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Beginners Guide: How to make notes for effective exam revision

Aug 23, 2023

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How does note-taking help?

How to take notes?

Beginners Guide: How to make notes for effective exam revision


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How does note-taking help?

Note-taking helps you in several crucial ways, which are -

  • Promoting active engagement: Taking notes requires processing information as you listen to a lecture in class, read a book or watch a video lecture. This, in turn, increases your engagement and helps you understand the topic with much ease.
  • Selective focus: While taking notes, you must identify key points and important details that you must remember. This allows you to filter crucial information. You can then categorize information and refer to it later for revision before the exam.
  • Boosts Memory: Writing down information makes it easier to recall it later when needed.
  • Personalization: Your notes reflect your understanding and perspective of a topic.
  • Review and Revision: Notes are condensed versions of extensive content, making it more manageable for you to review and revise before exams.
  • Active Learning: When you summarize, paraphrase, and transform information into your one version as notes, it promotes a deeper understanding of the topic/subject.

How to take notes?

Taking effective notes that are an invaluable asset for exam revision involves a combination of strategies. However, it's essential to figure out what works best for you as per your individual learning style. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to take notes:

  • Be Prepared

    An important and often overlooked step in note-taking is being prepared. If you have already skimmed through the topic and reviewed it before your lecture or reading session, it will give you a basic understanding and context while jotting the notes. It will also save you time and make the notes more comprehensible.

  • Active Listening/Reading

    The key to taking effective notes lies in active listening/reading. It's important to concentrate and maintain focus during a lecture or while reading so that you can grasp the main ideas. This way, you'll be noting down the key points instead of writing down every word.

  • Use a Structured Format

    Organization is very important when it comes to making good notes. You must be able to look at your notes later and understand the topic quickly. To do so, you must organize the information efficiently and use a structured format. You can divide your page into sections or consider different note-taking methods like the Cornell Note-Taking System or the Outline Method.

    The Cornell Note-Taking System divides the page into main notes on the right and cue columns on the left. This helps in capturing and reviewing key information easily.

    Similarly, the Outline Method arranges notes hierarchically, with main points, subpoints, and sub-sub points. This provides a structured overview of the content.

  • Summarize and Paraphrase

    You will be reading through vast topics. Try to condense all the information in your own words to make it easy to remember and recall. While summarizing and paraphrasing the topic, focus on jotting down the main ideas, keywords, concepts, definitions, and any supporting details that helps clarify the topic.

  • Use Visual Aids

    Diagrams, mind maps, flow charts, tables, etc. are helpful ways to compress complex information in easy to read and remember format. You can use bulleted lists and numbering to organize the information further.

  • Review and Edit

    It's important to make a habit that after the lecture or reading is over, you go back and revisit your notes to identify if all the key information is covered. Add any missed points and clarify unclear areas. Also, make sure to leave some blank space for adding additional information later. In addition to that, you can also make your notes more effective by jotting down any questions you find important or connections you discover with other topics.

Remember, note-taking is about identifying and listing the key points that summarize a topic. The more organized you are with your notes, the easier it will be to revise and recall the information later. Moreover, note-taking is a skill that improves with consistent practice. Adapt your techniques based on what proves most effective for your learning.


And, for those of you who prefer highlighting important information in the textbooks rather than making notes, you can refer to PrepLadder Notes 5.0. They are prepared by experts keeping all the important information in a well-structured and self-explanatory manner. Plus, they also have high-quality images, diagrams and medical illustrations that further aid learning.


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Auther Details

Kashika Walia

Kashika Walia is a Senior Content Writer at PrepLadder. She is devoted to give her readers easily digestible and high-value content that makes their journey towards their dream career incredibly easy.

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