The benefits of study notes are immense, and for many different reasons.
If you just read through your notes without taking any notes you will not know how much of the course work you have actually understood. The process of extracting the essence of what you are reading forces you to organise how you think about it – meaning you ensure you understand every key point.
Remember it is crucial that you don’t just rewrite what is in the textbook – the idea is to summarise (just extract the key points) and write in your own words. This ensures that you really do know what you are talking about!
Another key trick is to read back over your notes from the day before – this not only lets you see if what you wrote yesterday makes sense, but also gives you that extra read-through for retention of information.
As we mentioned in our previous paragraph, the trick with writing notes is to extract the ESSENCE of the course. This means that by the time you have summarised your textbook you are left with the things you really should know for exams.
TIP: At the start of every chapter your course should outline the learning outcomes for the chapter. These are what you will be examined on!! So if you are not sure what you should be writing notes on – start the chapter by writing out those learning outcomes, and just explain those as you get to them in the chapter. In this way your notes really will reflect exactly what you have to learn for your exams.
Ever had that feeling when you arrived in the exam that you cannot remember anything from the previous 6 months of studying? Well – that is not uncommon. The stress of the exam room can have that effect, especially if you have been relying on last minute cramming to get by. Writing study notes, and using these to revise is very useful in ensuring you can remember everything when faced with that final exam.
We wish you all the best with your studies, and hope to see you posting those awesome study notes.