Efficient and Effective Note taking

Week 2 is here which means lecturers are rolling out all their notes and all the different topics they have to discuss and help us learn for our mid-semester & final exams. Don’t panic (yet) (or at all, for that matter)! You’ve still got plenty of time but don’t get too relaxed. Sometimes the days just fly by and next thing you know, you’re behind on 6 weeks of lectures and your exam is right around the corner.


Note taking is a very variable and subjective process. Different things work for different people. So, this is by no means a rule book but are just different suggestions and tips that may work for you. Studies have said that effective note-taking is one that requires effort and active learning.

Be concise

No one wants to read paragraphs upon paragraphs of notes so keep it short and simple. It’s also good to use your own words in describing concepts that have been introduced to you so that you’re able to test your knowledge and understanding of it.

Keep things neat

Just as no one wants to read huge blocks of words, your eyes won’t appreciate having to look at notes that are all over the page and with no sense of direction or organisation. The layout of your notes will help you absorb the information more efficiently as well as, it’ll help you picture out the different sections of your notes in your head when you need to recall something during your exam.


Write in an order that is easy to keep up with. Bullet points are definitely your best friends.

Mark down topics/words you don’t fully understand

By this, I mean, put a symbol beside concepts or words that the lecturer has used that you don’t understand too well or you haven’t grasped the meaning of. This will make it easier for you to know where you to begin during revision or where to come back to after the lecture to look things up.


We all take notes in order for us to understand concepts and topics more thoroughly so if we can’t understand our own note-taking, we lower our chances even more of comprehending what we’re trying to learn.

If you want to know more about note-taking, here’s a good article that I found extremely interesting.