Note Taking Essentials: How to Keep Organized and Effective Notes | Emily | Skillshare

Note Taking Essentials: How to Keep Organized and Effective Notes

Emily, Student & Note-Taking Enthusiast

Note Taking Essentials: How to Keep Organized and Effective Notes

Emily, Student & Note-Taking Enthusiast

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9 Lessons (19m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. The Project

    • 3. Recommended Supplies

    • 4. Picking Out The Important Information

    • 5. Organization

    • 6. Notetaking Styles

    • 7. Handwriting Tips

    • 8. How to Make Pretty Notes

    • 9. Conclusion

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About This Class

Want to learn how to take notes in way that makes information stick, and is actually fun?

Hello! Welcome to an introduction to note taking, all about how to keep organized and effective notes. 

This beginner class is designed to teach you the basics to note taking and some tips to take your notes to the next level. It will cover everything from the basic supplies to elevating your notes to be more organized and effective. 

This class is great for anytime when you need to take notes whether it’s in school, your personal life, work environment, or just anybody who wants to take notes, this class is perfect for you!

All you need to start is a paper and writing utensil, but other materials can be used to take your notes to the next level in a step by step fashion on creating amazing notes. After you watch this class, you can start right away with taking your notes. 

Follow me along in this class while I take you into a world of note taking! Excited to see what you create!

Who am I?

Hello! I'm Emily, a first year university student from Canada, studying health sciences. In my free time I love to study and make aesthetic notes, you can catch them on my Instagram. I also film and create YouTube videos, all about studying, productivity, and note taking!

In this class, I created an all encompassing video on the principles and tips about note taking. 

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Student & Note-Taking Enthusiast


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1. Introduction: [MUSIC] Whether we're trying to write down information for class or meeting, I think we've all taken notes, but today's beginner class, I'll be discussing how to take neat and effective notes for organizing your life and everything around you, your studying habits. My name is Emily and I'm a Canadian university student and today I'll be teaching you throughout this class. For the past few years, I've been posting my notes on Instagram and I learned that how this system of creating neat work and organized notes, really helps you boost your productivity in studying habits. This class will cover everything from supplies, organization, note-taking styles, how they're faster and neater, and how to make your notes look prettier and neater. Throughout the class, I'll also give you many tips and tricks to make your setting notes amazing. This class is to create pursuit and lectures in a meeting, in conferences, other presentation, anything. By the end of this class, you'll learn how to start taking near and organized notes, so let's get there. [MUSIC] 2. The Project: For today's class project, you'll be taking your own notes using videos from Skillshare. Across Skillshare, there are so many different videos you can watch and learn information from. So it makes sense for today's project to be making your own notes. Here is the breakdown of the steps you'll need to follow. First is gather your supplies, pick a note-taking styles such as the outline Cornell or mindmapping style, choose a color scheme, choose titles and subtitles to use, record notes, highlight important information, and add details to your notes to make them prettier if you want, which is totally optional. I did my class project on how to study by Ali Abdaal but there are so many other videos across the platform for you to choose from. Feel free to share your notes with everyone in the Projects tab. Don't feel obligated to only post a project, you can also post any notes you want that you've made from this class. Let's get started into the lesson. 3. Recommended Supplies : In this lesson, we'll be discussing the recommended supplies. Of course, these are all optional as you only really need a pen and paper to take notes. However, these are just some supplies and stationary I think you could use to make your notes look amazing. The first item is a black pen or pencil. It really doesn't matter. I prefer using a gel or ballpoint pen as the ink can be darker and smoother, but any writing utensil is totally up to you. Next are some colorful highlighters. I like using the zebra mildliners. However, any highlighters are great. I usually use a variety of colors as this makes your notes stand out but if you only have a few, that's also a great. Next will be using some colorful pens. I generally use these to annotate information, intimate titles and subtitles. Next is a black marker. A black marker is super versatile and can be used for many things on your notes, and last are some sticky notes. I generally like using these to add some extra information and they add a pop of color to your notes. Next, we'll be discussing the type of paper you need to use for your notes. Generally, you use two options. There's a notebook or loosely in a binder. I'll be going over which one you should use and the pros and cons of each. So notebooks are great for keeping all your information together. They're super portable and light. They can also tend to be limited to a number of pages. So once you run out, you have to get a new notebook, whereas loosely paper you can keep on adding as much as you want. However, vagus can be super bulky and heavy, so you might not want to use them, but anything works depending on your learning style. If you're unsure of what type of paper to use, I left in the resources a bunch of different paper downloads you can check out. I've just outlined the basic supplies I think you should use and now we'll move on to creating an organization system for your notes. 4. Picking Out The Important Information: The next lesson, we'll focus on picking out which information is important. Often on album, we're note-taking, there's a plethora of information and text to be copied down. However, we need to learn that not everything is important and that some things should be copied down while other should not. Before the note-taking process, what I recommend you do is go through the introduction and conclusion. If you're in a presentation, often pay attention to the introduction as they list the important main points that will be discussed throughout. Or if you're reading from a text-based material, often or not, the introduction and conclusion are crucial to seeing what will be discussed in the next sections. Often or not, they have a summary of the entire section of the reading. If you go through them, they'll often label the main points that were discussed. Look through anything bolded, just go through material and see what's happening. We're in the process of note-taking during what you'll be copying down. To do is grab the information and write down what you think is important. You don't need to copy everything word for word, but I have a few tips to help you out when you need to decide what to copy down. Be sure to ask yourself questions along the way for new content. This is basically the Cornell note-taking method which will be discussed in the next lesson. But this is crucial to understanding what notes you should be taking on and what is important to write down. In your note-taking process, if there's like a presentation or a reading, there's often bolded terms or highlighted terms, those are probably important and you should probably copy them down as they'll be important for the future. There are also signal words such as causes, affects, characteristics. These are key or signal words that probably lead to a main point or a main part of the readings. You should probably also copy that down. These indicate important parts that you'll likely need to remember for the future. As you can see in my textbook online, you can go through and they often have a table of contents that describes all the chapters and everything discussed. Like we previously discussed, a big tip in your note-taking process is not copying things down word for word verbatim, as this often just gets through one ear and out the other as you don't really know what's going on. What I recommend you do is always rephrase everything in your own words. That way, you understand what's going on and you can recall the important information later on if you rephrased it in your own words. We just discussed the methods to taking down the important information before you start note-taking and during your process. Next, we'll be discussing the top three note-taking processes that are crucial to you for succeeding in note-taking. 5. Organization: Once you've made all these different kinds of notes, you'll need a way to organize your notes in a way that's clear to see what's happening, so you can easily find what you want. When you organize and declutter everything, you'll be adapted for success in productivity as you can eliminate time looking through your notes for certain things and you'll just be more inclined to study them. The first method I recommend, is creating a syllabi or a table of contents, as some may call it at the beginning of your notebook. This is really simple as you can just break down the page numbers and the topic. When you're studying for an exam or looking for a search in note, you can just quickly skim through the front and you'll be able to find it. My second method, is creating tags inside your notebook. This allows you to quickly flip through and look for what specific notes you want to find. Now, if you have a notebook or you have a binder and you don't have any tags lying around as you usually have to go buy them, you can always make your own. A great way to make your own, is by using washi tape or any random tape or a sticky note like we previously mentioned, and put it in there so you can flip through the notebook and find out what information you need. So we've just organized our notes. Now we move on to the note taking process and three types of note-taking styles you should use. 6. Notetaking Styles: In this lesson, we'll be discussing three types of note-taking styles you can use on your notes. The first one is the outline method. The second one is the Cornell Method, and lastly the mind mapping method. The outline method is the most basic and straightforward note-taking style. I think we've all done this one before. It has a hierarchy of bullet points and sub-bullet points, so you can easily find information. This follows a simple structure of a title, subtitle, main point, and sub-points. After that, you can add more information and you just keep on repeating this process for your entire notes. This method is super easy to summarize what somebody has said in a neat and organized manner and it's clear to see what's going on inside your notes. Cornell notes are very similar to the outline method, except this part divides page into three sections. First is the outline section, cues section, and summary section. First, you start with a blank piece of paper, aligned piece of paper. Or you can check out the resources tab for many downloads of Cornell paper. In the outline section, you just follow the outline method as we previously discussed, really simple and easy. Now moving onto the cues section, this part you can put down any key words, comments, questions you have that's going on during the lecture and you can come back to it later. This is great as this practice is active recall, as you're often asking yourself questions and testing yourself along the way, which is a great study tip if you're using these notes. At the end, you have a summary section where you just summarize what you learned in about two or three sentences, which ensures that you understand what's being processed. Last method is the mind mapping method. This method starts with a title in the middle and you just branch out arrows and create subtitles around and main points. This method is great for connecting ideas together and showing the relationship between what's being talked about. This is great if you have a general idea of what's going to be discussed as you can start planning out the structure and layout. I personally recommend you try out these different methods until you find out what you really like using. Everybody has different learning styles, so it's great if you adapt to what you like. 7. Handwriting Tips: This lesson will cover three quick handwriting tips you can use to make your notes look neater and so you can write faster. I generally tend to notice in lectures, in meetings I'm always rushing to write fast and neatly. So sometimes it's useful to have a few tips so you can have that neat handwriting which will enable you to understand what's going on better as you can quickly read your handwriting. I usually like creating prettier and neater notes at home or if the meeting or classes is going kind of slowly. However, sometimes that's not entirely possible so these tips will definitely help you. The first tip I recommend you do is slant your handwriting to the right. We usually write from left to right so it makes sense as the flow of your notes would be to the right and thus, you'll be able to write faster and neater. Second, I recommend you try using a lined or graph piece of paper as this has a line for you to right across straight. When you write on top of the line, it will make sure that your letters are consistent height and width and my last tip is super simple, is just to use abbreviations in your notes. This will allow you to write faster as you're not writing big words that already have abbreviations. For example, the word and you can just use the ampersand or the word maximums, just use max, minimum use min. There are so many abbreviations out there so use them as you go and if you ever forget an abbreviation you made up on the spot, you can always write it down on a sticky note. 8. How to Make Pretty Notes: Today, I'll be giving you three quick tips on how to make your notes stand out and look amazing. I generally tend to notice when you put effort into your notes to make them look nicer, you're more inclined to look at them later, and you won't throw them out. You'll be more proud of what you create and therefore, you'll just be more likely to study them or look at them or just keep them in general instead of just throwing them away as they don't look as nice. My first tip is using some cool titles and subtitles for your notes. This helps them stand out and so you can easily grab information and look at them where you want. If you have a title that stands out, you'll know what you're looking at and subtitles should be able to easily categorize the information. A great way to make nice looking titles is to use a drop shadow. If you're unfamiliar with this or you've never taken art class like me, I'm just going to give you a quick tutorial on how to do one. If you have a block letter, you can take the letter and shift it up into the right and then, you create a drop shadow. In this drop shadow example, I'll be dropped shadowing the word Skillshare using boxes instead. Instead of just using a black marker for the shadow, we can create our own with just the outline of the shadow. Now, here are some super simple subtitle ideas. I often enjoy matching these different types of titles together as it creates contrast in your notes and it makes it just look more interesting to the eye. For many of these, I use a fine tip marker to create the titles, and I use drop shadows along with it. I also use the black marker, as previously mentioned in supplies, as these titles are super simple for anyone to follow along with. Feel free to try these along with me as I do them. The subtitles are also super simple as many of them use basic boxes and some colors and some drop shadows along the side of it. My second tip is about highlighting. We often enjoy highlighting information, so it stands out and so we can easily see it. However, sometimes when we have a pen or pencil, we get a smudge and it just doesn't look that great. I'll be giving you three tips on how to highlight. Of course, my number one tip is just to wait a day or so for the pen to dry out, but if you must absolutely immediately highlight, here are just the tips. The first tip is to highlight before you write. For example, if you know which words need to be highlighted beforehand, you draw the highlight and then you write on top of it. Now, I understand that this can be kind of difficult as you don't know what you're going to highlight at the moment. Another tip is to use a color pen and use a highlighter of the same color as the pen, so it doesn't smudge. Now again, this tip, you do need to know what you will be highlighting, so the last tip is great for you. Instead of knowing what you're going to highlight at the moment, you can do this afterwards, you just underline the word instead of directly highlight on top of it. My last and final tip is to create a color scheme. Usually all my notes, as you can see, have a generalized color scheme, and I use four or three colors as this just helps create a cohesive appearance. Now, I'll just be demonstrating which are my favorite color schemes for you guys to use. I'm using the Zebra Mildliners to create these. However, if you don't have all these different colors, you can just stick to regular highlighters if you have them. The Zebra Mildliners are great for creating tons of different color combinations as they have 25 different colors that aren't too bright and they aren't too harsh on the eyes. However, if you don't have those, as they can be kind of expensive, another great alternative are the Crayola Super Tips. I feel like these tips really take your notes to the next level and they really make your notes look amazing. 9. Conclusion: Congratulations guys, you've finished the entire class. We covered everything from the basic supplies to different note-taking styles to make your notes look amazing. If there is one thing that I hope you guys take away from this class is that your notes are for you to look at and really created to how ever you want to do it. Take as much time as you ought to, take as little time as you want, but just do it for yourself. Finally, upload your creation to the Project and Resources tab so we can all take a look at it in and I will leave a comments on how amazing you did. I can't wait to see what you guys create and thank you so much for watching and I hope to see you next time. Bye.