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Knowing Different Note-Taking Methods and Tips for Better Retention

Written information has a long-term memory span compared to information that is read. This is because the process of active note-taking engages the different parts of the brain and allows students to keep the same stored in the memory for longer durations. And the more detailed the note, the better it is to retain most of the information in the brain. 

Also, note-taking practices develop skills that are used lifelong and make keeping track of things easy and organised. So, it is important to grow fine and quick note-taking skills. Kids must be gradually introduced to the fruitfulness of the same. 

Methods For Effective Note-taking to Ensure Better Retention by Students 

The focus here should be on how well students learn to take notes to extract maximum benefit. The technique or method of note-taking can vary from student to student. Whether you are aiming for admission to an international baccalaureate program or any other worthy program, learning should always be guided by an objective. And identifying the method of note-taking which is beneficial for a student is a key requirement. There are different note-taking methods. They are:-

  1. Boxing Method

This is a newly known note-taking strategy. But due to its effectiveness, it has become one of the most relevant and proven note-taking methods. It is used to keep things organized and works equally well for digital notes and handwritten notes.

  1. Charting Method

This method organizes and compares information and categorizes them in the form of a chart – this is a simple and easy-to-follow method. The charting method makes learning and memorizing simple and systematic. 

  1. Cornwell Note-Taking Method 

Professor Walter Pauk of Cornell University developed this method. This technique makes learning any topic easier by diving the page into two columns. The right-side broad column is used for jotting down class notes, and the left, narrow column is used as the Cue Column.

  1. Mapping Method 

This method is perfect for students with high visual intent. It uses a visual map connection between the primary and supporting points, thereby creating an imagery reflection in the mind that can be used later on. This method is also helpful for evaluating topics.

  1. Outline Method 

This is a very effective note–taking method. In this technique, a broader topic is selected and broken down into sub-heads and points with proper bullets and indenting. The use of keywords and phrases helps to keep the note stay longer in students’ memory.

  1. The Sentence Method 

Full sentences are written when it comes to this method. Students with good writing speed can use this method as they can have a full-fledged note to refer to later.

  1. Sketchnotes

This technique proves very helpful for the ones who can easily learn through visual resources. As the name suggests, this method involves sketching to create images connected to keywords and phrases, making learning fun and easy. Mapping and boxing elements can be merged to create meaningful sketches, and the use of doodles and block letters can also take place.

Useful Tips for Students to Sharpen Note-Taking Skills 

Be it for Singapore Secondary School Admission or any other educational course or program, given below are a few helpful tips that will make note-taking easy and rewarding for you.

  1. Keep the focus on the key points of the lesson or topic. Keep your ears open, and try stressing on the keywords and phrases instead of robotically writing every word.
  2. Listen to the teacher’s words but try to summarise everything in your style. Taking notes in a way most suitable for you to remember later is more important than just mindlessly taking notes in class. If so, you may find your hand-written notes challenging to understand later. Putting your mind to work along with your hands for note-taking is a good tip for quickly remembering everything later.
  3. While taking notes, always jot down the unfamiliar words and look for clarification later. You can also highlight these words by drawing a circle around them to find them later easily.
  4. Always use colour to highlight the essential portions or concepts. You can do this while taking down the note or even later revising the content. Using colours helps you to highlight and mark the core concepts easily and helps the brain to retain the information efficiently.
  5. It is very normal to miss a word here and a line there while taking running notes in the classroom. But don’t hesitate to ask the teacher to repeat them for you. Again, if you don’t want to do this not to disturb the flow of the class, put a star on the section you missed, and you can check with others once the class is over.
  6. And another helpful tip is to make a fresh copy of the class notes to organize all the information in a better way. It will help you go through the important points once again and keep things fresh and noted in your mind.


Students must use whichever way seems most appropriate and effective for quick and organized note-taking. What works for one may just not work for another. You will have to try out several note-taking methods before understanding which works best for you. And once you identify the method and techniques for speedy and efficient note-taking, retention will automatically improve. 



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