Everyday Note-taking Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Are you an eager beaver and like to note down everything a teacher says? Then, you are certainly making some note-taking mistakes. Note-taking is an art and you must follow a definite pattern to take your notes; otherwise, all your efforts will be futile. Scribbling down each and every point during a lecture or while studying is not considered an effective way to take notes.

How to avoid note-taking mistakesIf you are always racking your brain in the exam and still not able to recall your notes, then try avoiding these common note-taking mistakes.

1. Scribbling down everything in a hurry

A skill required to prevent note-taking mistakes is being able to understand what you have written. Just scribbling down everything from your textbook or class lectures is a huge mistake as it doesn’t involve any learning. Students usually forget to jot down the important points and end up filling up their notebooks with long summaries. 

How to rectify it – Create structured notes

To take better notes, always prefer taking notes in small chunks or use bullet points. Take time to listen and process the information to create quality notes. Avoid clinging to the habit of writing down everything even when you don’t understand it.

2. Similar note-taking style for different courses

A student needs to be flexible when it comes to trying out different note-taking methods. Avoid going with just one method for different subjects. Note-taking methods should be less time-taking with a maximum information retention.

How to rectify it – Try different note-taking methods

An effective note-taker would use abbreviations, mnemonics, or structured note-taking for bio-related subjects. On the other hand, just before exams flashcards or mindmaps can help.

3. Skipping the section, you don’t understand

Sometimes, if the topic is beyond comprehension, students generally skip it and move forward. This is a note-taking mistake that could make you less productive.

How to rectify it – Avoid skipping any section and look for help

Instead of ignoring sections that are hard to understand, try to find any learning alternative. You can either try to comprehend that topic again or look for help from your teacher, peer, or online.

4Highlighting and underlining everything

Highlighters are used to focus on key points. Highlighting your notes is one of the important aspects of reading and learning. However, students generally get excited while using their favorite highlighters and end up turning their notes into a mess.

How to rectify it – Highlight important sections only

Unnecessary highlighting is a note-taking mistake that should not be followed. Use highlighters only for important text so later while revising your eyes will fall on that part first. Also, stick to 3-4 highlighters only to avoid confusion.

5. Never reviewing the notes

There is no benefit in preparing notes if you don’t revisit them later. Some students follow the habit of creating notes, investing their time and effort. But, they usually forget when it comes to reviewing them again.  

How to rectify it – Review your notes after class and before exams

Be sure to review your notes after creating them and before going for exams. You don’t have to pull an all-nighter if you follow this strategy diligently. It will ensure the long-term retention of what you have studied.  

6. Unorganized notes

Getting in a rush before an exam or class to find your notes can be hard and irritating at times. You would end up just scratching your head if your notes are unorganized and are difficult to maintain.

How to rectify it – Keep your notes in a proper organized format

 It is advised to keep your notes in order and maintain a separate notebook for each subject. Students who use a single notebook can keep a separate section for each notebook and color code them. Always add date and chapter name with separate folders and subfolders for each subject.

7. Not asking questions during lecture

To understand the crux of any topic, students should always pay attention to lectures. If going unprepared and not asking questions or not engaging in discussion, you might miss crucial points.

How to rectify it – Always go prepared for an important lecture

You could make some very effective notes if you start asking your lecturer some meaningful questions related to the topic. To get a clear idea of the topic, go through your study material to prevent any note-taking mistakes.

highlighting notes to avoid note-taking mistakes

Digital notes to avoid note-taking mistakes

Whether it’s organizing your notes in a particular place or using different note-taking methods, digital notebooks can be handy and convenient. Noteshelf app provides a vast array of features for digital note-taking. Its extensive features such as highlighting and bookmarking are useful for organizing your notes. A variety of page templates can be used for taking structured notes.

Taking too many notes should be avoided otherwise you’ll wind up taking notes on irrelevant topics and wasting your time. Students who want to ace their academic grades should refrain from making these note-taking mistakes.

There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure


note-taking mistakes to avoid

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