Hi there! My name is Alex and I'm currently undertaking my Creative Writing PhD at the University of Lincoln. I'm a big fan of lots of streaming services, books, and am a published poet! I aspire to be a multi-genre,…
When we talk about writing good notes, we need to define exactly what “good” academic notes are. Good academic notes are notes which help you as an individual retain the information you’re learning in the best way possible. This doesn’t necessarily mean they have to be neat, or typewritten vs handwritten, but what is important is that they are clear and organised so all you have to think about is the information itself, rather than scrambling to recall where everything is. This is where organisation in particular comes in handy, and in this article, I’m going to go into some methods of organisation/ways of note-taking that I have found helpful.
Colour-coding your notes is the simplest thing you can do to make your notes easier to interpret when you’re reading over them. If you use different coloured pens, highlighters, or even book tabs, you can separate your notes by importance, theme, or whatever kinds of sections are relevant to your course module!
Re-Writing Notes Post-Lecture
By re-writing your notes after lectures, you will have a much better chance of retaining the information that you’re trying to learn. When you’re taking down notes in a lecture, whether by hand or typing, it will always feel like a rush as you mostly focus on just getting the information down. If you take the time after your lecture to re-write those notes, you can then actually focus on the details of the information in front of you. Also, you can make your notes neater, and you can organise them in the way that works best for you.
E-Mailing Tutors For Clarity
Often you may find yourself looking back at your notes, and not being sure as to their full context/meaning, and e-mailing tutors for clarity can help with this. Your tutors are here to help you both in and out of class, and they are only one simple e-mail away! Whether you correspond via e-mail or set up a meeting during office hours, I encourage you to open a line of communication with your tutors if something doesn’t make sense to you. That means you can update your notes with all the clarity and explanations you need.
Recording Your Notes
Recording yourself dictating your notes so you can listen to them can be incredibly useful. If you find it hard to take in information by reading or writing, then transferring your notes into an audio format could be useful! This means you can listen to your notes whenever you want, and you also don’t have to haul your laptop or notebooks with you everywhere you go when you want to study.
Learning With Friends
Going over your notes with friends can be extremely beneficial because it will allow you all to share your perspectives on the things you’re learning together. By taking the time to discuss your notes together, you can all help each other with understanding things, discussing good study methods, and generally helping each other feel more at ease when it comes to studying for your modules. One thing I have certainly learned is that studying is always easier with friends.
Each of these methods has been helpful to me in my University career, not just with writing up my notes, but with interpreting them and making the best use of them possible when I’ve been studying. Something I especially want you all to remember is that it’s always okay to ask for help from your friends and tutors, you never have to do any of this alone! With that, happy studying!