You want IB points fast – that means you need to take good notes. Here’s how.
Why should I care about notes?
- There’s tons to remember in the IB
- Understanding DOES NOT EQUAL remembering. If you remembered everything you ever learned then you’d be a super-genius and could probably get on TV. Normal people need notes to help us remember stuff.
- You spend ages in school taking notes – so they may as well be useful!
Step 1 – Select
Lots of people just write down everything the teacher says – THEY’RE DOING IT WRONG.
The Secret: making good notes is about choosing what’s important (and what’s not).
‘’But how do I know what’s important?’’
1) Just before you start writing notes, think to yourself: am I going to use this in the exam/my work?
2) Cut out the details: get the main ideas down. Azerbaijan won a big battle? No-one cares what the commander’s cat was called. We need the name of the battle, the date, and how they won! You get the point.
3) Don’t record the lesson. It’s pointless because you won’t listen to it later. With notes you can easily see all the contents, you can revise in five minutes, and you cut out all the useless information. Can’t do that with an mp3, can you?!
Extra tip: Don’t worry about missing a point. The IB is a two year course, one detail won’t make much difference. I promise you.
Step 2 – Condense
Make your notes really efficient!
Think about it! You’ve got to use these notes before the exam.
You don’t have time to mess around with useless extra information, so making dense notes is a good idea.
OK fine so how do I make my notes dense?
A) Less is more
- Long sentences bad, short phrases good.
- Use reminder words
- Use symbols and shortenings. For example, you might write ‘&’ instead of ‘and’.
B) Put stuff in your own words. Remember the following should be copied exactly though:
3. Specific facts
C) Use indentations to show topics and subtopics
Like this. This point is obviously related to the one above.
D) Don’t cramp your notes! You want to be able to read them later.
Step 3 – Organise
A big pile of paper is not useful for studying
A) Keep notes in order and in one place. What do your clever friends do? They use a folder.
B) Date your notes. This is so useful for putting them in order.
C) Number the pages. This is also so useful for putting them in order.
Step 4 – Revisit
Come back to the work and make sure you understand it
A) When you get home from school, go through your notes and make sure you understood what you wrote
- Add in anything you need to make your notes clearer or easier to understand
B) The next day make a summary of your notes. So you can read the short version
Step 5 – Engrain
Commit your notes to memory!
A) Read through your summaries over and over again.
B) Read them out loud! It will help you remember.
C) Try to explain your notes to someone else, this helps you remember them as well.