Revision and notetaking can be incredibly monotonous tasks. Having folders of notes which all look the same can make revision feel bland and boring, when we should feel somewhat excited about learning and absorbing new information and knowledge. There are a number of ways in which you can alter your studying processes to level-up your revision and take better notes to succeed in your studies, so let’s take a look at what these are!
Change up your note taking style
If you are struggling with revision, this may be because you are sticking to one study method. Dividing up your revision using a variety of study methods can help to break up study sessions and give your mind a chance to rest. Different ways to take notes include:
Flashcards are small cards which contain a specific amount of information. A question can be written on the front with the answer on the back, to provide an effective way to revise in a short
space of time. The Flashcard study method is suitable for a wide variety of learners such as visual, auditory and reading/writing. This method is quick to carry out and is ideal to switch to in
between longer methods such as reading research books and drawing detailed mind maps.
Focus time: 15-20 mins
My rating: 6/10
Mind maps are notes which are designed in a specific format which allows the student to visually organise revision content. The map expands around a single concept and is a great way to condense a lot of content onto one page. Mind maps work particularly well as a method of note taking for creative individuals as well as visual learners as they provide opportunity for as much design and visual implementation as possible.
Focus time: Mind maps can be designed simplistically in around an hour, however the more detail and design involved will require more time.
My rating: 8/10
The most popular form of revision is writing out notes. There are five ‘official’ methods for taking written notes, such as the Cornell method and so on, Many students are unaware of specific structures when it comes to writing notes and this can often be what makes revision hard as notes without structure are complicating to comprehend. Try sticking to a blanket format when approaching written notes to improve visual aid for reflection later on. This method is predominantly suited to reading and writing learners, as they absorb content through the action of doing just this. Written notes can also be suitable for auditory learners as they can read out the notes to listen back.
Focus time: Unlimited hours
My rating: 3/10
Audio Clips (using software like Jamworks)
The art of note taking through audio clips has become popular in recent months through the introduction of lectures being recorded since the pandemic. Students can take notes through the use of technology like Jamworks, to create clips of specific content during a lecture, and form a 5-minute playlist of the important parts. This revision approach is highly suitable for auditory learners as they save time from not having to write down content, as the audio clips are also transcribed into written form.
Focus Time: Minimal extra time outside of lecture hours
My rating: 10/10
Reflect on how you acquire revision content
How are you acquiring your content? If you are taking notes through reading of a textbook, stop highlighting the entire page and put the pen down. The key to taking summarised notes is to utilise buzzwords and topic sentences, write down the stuff that stands out and ditch as many filler sentences as possible. If you are a visual learner, reflecting on a page of notes that is clear and stripped back to what needs to be learned will be a lot easier than staring at pages of paragraphs that all blend into one with no clear focus. Similarly, if you are making notes from content provided on lecture slides and recordings, trying out methods such as Jamworks to pluck out this key information without copying each slide word for word will save a lot of time.
Follow study accounts on social media
We share so many aspects of our lives online, so why not our study methods too? There are millions of students sharing their notes and revision methods on apps and websites such as Instagram and Tumblr. Absorbing revision inspiration and ideas from other students can help togive you ideas to use in your own work while also get you in the revision mindset.
Give yourself regular breaks and approach revision in time blocks
There is a misconception that the harder and later into the night a student works, that this makes them more productive. In reality, a bunch of notes you have written at 2am whilst half asleep are not going to be as efficient as if you had gone home, showered and had a meal and freshened your brain before going back to the books. The secret success to levelling up your revision and taking better notes is to have a healthy work life balance. We are only human, and we must equally focus on all of our priorities in order to truly succeed in more ways than just one – studying