Kwik Brain 013: How to Take Notes for Rapid Recall

  • May 1, 2017
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There isn’t just a learning curve but a forgetting curve – most of us lose 80% of the information we learn in just 48 hours. But it doesn’t have to be this way! In this episode, I teach you how to remember what you learn by taking notes effectively.

Show Notes

We lose 80% of the information we learn in 48 hours.

Taking notes is one of the best ways to mitigate this loss.


Principles of Effective Note-Taking

  1. Be active.
    • Learning is an active process, not a passive one.
    • The same principle applies to note-taking.
  2. Know your purpose.
    • Knowing why you want to take notes will help you do it well and remember more.
  3. Have a hierarchy.
    • Have a way to prioritize what’s important.
  4. Be organized.
    • You remember better when the information is organized.
  5. Use your own words.
    • Other than not taking notes at all, taking notes verbatim is the worst way of taking note.
  6. Develop a system.
    • The best note-takers have their own systems, which improves the speed of their note-taking.
    • Use abbreviations, symbols, etc.
  7. Filter.
    • Differentiate between what’s important and what is just fluff.


Handwrite (Don’t Type) Your Notes

  • Multiple studies show that when you handwrite your notes, you retain more information.
  • Handwriting forces you to synthesize the information, so you remember it better and are more likely to recall it later.
  • The fact that you can’t keep up verbatim forces you to differentiate between what’s important and not important.
  • The visceral action also helps the information stick:
    • If you want the convenience of digital notes, consider using a stylus on a digital pad.


The Capture & Create Method

  • Split your note-taking paper into two sides:
    • Left Side = Capture:
      • Take notes & write what the speaker says.
    • Right Side = Create:
      • Create notes and write down your impressions – your feelings, how to teach it, questions, etc.
      • This is a focusing tool – so instead of doodling and getting distracted, you’re creative in an efficient way.
  • When you’re doing this:
    • Think (about what to learn).
    • Identify (what’s important/relevant).
    • Prioritize (the information).


Review Your Notes

  • It’s ESSENTIAL to review your notes regularly after you take them.
  • Fill in the blanks you missed.
  • As you review:
    • Summarize.
    • Teach the notes.
    • Test yourself.
    • Memorize the notes.

How do your notes look? Take a photo and tag me @jimkwik and #KwikBrain!

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About The Author

Jim Kwik

I’m Jim Kwik. I’m here to teach you HOW to learn so you can work your brain to reach your full potential! My life’s passion and mission are to create a smarter and more caring world by giving you your power back.

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