Art of Making Notes

Whether you a student or a teacher, you must develop a habbit of making
notes. Let us begin with the advantages of making notes. Then, we will
discuss the characteristics of good notes. In the end, we will compare some
of the notes making techniques.

Advantages of Notes Making
When you study a book or attend a class lecture, you must summarise its
contents in form of brief notes. Making notes will offer you following advantages:
  • You narrow down a huge content to main theme. This is easy to remember and memorize
  • The concepts become more clearer as you write notes in your words
  • Making notes will improve your spelling, grammer and if hand-written will certainly improve your hand-writing
  • You may end-up with great notes when you compile same topic from different books and other sources
Characteristics of Good Notes
A good note will have following properties:
  • It should contain only the relevant material
  • It should be written in a way that is easy to remember
  • It should have capability to accomodate further findings on same topic from different sources
Notes Making Techniques
Some of the common notes making techniques are:

Making Notes on the Book Itself
This technique is easy to implement as you need only the book and a pencil
to write on it. As you read the book, you can underline important things or
mark them with a bracket. You may also write on the marginal space on the
page. But, this is the worst style of making notes. Firstly, you are spoiling
the book by writing on it. Secondly, your notes are not from multiple sources;
stating the best from each one. Thirdly, you still need to carry whole volume
of books rather than crispy notes.

Making Notes in a Notebook
Perhaps, this is the best way of making notes. The style will vary from person
to person. Some may like descriptive notes while the majority likes point-wise
notes. I prefer notes illustrating concepts through diagrams rather through
long paragraphs. Researchers found that Mind-Maps, although difficult to
make, are a good way of making notes. We illustrate concepts through these
maps as they are organized in our mind. This sytle makes the memorizing
notes easily.You should leave atleast one inch margins or write on one side
of page only to allow additions to your topic from other sources. You can
also adopt Filing approach where you write on loose sheets and file them in
desired order. You can add or remove a page easily in this scheme.

The Electronic Way of Making Notes
This is gaining popularity these days. Modifications to electronic i.e. digital
notes are easily done. There are software like WhizFolder, Free MindMap,
Mind Manager etc available for making notes. They can maintain your notes
in hierarchical manner and provide conversion from one format to another
like RTF to HTML. But for making digital notes, you should always be infront
of computers which many of you don't like. You should always backup
your digital notes lest all your efforts may go in vain.

The Not So Common Ways of Notes Making

You may read-out a book and get it recorded in audio form. This you can
listen while you are travelling or anywhere else. Another way is to utilize
speech-recognition capabilties of your word-processor like MS Office XP. You
read-out and computer will convert it into a text file. But, conversion is not
100% correct.

So Which is The Best Way of Making Notes
You can adopt any way or style that is
  • Easy to implement
  • Carry only relevant information
  • Presentation style should be the best like diagrams, phrases or Mind-Maps
  • Allow easy modifications to your notes
  • Making notes is an art which you can develop over time. So, what are you waiting for.. HAPPY NOTES MAKING