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Answers from a Lazy Topper: How to make knock-out notes

Updated on April 10, 2016

Notes are incredibly important while preparing for an exam. Many students make their own notes, depending on how they want to use them. But there are also some who don’t understand the importance of the notes.

No matter how lazy you are, you will have to make notes to score better in exams. So here I am to help you make some knock out notes. (It’s not as tedious as you think it is)

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1. Skim through the chapter:

So you have an enormous 30 page chapter in front of you. You are probably thinking how you are going to read the entire length of it let alone make notes. So what you should do is: quickly skim through the chapter, and read the topics that are being covered. So now you know what is in the chapter. That’s the first step.

2 Read the questions:

Most text books have a score of questions at the back of the chapter. Keep note of the topics that the questions are referring to. Those are the important topics that you need to read extra carefully.

3. Read the chapter actively:

Reading a 30 page long chapter is tedious. And trust me, I know that. But you will have to eventually read it. Check out my post for reading a 30 page chapter, and perhaps, that will help you to some extent. Now once you done some active reading, we come to the main stage.

4. Making those notes:

What to do? How to do it? I can’t possibly make notes for every freaking topic! I used to be exactly like that. And like an idiot, I made notes for each topic, which I never referred back to. Why? Because it was exactly what was already written on the book. Verbiage, we call it.

What most people do is that they make notes in a way that they don’t need to read the chapter again. A) It is tiresome, and for lazy students, not the best way out, and B) you will have to read the text again. So those notes are basically redundant.

While some people do work better in this manner, I would always encourage smart studying rather than hard work directed in the wrong direction.

So here is the trick:

(a) You make notes only for those topics that are important by referring to #2 (mentioned above). Those are the most likely questions that are going to come in the test paper.

(b) You make notes in a manner where only the main terms are mentioned. So when you go through your notes, you will automatically recall (or try to recall) the definitions/meanings of the mentioned terms. The harder you try to recall something, the longer it will stay in your brain.

(c) You make notes in a manner where you link everything mentioned under a particular topic. Every sentence is explaining the previous one. Try to categorize them in a certain way (in any way useful to you) or branch other information off them.

(d) If you want to make your notes unique, then make an extra effort to add certain (relevant) information via internet or books. Do that for topics that are important.

(e) For other irrelevant topics (that might be irrelevant but you can never tell) simply note them down on a page – just the topic and keep them aside. During exam preps: glance through the topics and make sure you know a little of each of them.

(f) Make notes in short bullet points. It makes the whole thing easier to memorize.

(g) Use coloured pens. Will make you want to read them later.

Do you follow any of the above mentioned steps?

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5. Get on with it:

Never skip on making notes. Ever. They are extremely important if you want to score better in exams. Every smart kid in the class makes notes, even when they say they don’t. Making good notes is an art and it takes some time to perfect it. So explore a few way on how to make notes that will help you, and just get on with it.

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