down each noteworthy detail as a bullet point sentence. This style of note-taking works particularly wonderful for capturing important points in class discussions that are moving along quickly, as wells as fast-paced lectures that are filled with a great deal of information.
  • The Outline Style: this method is, in all likelihood, the most popular way to take notes in schools. This style of note-taking involves an outline to organize the noted material in a structured, logical manner that forms somewhat of a skeleton of the textbook chapter or lecture subject and serves as a wondrous study guide when preparing for tests (Missouri State University, n.d.).

REFERENCES

Missouri State University. (n.d.). Outlining Method for Note Taking. Retrieved March 16, 2019, from https://www.missouristate.edu/assets/busadv/p.24.pdf

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