8 Best Note Taking Techniques and Strategies

Note-taking is an essential skill for students, professionals, and anyone who needs to remember important information. However, it’s not just about scribbling down everything you hear or read. Effective note-taking requires a strategy, so you can retain and recall information when you need it. Let’s see how you can improve your note-taking techniques and strategies to help you with your retention and recall of information.

Cornell note taking method

The Cornell Method is a popular note-taking technique that involves dividing your notes into three sections: a main section, a cue column, and a summary section. The main section is where you take notes during a lecture or while reading, the cue column is for keywords and questions, and the summary section is for summarizing your notes. This method allows you to review and reinforce the information you have learned, as well as retrieve it more easily.

Mind mapping

Mind Mapping is a visual note-taking technique that involves creating a diagram to connect ideas and concepts. It’s a great way to organize your thoughts and make connections between different pieces of information. You can create mind maps on paper or using digital tools. Mind mapping is a highly effective technique for brainstorming, problem-solving, and organizing information. By creating visual connections between concepts, mind maps can help you see patterns and relationships that may not be immediately apparent when working with traditional linear notes.

Use study notes

If you happen to be studying in Ireland, and struggling to take good notes, one strategy is to use notes from your classmates or already made University College Cork study notes. This can be particularly helpful if you missed a class or didn’t understand a concept. Using already made notes for a particular subject or topic can be a helpful supplement to your own note-taking, as it provides a different perspective and can help reinforce your understanding of the material. 


The Feynman technique

The Feynman Technique is a method for understanding and explaining complex concepts. It involves breaking down a concept into simple terms and then explaining it in your own words. This technique helps you to identify gaps in your understanding and reinforce what you have learned. This technique can be particularly useful for students studying STEM subjects, as it helps to clarify and consolidate their understanding of challenging concepts.

Abbreviations and symbols

Abbreviations and symbols can be useful for taking notes quickly and efficiently. For example, you could use an arrow to indicate a cause-and-effect relationship, or an asterisk to highlight important information. However, be careful not to overuse abbreviations and symbols, as this can make your notes difficult to read and understand. 

When using abbreviations and symbols, it’s important to create a key or legend to explain their meanings to others who may be reading your notes. This can save time and improve communication, but it’s important to strike a balance between using abbreviations and symbols to save time and ensuring that your notes are clear and understandable.

Record lectures for easier note taking

Recording lectures can be a helpful supplement to note-taking, especially if the professor speaks quickly or if you have difficulty keeping up with the pace of the class. However, be sure to ask for permission from your professor before recording, and always listen to the recording after class to reinforce your notes. When recording lectures, it’s important to listen to the recording shortly after class to reinforce your understanding of the material. Additionally, it’s a good idea to take some brief notes during the recording to help you remember the most important points.

Use color coding

Color coding can be a useful way to organize your notes and make them easier to read and review. For example, you could use different colors for headings, subheadings, and important information. You could also use highlighters to draw attention to key points. Color coding your notes can help you quickly and easily identify different types of information, such as definitions, examples, and key terms. However, it’s important to use colors consistently and sparingly to avoid creating a cluttered or confusing set of notes.

Review and revise

Finally, one of the most important aspects of effective note-taking is reviewing and revising your notes. This helps to reinforce the material in your memory and identify any gaps in your understanding. You could set aside time each week to review your notes, or create flashcards to help you recall important information.

In conclusion

Note-taking is a skill that can be learned and improved with practice. By using these techniques and strategies, you can improve your retention and recall of information, and ultimately, achieve better academic and professional results. So, the next time you find yourself in a lecture or meeting, remember to take notes and use these techniques to make the most of your learning experience.

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