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How to take useful notes

Taking notes can be a useful way to help you remember the things you have learned. When you are writing notes, you are already processing the information in new ways. You can take notes for different purpose during your studies.

Taking notes while reading a text

When you read a text, it can be helpful to take notes to help highlight the important sections in the text. You can do this by highlighting words or sentences, or by writing notes in the margins.

No matter how you do it, you should not overdo it - less is more. If you create too many highlights, it will be difficult to return to the text later on and easily access the information you are looking for.

Taking notes during a lecture

During a lectures, notes can help you focus and process the new knowledge you have acquired from your lecturer. You should not write everything the lecturer says - only the most important aspects. Writing too much down can actually make you lose focus. It is important to remember that you are writing the notes to yourself.

It is not a matter of how perfectly they are formulated or how well-written, but rather how they allow you to revisit the content of the lecture later on. Therefore, it can be helpful to use abbreviations and illustrations in your notes.

Taking notes when preparing for an exam

When you are preparing for an exam, notes can help you get an overview of theories and literature, just as it will help you keep focus on the most important parts of the syllabus. It will help you structure the knowledge you have.

Try creating a mind map in order to understand how the theories an concepts relate to each other.

Taking notes during group work

Taking notes during group work is a way to document your work process. This way, you can always come back and see what you have previously decided in your group.

Taking notes in groups can serve as a way to always be on the same page and avoid misunderstandings and conflicts. You can take turns being the note-taker.