Note-taking Methods

Reference & EducationWriting & Speaking

  • Author Ben Pierceall
  • Published December 16, 2022
  • Word count 993

Something a lot of people struggle with is note-taking. I am one of those people. The reason that I struggle with taking notes is I just do not know how to organize them, nor am I quick enough to write all of the information, and by the end of it, I just have a cluster of random words put together. The reason that I am writing this article is to help those people who have no idea what to do when your teacher, professor, or boss tells you to take notes. In this article, we will be exploring three different styles of notes. I have been researching and testing these different methods in different classes. In each of my three body paragraphs talking about each method I will describe what the method is and how to use it when I think is the best time to use it, along with other facts and tricks to go along with it. The goal by the end of this article is that the reader will walk away confident about the next time they need to take quality notes.

The first method/style I am talking about is Cornell notes. This method is a good and organized way to take notes. This method also happens to be widely considered the best method for note-taking. You can use this method by dividing the page into three sections. The first section should be a vertical line to the left, in that section, you should put your headers on the subject you are taking notes on. The second section should be placed horizontally on the bottom of the paper, this is where you should write the summary. Finally, that leaves the final section which is where you write your actual notes, this section should already be created because of the other two sections you drew. The best time I found to use this method is when you are taking notes on your own time. An example of this would be when you are taking notes out of a textbook. I find this method makes it slightly harder to keep up with the teacher. The reason I like to use this method is because of the organization it provides, if I wanted to go back to my pages of notes to study them I would know exactly where to go due to the headers, also if I did not have enough time to study I could quickly read the summary that I wrote before.

The second method that I am covering is the outline method. This method can be used by using indentions to divide your notes. First, you will write the main topic, this should not be indented. Second, for a sub-topic, you would want to press the indentation button once. Finally, for any facts or thoughts on the topic press the indent button one more time. After you move on to the next main topic, start the process over. This is a quick and organized way to take some notes. I would recommend using this method while you have to take notes when your teacher is explaining something because of the easy format, and speed you are able to type with this method. I would also use this method if you are taking notes from a textbook because of its organizational level of it. If you wanted to go back to study this it would be pretty easy to find the exact information you need. The reason why I chose this method is that I have never seen it before and it looked very simple and organized. Overall this is a very solid method that you can use in many different classes, and in many different ways.

The third and final method I chose is the sentence method. This is the most simple method that I chose. To use this method on each line you write a statement, fact, or thought. Once you are done you just go to the line below it. If you would like you could number or bullet point them. I would recommend using this method if you have to keep up with a fast speaker. However, if you are on your own time taking notes you should not use this method. This is the least organized method. And if you wanted to go back to study your notes, you might be searching the whole page just to try and find one thing. What I would recommend if you are using this method, is to after taking notes on this try to section off the different subjects you were talking about while taking the notes, this could add some organization to your paper. Another thing I would recommend is to just move all of your notes over to another method of note-taking that is more organized, For example, the Cornell notes. Overall this is a very speedy method that should only be used at specific times.

In conclusion, these are three very different ways to take notes and you should be taking these different notes in different settings. Once again the fastest form is the sentence method which is not great with the organization but is good to keep up with the presenter, the most organized being the Cornell notes which is also hard to keep up with the presenter, and in between them is the outline method which is a mixture of both of them, which allows you to keep up with the presenter while maintaining an organized piece of paper. Being able to write good quality notes gives you a good advantage in life. For example, it gives you the ability to go back and research the topic you are studying about, it also gives you confidence when you are talking about the subject. This is only one benefit out of the many that note-taking gives you. Overall it is very important to have good note-taking skills, especially down the road in life.

This article is for everybody who struggles with note-taking

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