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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