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Study tips - note taking watch

    • Thread Starter

    Hi guys!

    I wanted to share a note-taking method I use. I've been using it since GCSE (I'm currently in Year 12) and although I don't have a name for it I find it quite useful. It's been great in memory technique as it's all about thorough and concise note-taking in colour!

    For this guide I'll use Section 2: Cells in AQA A Level Biology to give you an idea on how to do this, although I will differentiate for different subjects like Languages or Mathematics.

    The starting point is lined paper - it helps even out everything and the margin is very useful in making distinctions between topics.

    Start by writing your section number in bold green pen and section title in a thinner green pen. I use a biro and just go over the section number a bit more to make it bolder. In all honesty bolding isn't necessary, but it does make it look nicer. For example, I would write "Section Two - Cells" in the margin.

    Then, write the title of the sub-topic and highlight it in one colour (e.g. green) - MAKE SURE THIS COLOUR IS CONSTANT. For example, write "3.1 Methods of studying cells" and underline it.

    When making the notes, look through your textbook (and class notes if you have extra information from class) and make sure you UNDERSTAND what is said - it's completely useless if you're blankly writing words you don't know about. If necessary, read a couple of times and then summarise each paragraph from the textbook (to keep your knowledge comprehensive) or neaten up your class notes. Highlight any key words/phrases using a second colour (e.g. yellow).

    A good way to memorise processes (like mitosis in cells) is to provide a subtitle and find a mark scheme of a question that asks to describe the entire process. Then, copy the mark scheme down WORD PERFECTLY in a different colour (I use a purple pen) and highlight them in a third colour. This will divide the crucial information from the less crucial but still very important information. Knowing this will trigger your mind to focus on those mark scheme points, so a good way to do this is to use more alerting colours like pink.

    Be sure to include diagrams - no matter what type of learner you are, diagrams are extremely helpful in understanding, learning, applying and revising things. Even if they are rubbish, a depiction of what's going on always helps.

    A red pen is fantastic for background content knowledge, a.k.a. things you just need to know regardless, like equations, data studies, practicals/practical results or recurring reaction types (e.g. condensation, hydrolysis, reduction, oxidation etc.). Since these are incredibly necessary, they provide a good way to passively learn them while reading your notes, i.e. you learn them over time without having to focus on them as much, which gives you more time to focus on the knowledge!

    What I like to do is to underline certain things in red, like practical results such as "in the Biuret's test, the solution turns purple in the presence of peptide bonds" so that I'm aware that it is a result of a test. This is completely optional - it's more of a personal niche for me.

    And that's pretty much it! It's slightly slower but it's definitely more thorough, and really utilises the idea that colour aids memory (spoiler: it really does). I've attached a screenshot example of what it may look like as a template. This is on Word but I strongly recommend hand-writing it - it's much better for your memory as you're crafting each letter physically rather than tapping a bunch of keys on a keyboard.

    I hope you find this useful!

    - Farhan.
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    • Community Assistant

    Community Assistant
    Thank you for this, I'm sure it'll be really helpful for a lot of people :yep: I've moved your thread to revision & study tips to help you get more replies
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