Blog of Sara Jakša

6 Ways To Take Notes

There exist a lot of ways to take notes. The one that people chooses depends on their goals, and familiarity with a chosen note taking method.

The first type of note taking is transcribing note taking. It means noting down everything, that is said and written on the table.

The positive side of these notes are, that even if a note taker didn't remember anything from the lecture, they are still complete, so learning can take place from them. They are also the best for people, that would like to borrow it and learn from them.

The negative side of this note taking is time. Because it takes so much time, the person taking the notes have no time to reflect on the lecture learned or build his or her own connections to the material presented.

The second type of note taking is linear note taking. Instead of transcribing everything, the person notes bullet points of everything he or she finds important.

Here, the person already have to think during lecture, what is important and what isn't. The notes are also complete enough, that learning from them, in case of misunderstanding the material, is easy.

The negative side is still, that person is not reflecting and building connections.

The upgrade of that method is the notes with thinking. This method is mostly used with bullet point method, but it can be used with any method.

Dividing the page to two parts. The bigger part is the one of taking notes. The smaller part is for all the ideas, that a note taker gets during the lecture.

Here the learner starts to process the material on the deeper level, but is mostly by intuition, than deliberately. They are still good to learn. But borrowing them to schoolmates might be embarrassing, depending on the ideas, gotten during lecture.

The next method is flow note taking. Write the concepts and the connect them between themselves. Similar to flow chart.

Here the note taker have to make connections between concepts, by himself or by being pointed up by the teacher. The notes are still understandable, but the process the process is making the reasoning of the note taker go deeper (except in the case, that all the connections are pointed out by the teacher).

Then we have a famous mind map note taking. You write the most upper concept in the middle, and the further the branches, the less important they are.

They are good, if the person is using the deeper level of thinking while making them. But they are the pain in the ass to understand later, if not. Also not good for transcribing, I find them good for remembering things on a smaller scale.

The last method is the picture method. Similar to the mind map method, except that only pictures are allowed. Any the hierarchy is not that important. Could be also used as flow note taking, but with only pictures.

I like it, because it makes me do the deep level thinking and it forces me to bring all the abstract concepts on concrete level. I also have to make connections on the fly. But if you feel to process any information on the deep level, than that information is lost. There is no way to get any missing information from this method. It is also useless for anybody else.

As I said on the beginning, the method used depends on the goals and the familiarity. But sometimes, try a different method and see how it goes.