Making Notes & Summaries


As with anything in life, a good beginning to your studies will lead to good results. What will be a good
start to good studies? Where is the beginning? Maybe the answer is obvious, but well worth mentioning
again. It all begins with attentive listening in class/lectures or attentive reading of texts. What then
follows is nearly as important, may be even more so, and that is the making of proper notes and
summaries.

Your summaries becomes all important as we strive to make that what you want to memorise as short
as possible. The whole idea of studying with Mnemonics is to  the be able to memorise short points
and use that as building blocks in the recall of information.

To do your notes or summaries properly you must first 'lift' the relevant information from the text. The
first step is to quickly read or scan through the whole passage to get an idea of the main contents.
Now you can have a pen, pencil or highlighter and underline or highlight the main points. I would advise
you to use a highlighter, but in a correct colour, namely yellow. Yellow is soft on the eyes, it attracts
attention and does not hide the text. Compare the colours and the underlining in the following paragraph.

To do your notes or summaries properly you must first 'lift' the relevant information from the text. The first step is to quickly read or scan through the whole passage to get an idea of the main contents. Now you can have a pen, pencil or highlighter and underline or highlight. I would advise you to use a highlighter, but in a correct colour, namely yellow. Yellow is soft on the eyes, it attracts attention and does not hide the text. Compare the colours in the following paragraph.

I am sure you will agree yellow works best and that highlighting works better than underlining. [Just remember to not do this in library books!]

Now for the more important point, namely what to highlight.

The answer: the MAIN POINTS. That means, as little as possible, never full sentences. Let's compare two paragraphs again.

Paragraph 1

To do your notes or summaries properly you must first 'lift' the relevant information from the text. The first step is to quickly read or scan through the whole passage to get an idea of the main contents. Now you can have a pen, pencil or highlighter and underline or highlight the main points. I would advise you to use a highlighter, but in a correct colour, namely yellow. Yellow is soft on the eyes, it attracts attention and does not hide the text. Compare the colours and the underlining in the following paragraph.

Paragraph 2

To do your notes or summaries properly you must first 'lift' the relevant information from the text. The first step is to quickly read or scan through the whole passage to get an idea of the main contents. Now you can have a pen, pencil or highlighter and underline or highlight the main points. I would advise you to use a highlighter, but in a correct colour, namely yellow. Yellow is soft on the eyes, it attracts attention and does not hide the text. Compare the colours and the underlining in the following paragraph.

In the first paragraph nothing really jumps out at you, but in the second it does. By just looking at the second paragraph you can easily see the main points.

The next step is to now re-write the main points in understandable sentences in your own words. Below is a summary of the above paragraph.

Lift the information by reading the text and then highlighting the main points in yellow, a soft colour that attracts attention and does not hide the text.

We have now reduced 94 words to 27! And we know what the paragraph is all about. Would you agree it is easier to memorise 27 words than 94? Of course.
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