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How to write effective study notes

an aesthetic desk picture of a laptop, phone and the screen is on a document helping to create a study schedule

When you're learning a subject, it can be very helpful to take notes. After all, if you're not able to remember what you've read or heard then what's the point? And yet many people don't take study notes effectively, which is why they get frustrated with their progress and give up on their studies entirely. If this sounds like you then read on: we're going to explain how you can write effective study notes that will help you learn more effectively and pass exams with better grades than ever before!

1. Summarise in your own words

Summarise the main points in your own words.

Try to use the same structure as the original article, but don't worry if it doesn't go perfectly. If you can't manage this, think about how you would explain the information to a friend who has no background knowledge of what you're learning.

Don’t just write a summary of the main points—include important details too.

2. Draw diagrams and mind maps

  • Draw diagrams to show how things are connected. Look at the diagram below, which shows explains the greenhouse effect. To understand climate change in its entirety, however, you'll also need to understand the human and natural factors that cause it. This means that if your test includes questions about climate change, you'll need to understand the greenhouse effect as well as the factors that contribute to climate change!

an image of climate change for revision

Image source: BBC

  • Use mind maps to show how things are related. Mind maps are useful for taking notes on large topics or themes because they help you organise information in a way that makes sense for you personally: seeing all your ideas together allows them to spark off each other and connect with each other in new ways. If planned properly beforehand (see below), mind maps can be used both during study sessions or revision periods, when trying out different tactics will help guide students toward effective strategies for learning material from their notes.

a mind map of the solar system

Image source: AYOA

3. Use colour for better memory

Colours can help you to remember things better. Colour coding is a good way of helping you to focus on the most important information, and helps you to make connections between ideas. For example, if something is in blue and it's really interesting, then that'll probably stand out when you go through your notes later.

In my experience, using colours has been helpful for me when I'm trying to figure out how all the different parts of a topic fit together - it helps me 'see' the big picture (or at least see some of its bigger features).

4. Break down the main points

To effectively break down the main points of each chapter, use subheadings and bullet points. For example, when you're learning about the history of a country, it's likely that there are many different eras to consider (e.g., Roman Empire, Middle Ages). Underneath each heading would be sub-headings for each era (e.g., Pax Romana; Early Middle Ages).

To make sure you're covering all the main points in this section:

  • Use headings and sub-headings

  • Use bullet points for each point

5. Use flashcards to do quick revision

Flashcards are an effective tool for quick revision. You can use them to revise what you have learnt, or even for learning new things. Flashcards are great for revising for exams because they help you to remember facts and figures without the need to read through a whole page of notes.

You can also use flashcards as a way of practicing what you’ve been taught in class so that important points will come more easily when it comes time to answer exam questions or write essays.

Conclusion - How to write effective study notes

So there you have it: five tips to help you make the most of your study notes. It may seem like a lot of work, but the benefits are well worth it.

Source: various online sources

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