How to Take Notes for Rapid Recall
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.
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
- Be active.
- Learning is an active process, not a passive one.
- The same principle applies to note-taking.
- Know your purpose.
- Knowing why you want to take notes will help you do it well and remember more.
- Have a hierarchy.
- Have a way to prioritize what’s important.
- Be organized.
- You remember better when the information is organized.
- Use your own words.
- Other than not taking notes at all, taking notes verbatim is the worst way of taking note.
- Develop a system.
- The best note-takers have their own systems, which improves the speed of their note-taking.
- Use abbreviations, symbols, etc.
- 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:
- Teach the notes.
- Test yourself.
- Memorize the notes.