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Taking notes is a VITAL skill for any students taking IGCSE / A Level / IBDP

As pupils begin the next stage of their education whether it be GCSE, A Level or International Baccalaureate, even undergraduate studies, it is worth evaluating whether they have the note-making skills required as they take the next step on the academic ladder.

Undoubtedly, pupils devote many hours to note-making during most courses. The effectiveness of their note-taking will contribute to the final results they achieve. At the beginning of a course pupils should consider how they will take notes and how to store those notes.


If a student makes written notes, as well as storing in a traditional file, it is worth investing time in photographing notes and keeping them on a hard drive. Almost every teacher has a sad story of a student who left their notes on Hong Kong’s MTR or London’s Circle Line. A back-up system is vital.


Pupils may prefer different styles of note-taking for different subjects and for different topics within those subjects. As the teacher and text-books will be supplying a structure with headings and subject divisions it may be advisable to follow that framework with headings and bullet points. Using colour and spacing contributes to making notes easy to read and learn.


Notes should be made to match the required task. There are times when note-making is a creative task, brain-storming for an essay or to design a project, when a mind-map is an appropriate option. Pupils should also consider their preferred learning styles. Would they prefer the visual format of a mind-map or a linear format of notes?


Many pupils simply write too much. Early in a course it is worth devising a system of abbreviations and symbols to save hours writing out words in full. Pupils should also remember that they make notes for themselves. By definition, a note is a prompt, an aide memoire, it does need to be an exhaustive encyclopaedic work. Restricting points to five words or less is a useful technique for creating concise and relevant notes.


At its best note-making, where pupils leave space to add more sophisticated thoughts later, is a key part of the educational process of not just learning theory, but also analysing and evaluating it.


For more information about how Minerva Tuition can help your child, please contact Valerie Weston on:

Email: valerie.weston@minervatuition.com

Phone: +852 6156 5705.

We would be delighted to hear from you.


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