Note-making strategies

Apply these strategies to make your note making more efficient and your notes more useful:

  • Always maintain academic integrity and note the source of information. Write down the page number if you are making a note from a specific part of a text.
  • Be clear and concise so that your notes will be easy to read and understand later on.
  • Leave extra space in your notes so you can add further information and clarification as you learn more.
  • Make your notes visually pleasing and easy to skim through.
  • Highlight important points, particularly core concepts, key theories, and assessed task instructions.
  • Plan how you will store your notes for easy retrieval of information. For example, plan how you will organise your files and folders so that you can easily find the notes you need.
  • Explore different ways of making notes for different purposes:
    • Note-making applications such as OneNote and Evernote can be customised to fit a range of specific needs.
    • Mind mapping can be an effective method of structuring notes and ideas.
    • MS Word and Google docs will allow you to easily navigate large amounts of notes through headings, bookmarks and hyperlinks.
    • Spreadsheets such as Excel or Google Sheets can be used as note making tools when you need to tag or organise information by categories or in chronological order.
  • Review and improve your notes as you learn:
    • Rewrite what you have written if it can be made clearer and easier to understand.
    • Add more details if needed.
    • Annotate or summarise the information captured in any diagrams or images.

Ask your lecturer or tutor, or your classmates to help you fill in any gaps.

Taking it further

As a student you will be expected to engage with the literature.  This may include reading a set textbook for a unit or reading an academic article for a literature review.