It is important that your notes are complete and accurate. The best way to be certain that your notes are complete and accurate is to review themas soon after the instuction/lesson as you can while the information is still fresh in your mind. As you rewrite them you should correct any errors, fill in any gaps and add any additional or supporting information as required.
A ‘side’ benefit from rewriting your notes is that it reinforces the information helping you to remember and recall it more effectively.
Rewriting your notes method
This is all very well, but, what you really need is a way of taking really effective notes at the time rather than having to re-write them. The two main ways you can do this are by using the Skeleton Prose and Cornell Note Taking Methods.
This is the most common form of note taking. Notes are structured as a sequence of numbered points and paragraphs, with headings and indentations which resembles an essay plan. It is a useful technique for books or articles where arguments are static and built up slowly and sequentially.
The negatives of a skeleton prose are that they: are difficult to add to or amend do not indicate the relationship or connection between different parts of the argument easy to fall into the trap of coping text verbatim
The Cornell note taking system
This method of note taking was devised for students at Cornell University in the USA and has been publicised through Walter Pauk’s books on study skills for University education.
It provides you with a structured, common-sense way of making sure that you take clear notes, engage with them actively and have accurate material from which you can study or revise. It prevents you from having to laboriously recopy your notes when revising or studying – a so called ‘do it right first time’ method.
The advantages and benefits of this note taking method can be summarised as:
Prior to revising/making notes:
Consider having these sheets pre-printed as a blank template so can always have with you, or as an electronic document, for example word or pages. Additionally you can do any pre-reading around the topic under consideration / discussion.
During revising/making notes
Once completed and preferably within 24 hours: