Monday, 31 December 2012

How to Take Notes - Pictorial

How to take notes is a question students ask very frequently. Unfortunately, it's something we are never told or taught. It's something we are just expected to know and be good at. Since notes form the basis of our study and revision, it's important to get them right.
This post is the first in a series on how to take notes.

What are Pictorial Notes?
Put simply, they are notes in the form of pictures. Not works of art, but simple line drawings. You can use colours to code for different objects/areas in the drawing or you can go right in with your biro. Depending on your subject, they could be annotated diagrams or cartoons. There's no right or wrong way.

Taken by me!
How Can You Make Them?
  • From writing in a textbook or your own notes for example. Here, I used them to turn two wordy paragraphs into two little drawings that communicate the ideas more effectively. Although images are the main focus, don't be afraid to add labels and annotations - just keep them short and snappy.
  • From speech. So if your teacher or lecturer is explaining the structure of... I don't know... the human eye, you can draw it as they talk. Diagrams are a good way of communicating ideas quickly. It may also be quicker than copying down their dialogue word-for-word.
  • From memory. This can be a good way to test your understanding of a concept, especially for visual learners. You can then compare this with your existing notes, allowing you to identify any gaps in your understanding.

  • Can easily summarise wordy paragraphs into a simple image
  • Makes things like anatomy easier to understand
  • Great for visual learners
  • Not suitable for all subjects and concepts - I wouldn't be able to use it to make notes on a poem, for example!
  • If you hate drawing you might not find this useful...
Do you use this note-taking method? Are you going to try it out? Let me know in the comments section.

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