Study notes serve as an effective aiding tool to help students pass a subject. They are not supposed to be a facsimile copy of the lecture or the PowerPoint presentation of the subject instructor.
In the latter case, you are only regurgitating the information, rather than absorbing the essence of the lesson.
As an added bonus, you can actually sell your study notes to websites, such as Thinkswap, after you have passed your subject. It is a good way to earn money because you get a royalty fee every time someone downloads your study notes.
Even if you do not go back to your notes later, studies have shown that writing down the instruction will improve retention.
For instance, a 2014 research showed that handwriting notes would force you to summarise the information rather than copying it verbatim. The hand just could not keep up with the oral presentation.
Nevertheless, here are some ways to make more effective study notes:
1. Focus on keywords
As already mentioned, regardless of how fast you write, you could not keep up with the spoken word.
One trick is to focus on keyword and fill the gaps in between, which allows them to absorb the information better.
For instance, you can do away with the linking verbs and prepositions, which allow you to write faster.
2. Include examples
With each main topic, you should come up with examples, using your own words, that would explain the concept.
The more complex the subject, the simpler the words that you must use. Imagine that you are a teacher explaining to the student.
3. Bullet points
The method will allow you to organise the thought and then break it down to digestible pieces. Bullet points also make sure that you do not stray from the subject matter. When you do go back to studying later, it is easier to pick up where you left off.
4. Use your own words
Copying your teacher or the research material is super easy. But it would not do anything to help you understand the lesson. When you use your own words, you are processing the idea in your mind even before jotting it down in your notebook.
5. Write legibly
For students with bad handwriting, it is recommended that they go back to their notes. This time, using fresh paper or notebook, transfer the information using legible handwriting. There are three advantages to doing this:
- They can retain the information better
- They can fill out the gaps, especially when they are only using keywords to catch up
- Legible study notes will sell better if they do decide to work with file-sharing websites like Thinkswap.
If you have bad handwriting, it can be a source of frustration, especially if you could not make out some of the words. In the end, you might even stop studying the lesson altogether.
Everybody works at their own pace. Whether you are more comfortable with the laptop or your notebook when you jot down notes, then continue what you are doing.
But if you do decide to sell your study notes, make sure that they are your own words and not just plagiarised content. It would drastically increase the chances of your notes being accepted for distribution.