How to make smart notes for competitive exams?

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How to make smart notes for competitive exams?
11 Mar 2021

Isn’t it the easiest thing? You read a topic and write down the main points. And like that your notes are ready.

But first of all, what do you mean by note-making and why do we need to learn about it? Let us find out the answers.

Note making is not about writing down everything you hear or read but is a very technical concept. It is a crucial process of reviewing, connecting, synthesizing and summarizing ideas from the lecture you attended or the study material you read.

Our mind works in wonderful ways, it does not remember everything especially when something is boring. That is why chances of remembering the dialogues of favorite movie are very high as compared to the history classes that we attended back in school or college.

In today’s cut throat competition and especially after inclusion of current affairs one need to remember study content way too much than is asked in exam. One needs to rely on smart work than hard work to excel in competitive exams.

You cannot jot down every piece of information that seems important. You need to filter and make smart notes to not just revise easily before exams but to also give you a quick glimpse of entire concept.

How notes help you?

  • You stay active and engaged during your lecture. Focus on some words that are necessary.
  • Sometimes the study material is very large and it gets difficult to remember large information hence, writing down the important points helps you remember in better way.
  • Reading and revision in the last days before examination date.
  • Helps in active learning.
  • Keeping information handy.

Different methods of note-making

  • Cornell method – mostly used for short information
  • Mind maps – used for storing longer explanation with reference to graphic information by using lines, symbols, color. It is a brain friendly concept.
  • Table format – it is widely used when there is a lot of information and multiple things are to be covered for instance, names of national parks, amendments, legislation, acts etc.
  • Flow chart – it is used for sequencing the data in an order. It helps to remember the flow of information.

Importance of note-making

  • Note making is a very important as it involves us in the learning process. Let us look into other important reasons to start making notes immediately.
  • Notes help you to understand and grasp the topic quickly.
  • Whenever you read something, you have to write down important points as you cannot hold the entire information in your mind.
  • Making notes allow us to reduce the information in manageable size it also helps during exam when we are studying a lot of material has to be covered .
  • Those who write their notes seem to think more intensely about the topic as they write and it increases the concentration level.
  • Handwritten notes in the form of snippets works wonders while revising and helps you during the last minutes of exam.
  • It improves your memory and you can recall it faster when it is written by you in your own handwriting.
  • Before start writing the notes, you should first listen or read that topic 2-3 times thoroughly and then write in your words. This will make sure that only important points are noted down. So, it has double benefit as not only you will remember it but it will also help you to be inspired by your focus.
  • It will develop your writing and reading skills, as you read the content 2 to 3 times and then jump on writing it in your own words.

Steps to make SMART NOTES

  • Gather all the material at one place. Never go writing on haywire when you see the information, take some time and read the concept thoroughly.
  • Mark the most important information, now just understand the whole basic thing and divide the matter into parts and then start writing.
  • Make notes of the main points and ideas affiliated to it under proper / suitable headings and add sub-points under sub-heading depending upon the concept of the paragraph.
  • You may also use flow charts / diagrams.
  • Make easy-to-go notes, with snippets covering all the major terms in the chapter. By this way, you will not miss out on important stuffs.
  • Try to prepare notes by using phrases only, never write whole sentences.
  • It should be concise and to the point, as shorter the sentence the easier to remember it.
  • Highlight / underline only the key points.
  • Use proper layouts/formats.
  • Leave some space behind the paper so that you can add small details later if required.
  • Use recognized abbreviations into the points to make it shorter wherever possible.
  • Using different colors will not vex your brain but excess usage will do, remember TOO MUCH OF ANYTHING IS DANGEROUS.
  • Certain colors have been linked to certain functions in the brain for example, Green color might allow for long-term concentration and clarity of concept, Blue color is linked to increase productivity.
  • These colors may help in retention of information. Hence, keep the color scheme simple and try not to use more than 3 colors.

Now that we have read so much about making notes, its time to start using these techniques for best results. Remember that you cannot master note-making skills in a day. But sooner you include this habit in your studies better it would be for you.