How to Take Useful Revision Notes
As a student you will no doubt spend hours and hours writing copious notes in your lectures, classes and study groups, so that when it comes round to exam time you know that you’ve got every last fact written down, thus giving you the greatest chance of success. But when it comes to revising you need to seriously edit your year’s worth of notes so that you’ve got something succinct but useful to work from how to write a cause and effect essay .
The key to writing useful revision notes is to write something that stimulates your mind into remembering large sections of information and obviously to write something that helps you to understand the information. As an example, if you happened to have spent a lecture learning about economies of scale, you will perhaps have taken some notes including an exact definition of economies of scale, some diagrams or graphs explaining the concept, and then perhaps detailed some examples of economies of scale in practice. These full lecture notes could potentially cover pages and pages of paper. Some students are happy to simply revise from these notes, learning every last sentence word for word, which may help you to some extent but unless you are asked specifically to provide a definition, draw a diagram and mention a case study, you may find yourself facing difficulties. It is better therefore to make notes that allow you to learn and then recall the essential information but that also allow you to understand the topic and be able to apply your knowledge in response to any question posed. For example; what are the advantages and disadvantages of economies of scale?
To do this you should start by understanding the key elements of the topic you need to revise. Once you have established between five and ten key elements then you should look to list some further detail, using bullets under each of the key headings. These bullets should be full enough to help you recall the information but not too detailed so that they cause you to be learning in parrot fashion. If necessary you can then add further detail under each of these bullets and continuing in this way until you have covered all of the essential content.
A commonly used method of taking revision notes is to apply the above methodology within a mind map. With mind maps you illustrate your revision topic on a single sheet of paper. To start a mind map you write the topic heading in the centre of the page and then, rather than using bullet points, you draw arms branching out of the topic heading, and list any relevant information at the end of each arm. You can then extend these arms with subsequent detail using further branches, to create a map effect. The result is a visual representation of your knowledge, with the theory being that it is easier to recall information when you can visualise it, and a mind map is a great way to do this.