Wednesday, 28 May 2014

How I organised my notes for college #1


I think planning and organisational skills are very important especially as a student. I know everyone has a different way of organising their notes which works well for them. I'm just going to show  how I organised my notes while I was doing my A Levels. Hopefully, someone will find it useful :)
N.B:  I apologise for the poor quality of these photos. I don't have a camera yet so I took them with my phone.

Most people use the filing system for taking notes where they write notes on pre- punched paper and then transfer them later into a folder. This method didn't really work for me as I  didn't like carrying those folders around in my bag. Also, sometimes I had to take some of the papers out of the folder in order to reduce the weight and then when I wanted to study at college I found out I had to refer to something on the pages that I had taken out. I would recommend trying different methods to find out which one works for you. I resorted to using notebooks coz they are just awesome. The A4 notebooks I used were hard cover and lasted the whole year. They were also very light and very easy to carry around. My notes were accessible at any time. I used different notebook for biology, chemistry and each of the maths modules.


I used different coloured pens for headings and diagrams and I used highlighters for important words and sentences I needed to remember. I found that the different colours motivated me to look through the notes as I found them attractive with all the different colours. The notes in the photo above are for biology.

These notes are for chemistry so they are laid out a bit differently with less colour. I probably should have used a different colour for the diagrams.


While going through my notes, I usually made annotations with a pencil and sometimes on sticky notes. I wrote down important points that I needed to remember which weren't already in my notes.


There were some diagrams that I found difficult to draw especially in biology so I cut out the diagrams from the handouts we had in our lessons and stuck them in my notes.


I put all the handouts we received in an A4 ring-binder and I arranged them in the order in which the topics were taught. I also included my unit 6 or coursework handouts.


I made summaries of my notes during revision and condensed the notes into mind maps with different colours. Mind maps work so well on plain paper. The photo above isn't a typical mind map but it was the only one I could find.


I also made flow charts and highlighted important words.


I also made summaries of topics on lined A4 paper. Sometimes on both sides of the paper.


Finally, I used index cards. I found these really useful because I could use them anywhere- on the bus, the train, even the bathroom. The only reason I used plain paper in making my index cards above was because I wanted to fit in more information on the cards and lined index cards didn't let me do that.


There were exam-style questions available in the textbook for each topic with answers at the back so I tried to answer those along with all the questions we had in the handouts we received during the lessons. My best advice would be to try doing as many exam-style questions as possible including past papers. You can never know how much you know unless you test yourself.