Efficient Note Taking

As some of you might know, I’m not much of a note taker. The research has shown that the act of note taking is better than not reviewing the material at all but it’s definitely not an effective study technique. Just the act of making, rereading, or highlighting notes is not enough for you to get a good, long-term grasp of the information. It’s mainly a way of making sure you have a source that you can rely on for your review. The thing is though, many people make notes and if you’re lucky to be in a cooperative school or university you could just use someone else’s. This saves a lot of time and lets you focus on more effective methods of studying.

My form of note-taking is in the form of my Anki cards. Usually, people like having notes so that they have a concise way of reviewing the information relevant to their class. Anki cards can function in the same way. The only difference is that you’re not going to be able to skim through and get a general grasp of the material as easily. In this case, you could just use other people’s notes.

It might come as a disappointment to those of you out there who like making nice-looking notes and spend their time adding colors and images, but that’s not really necessary. If you have enough time to review with active recall and spaced repetition and feel like you find value in making them, then be my guest. Just don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re studying efficiently in the process.