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Good notes


Good notes are structured, so they can be used for all study purposes including revision, assignment writing and exam preparation.

Have a clear purpose

Before you start taking notes, think about:

  • Identifying the purpose of your note-taking. Are you trying to gain a basic understanding of a topic or are you reading in detail for an assignment?
  • Using efficient reading strategies to gain a general understanding of the topic.
  • Skimming the text to identify relevant information. Look at Reading skills.

Features of good notes

Efficient and effective notes:

  • are organised into key ideas and supporting ideas
  • use bullet points
  • use visual techniques, e.g. highlighting, graphics, colours, and underlining to identify main points
  • use abbreviations and symbols to show connections between ideas.
  • Set a wide margin for key points and page numbers.
  • Head the page with topic, date and record all bibliographic details, i.e. author, title, page no, publisher.
  • Record your own thoughts in another colour.


Example of Note taking for revision

  • Create a row across: [title: Note taking for revision:] write a short description including: Authors name, date, title.
  • Create a side column 1/4 of the grids width: Use this area to note the page number, and write key words/points
  • Remaining 3/4 of the grids space: Expand on key points noted from the side column.