Exam Preparation: How to Make Effective Study Notes
Exams – a few people love them, most hate them, and everyone should take them.
However, your academic success is determined long before you find yourself sitting in the exam hall. It starts with going to classes and is consolidated by your revision. On the day of the exam, you’re simply regurgitating what you’ve already learned.
So, if you want to make yourself and your parents proud, it’s time to learn how to make good study notes. Organized, logical, and engaging study notes could be the difference between celebrating success or shameful failure.
Read on to learn about exam preparation and how to succeed.
Take Notes In Class
It all starts with your initial learning. So, go to your classes and take notes. You’ll improve your notes later, so there’s no need to make them aesthetic.
Focus on getting all the key points down and making sure your writing is legible – you’ll be thankful later.
Next, make sure to keep your notes organized so that you can find your notes for each topic when it comes to it. You can find blank index tabs to help with filing notes here: https://legalsupply.com/legal-tabs/blank-tabs/.
Next, don’t underestimate how long it’ll take to create your notes. Making your notes is actually a critical part of exam preparation, and you should prioritize it.
To get an idea of how long it will take you, count how many topics you need to cover. You should allow a few days to write your notes and a week to revise them for each subject.
If you have multiple exams to do, you’ll probably find this means you need to start making your notes around six months before your assessments. If you’ve got the time, try to allocate an hour per week to write notes as you go throughout the year.
Make Layered Notes
One of the first study skills to master is re-doing your notes in different formats, each containing a certain level of detail.
You should start by writing chapter summaries of each topic you need to revise. Then, learn the content. Once you feel like you’ve grasped the basic concepts, consolidate the key points from each chapter onto one sheet of A4.
Again, learn these sheets. Once you’ve got this down, put the final bullet points to remember onto flashcards and understand them. Once you’ve got all the information written in several levels of detail, you can continue to practice from each of your resources.
Next, forget about the basic black ballpoint pen; it’s time to make it interesting. Pick out your favorite colors and make your notes aesthetic to look at.
Try creating a color code so that you begin to different topics with specific colors. Research shows that the use of color in revision significantly improves your memory of the content of your notes.
However, be careful not to overdo it. You don’t want your notes to look careless, messy, and overwhelming. Instead, stick to a few key colors and use them consistently.
Buy Extra Resources
Your course textbooks will be a valuable resource for your revision, especially if you missed some classes. However, don’t forget to look into additional revision resources to assist with your studies.
There are revision books available that have already done the hard work for you. You’ll find that topics are summarised, key points explained, and revision questions included.
All you need to do is transcribe these texts onto your own notes and then learn them. From flashcards to summary books, there’s something for every course.
No one likes a wall of text, so why add one to your revision notes? Try breaking up your notes with pictures.
You should include labeled diagrams to help your understanding of each topic. Small cartoons can also be useful to help initiate an association of a word to a picture.
Try a few different visual techniques and work out which is your preference. Remember, not everyone’s brain works the same, so there isn’t a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to add visuals to your notes.
Practice Active Recall
Finally, there is no point in making perfect revision notes if you don’t practice learning the information on them. So, you need to incorporate actual ‘learning’ time into every part of your note writing process.
Each time you write a new page, skim read it and try to remember everything you’ve just written. Then move onto another page and repeat – once you’ve finished this, revise the first page again.
If you’ve got friends also studying for the same exams, why not quiz each other after revision sessions? Just make sure you don’t distract each other away from the critical note-making you’re meant to be doing.
Most importantly, at the start of each day, ensure that you revise all the topics you covered the day before. The more you can practice recalling the information you’ve learned, the more likely you will remember it on the big day.
Study Notes for Success
That’s the 101 on how to make study notes that will help you achieve your dreams. Next time you’re lacking motivation, just think about all the doors that a high score in your exam will open. Then, keep going with creating those awesome study notes.
Fast-forward a few months, it’ll all be over, and you can be making money selling your notes to other struggling students!
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