How to take effective notes at university – OurWarwick
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How to take effective notes at university

Samantha Holden
Samantha Holden | Politics, Philosophy and Law (PPL) Contact Samantha

I wrote in a recent blog about taking notes and how when I first started at university my notes were a transcript of the lecture and this was not helpful. Quite a few people got in touch asking me to explain more about taking effective notes, so here we go.

Firstly divide up the module. For most modules each week will be on a new topic so divide your notes according to this e.g. Week 1 Brexit- I also colour code the different topics.

Then I have smaller titles- perhaps the title of the slide which I then underline and make bullet point notes underneath. I put keywords in bold and most importantly put cases, examples and scholars in bold. If I definitely need to mention this person I will also highlight their name as well as being in bold. This helps when writing essays as you have key things to refer back to.

I also use pictures as this really helps me remember e.g. a scholar called Taylor may have a picture of Taylor Swift next to it- sounds odd but really helpful when you come to revise.

Here is an example:

I appreciate that it takes longer to make your notes look nice but it actually saves you time down the line- I often try to get the writing down in the lecture and sort your format out later. Work SMART!

I also put exam tips in orange to make it clear.

A good software I use is Sonocent which really helps me with this. It allows you to download the PPT slides and put text next to it and also a recording of the lecture. You simply press enter to move to the next slide- this helps me keep up with the pace. A lot of the computers also have the software in the Library. Alternatively, you can make the notes in PPT slides note section.

Recording audio and creating notes from lectures- Sonocent Audio Notetaker  for PC – UOS Assistive Technology

When it comes to revision you will then have one document with all your stuff in. So transferring your notes into the word document I suggested is ideal and means you will create your own revision guide a bit like the CPG ones I used to have at school.

I also include a synopsis or small paragraph from the reading, journals and websites. Once I have created my booklet I used revision websites and YouTube videos to add to this.

When doing my exams online this year I was able to use Control F to find the answers/ authors quickly.

If you create a good revision booklet you can sell it to younger years and lots of student websites will also want it!

I hope this helps. Please message me or comment any questions about making notes I would be happy to help.

Samantha Holden
Samantha Holden | Politics, Philosophy and Law (PPL) Contact Samantha

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