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3 most important things to note about note-taking

3 most important things to note about note-taking

It’s the eve of exams and your child is having trouble revising. But don’t worry, they’ll be ready when the time comes - they just need to learn how to collect the necessary knowledge and remember enough of it before stepping into the exam hall.

Besides attempting worksheet after worksheet, one thing your child can do to prepare is to create notes as they read through their textbooks. But how can you make sure that they’re using the best practices for note-taking?

In this article, we'll explore the three most important aspects of note-taking that every student should be aware of while they study for their exams.

#1: There is no best method

When it comes to note-taking, it's essential to understand that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Numerous note-taking strategies exist, from traditional outlines to mind maps and digital note-taking tools. But what works best for one may not be suitable for another. The key is to recognise which ones resonate the most with your child.

Consider the Cornell Method, which encourages summarising key points and questions in a systematic way. While it's effective for some, others may prefer the visual clarity of mind maps or the versatility of digital tools.

If your child hasn’t already found a favourite method, encourage them to experiment with different note-taking strategies to discover what resonates with them the most.

#2: Longer notes are not necessarily better notes

One common misconception about note-taking is that longer notes are better notes. While it's tempting for students to create exhaustive, detailed notes that cover every aspect of the curriculum, these extensive notes can oftentimes become unwieldy and unfocused, causing confusion, or even worse, disinterest in studying due to the challenge of locating and extracting key information.

Instead, emphasise the importance of concise, organised notes. Encourage your child to focus on capturing the most critical concepts, key terms, and examples. By doing so, they will create notes that are not only easier to review - buying more time for reading and practise - but also more effective in aiding their understanding of the material.

#3: Most important part of note-taking: Write Down Your Own Notes

Here's the crux of effective note-taking: the most valuable work occurs before your child even puts pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). It's the process of comprehending and condensing the material in their mind that makes all the difference; by creating a summarised version of what they’ve learned in the form of a note, your child is effectively teaching themselves.

Try to encourage your child to take notes by engaging actively with the content, asking questions, and making connections. Suggest that they review the material, identify key concepts, and jot down questions for further clarification (if any). Only after this mental preparation should they commit their thoughts to their notes.

This approach transforms note-taking from a passive task to an active learning process, which will contribute greatly to knowledge retention.


In closing, note-taking isn't just a tool for everyday learning; it's a powerful asset during exam preparations. By embracing the individuality of note-taking methods, prioritising concise notes, and understanding that effective notes are born from a deep understanding of the material, your child can unlock their potential and excel in their studies.

As parents, your support and guidance in nurturing these note-taking skills can make a significant difference in your child's academic success. Encourage them to explore different techniques, refine their approach, and approach their studies with confidence.

With the right note-taking strategies in place, your child can not only excel in their exams but also develop a lifelong skill that will serve them well in their academic and professional journey. All the best!

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