Note taking is a very important skill to have in order to succeed in school. Depending on your career choice, it may be useful in your future as well. Eg. Journalism, an author, or even a physician. By listening and staying attentive it will maximize your capability in taking good notes. Three major note taking methods are as followed;
The Concept Map Method
Concept map note taking is beneficial for the visual learner. By using arrows and grouping key ideas together it is easy to flow and show relations between points. “Mapping is a graphic representation of the content of a lecture. It is a method that maximizes active participation, affords immediate knowledge as to its understanding, and emphasizes critical thinking.”(Note Taking Systems, para. 9). The mapping method is easy to read and can be organized efficiently. It shows relating points, and is easy to add to when the topic is brought up again in a lecture. It is important when using this method of note taking you can differentiate important information from non-important. This particular method makes it convenient to locate main ideas, and supporting topics in your notes by having the main topic in the middle of the page, and have arrows branching supporting thoughts. While working in groups and sharing ideas this may be an ideal note taking method to use. It is easy to read and easy for each individual to add their own ideas. The mapping outline is overall a good style to take notes in when you’re trying to visually show main points.
The outlining method is used to organize notes. It is really helpful when you need to make study notes or review for something major, as well as helping you keep on track with the class. All you have to do in the outline method is to start with the most general information, indenting it as it gets deeper into context. Also using numbers, roman numerals, letters for subtopics, or examples when needed, are apart of the outlining method. (Wong. L, 2006 , Outline Method section, para. 2). Some advantages as to why the outlining method is helpful when note taking or making study notes for review are; it helps keep all your notes organized, as well as it makes editing notes easier. This is a really useful method if you are a visual learner. Some disadvantages that come with the outlining method, are that you must pay a lot of attention during class to have accurate notes. Besides that, the outlining method can be a bit difficult to use if the lecture goes by really fast.( The Outlining Method section, para. 3-4). The outlining method is overall a really creative way to help you make notes for studying, it keeps you on track, and attentive during class.
The Cornell Method
One of the most efficient methods of note taking is the Cornell method. It was developed by Cornell University professor Dr. Walter Pauk. Pauk’s book “How to Study in College”, is where he first debuted this method of note taking, and it has been updated approximately eleven times since its original publication in 1962. It is meant to help students comprehend the material they learn in class, and use them later on to study. Many Ivy League Universities, and even Universities and Colleges that are not as prestigious, recommend that their students use this method. The Cornell Method involves dividing your paper into three sections; notes, recall, and summary. The notes section is where students take down any important notes in class. Any method of note taking in this section is appropriate whether students prefer to use bullet points, paragraphs, or any other method that suits them. The recall sections is where students can write down any key information they remember from their lectures. That information could be definitions, names, questions, or main points. This is also a great place for any questions you have after the lecture. This is usually done as soon after the class or lecture as possible. The last section is the summary section. This section is used to summarize the main point of the class or lecture, and should be written in a way that is easily understandable in the students own words. The Utah State University’s Academic Success Center has a complete breakdown of the Cornell method, and how to use it properly. If your interested in reading up on this, the link is listed below.
These three methods above are probably the most efficient ways to take notes, but it all depends on the student. The way you take notes directly affects the way you learn, and choosing the right method is important if you want to be a successful student. In today’s high tech world note taking has evolved to more than just these three methods. For students who prefer a different method of note taking here are ten downloadable apps to help improve your note taking abilities. Apps are a great way to help you keep track of your school schedule, and your notes, but remember that writing your notes out is the best way to help you retain the information. If you’re interested, we have attached a link for a note taking exercise, along with a note taking tutorial link, both are below the note app downloading site.
Note Taking Systems. (n.d.). Retrieved September 28, 2015.
Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis IUPUI. (n.d.). Retrieved September 28, 2015.
CitrusCollege. (n.d.). Retrieved September 28, 2015.
Longman, D.G, & Atkinson, R.H (1999). Note Taking: Cornell Method. Retrieved October 2, 2015, from https://www.usu.edu/asc/idea_sheets/pdf/nof Efficient Note Taking Strategies
Firth, Dr. Katherine (2012, December 11). Turn your notes into writing using the Cornell method. Retrieved September 28, 2015, from