Take Better Notes By Structuring Them In A Hierarchy

Everyone has a different way of jotting down notes in a meeting or lecture. If you need precision in your notes, The Atlantic has a post recommending that you stick with a rigorously structured order.

Picture: English106

Notes exist to both help you learn material and to help you recall it later. You have a lot of ways to boost your note-taking skills, including simple things like underlining the important stuff and making sure you actually reread those notes later on. That said, The Atlantic's article suggests a structured, hierarchal method works best:

The Journal of Reading compared different note-taking methods and found that the most rigorously structured -- those with hierarchal ordering and numbered subsections -- were of the highest quality and accuracy. A two-column method came in a close second; these notes were arranged such that the left column contained the information from the given event (i.e. the meeting, lecture or talk) and the right column was used later to fill out follow-up points and highlight key themes. Although these notes were significantly more precise than freestyle note-taking, there was little difference in the ability of the note-taker to recall the material.

The second method The Atlantic talks about is the Cornell note-taking method, but the hierarchy method is nice, because it works both for paper notes and electronics ones. Of course, everyone's different, but if you find yourself having a little trouble understanding material because your note-taking method isn't structured, this is worth a try. Head over to The Atlantic for a few more tips on improving your notes.

How to Become a Masterful Note-Taker: 8 Lessons From Research [The Atlantic]


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