Knowing what to and what not to write down from a textbook is a often an issue when studying. Should I include this or is that completely necessary? Hopefully these few tips will help anyone struggle to use their textbook!
- Read the textbook prior to taking notes – This helps give you a solid understanding of the material so you can summarise and shorten your notes. Have a good understanding is great to help shorten your notes, since you can avoid copying the menial information.
- Highlight some key points, terms and concepts before taking notes – Remember not to over-highlight, keep it brief and minimal; key words, facts, and statistics!
- Have a colour coding system – This helps to visualise your notes when trying to memorise information and also makes your notes more effective material to learn from. Making sure you’re using the same colours for highlighting your textbook and writing your notes. My colour coding system can be found here.
- Use the layout of the textbook to organise your notes – I found copying the headings and subheadings really helped simplify and ensure I was learning each section. It’s much easy to find information when you’re skimming through notes. This also ensures that you can remember what topic areas relate to others, meaning you can add more into your essays under exam conditions!
- Include different ways to show the information – Use mindmaps, bullet points, graphs, flow chats, and post-it notes to help visualise the content. Breaking up your notes with graphics is a good way to avoid full pages of writing and great for memorising statistics or key elements of a topic.
- Supplement your notes – Use other textbooks and your own research to expand the depth of your notes. This is highly important for subjects that can require evidence, statistics and evaluations. Making sure this information is embedded into your notes is great for writing essays.
- Add your own personal touch – Add doodles, acronyms, and abbreviations to help your study. Little things that make important information unique and standout will help you recall it later!
- Summarise each chapter – Make a final summary of each chapter using sticky notes or flash cards. Once you’ve read your textbook, you’ll have a collection of chapter summaries ready to study from.
Each of these tips have helped me recreate notes that are well-rounded and full of brief but useful information. I hope this information helps. Let me know if it does!