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The BEST Note-taking Methods

Studies show that, without review, 47% of what a person has just learned is forgotten in the first 20 MINUTES and 62% is forgotten after the first day. (University of Texas at Austin). This is why optimizing your note-taking can be a GAME CHANGER for your GPA.



Hello again, and welcome back to this week's edition of the Project Uni Blog! Today, we'll be looking at, discussing, and trying to analyze the quirks of note-taking. Note-taking is often a daunting and strenuous activity, potentially requiring you to multi-task by simultaneously focusing on the teacher's voice, whatever you're writing, and ignoring your surroundings. Despite this, notes are critical to succeding in-class. Here at Project Uni, we understand this struggle, and present to you our guide to master note-taking!


1. Generalization

Rather than taking notes on every concept within the lesson, generalize its main points and ideas. Break down the lesson as you learn it. Segment your notes into a main topic(s), subtopic(s), then main idea(s) and concept(s). Carving up the work gives a messy lesson structure for when you need to study the notes later, provide accurate records of what you learned, and it's so simple, anyone can put it to use effectively.


2. Highlighting

This point is critical in helping you after class, after weeks, after months when you finally return to your notes. Highlighting in this context doesn't necessarily mean to just highlight. Any eye-catching, bright indicator can aid in dragging your attention to an especially important idea. Bolding, underlining, highlighting, font, font size, font colours, etc. are all beneficial. In addition, consider layering highlights and staying consistent with the text that you highlight; this will assist you in connecting those topics together and in creating a visually appealing design.


3. Succeeding in Class

Note-taking is simultaneously one of the most difficult and important tasks in a classroom. To make that process easier, "please, consider the following":

  • Don't copy exactly what your teacher says

    • Capturing the key points which aid your understanding rather than creating a transcript of their every word allows you to spend more time focusing on listening rather than writing

  • Abbreviate terms and substitute words that are especially long

    • E.g. "Vertical Line Test" = "V.T.L.", "Change in Time" = "Δt"

    • Heightens brevity in time taken to write

  • Practice speeding up your handwriting

    • Feel free to write messily

    • After class, go over, and adjust your notes; this lets you refresh your memory on what you just learned and organize your notes post-class for the next time you need them




While note-taking can be difficult, especially during clunky online learning, it isn't impossible. Your notes are a reflection of yourself; however you learn, listen or write is all seen within your notebook. By applying some of the concepts here, you'll hopefully be able to optimize this sometimes tedious task. Thanks for reading, and see you all next time!

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