By Luke Murphy – Guest Contributor

Note taking can be daunting, especially for those who have been out of education for a long time, such as myself. I have noticed quite a lot of people on my tutor group asking about note-taking techniques, so I thought it would be great if this was covered.

Taking notes is one of the main things we will all do in University, it will not only benefit us in terms of learning what is important, but it will also help us make the new information “stick”.

So without further ado, let’s crack on…

Mind Mapping Software

Mind mapping software is brilliant for taking notes, printing them and putting them up on the wall or into a binder, for later use. Mind mapping is a cool graphical way to represent ideas, concepts and paths. This works very well for those who prefer to learn by graphics as opposed to writing up pages of A4 fluff, images can help us decipher what we have written. It is super easy to recall the information within a mind map.

The creativity is endless, the best part about it? It’s 100% free! You can use this link to get started straight away. Mind Map Maker lets you create your map online and then save it as an image and print it off, send it to google drive, Dropbox or save it locally.

Use A Whiteboard

To save you from the mountain of paperwork, use a whiteboard for short-term note taking. The great thing about using a whiteboard is, if you make mistakes you can just wipe it right off and start again. Remember, we only want to take down the most important points them build off of that information, kind of like the branches of a tree.

Use the board to quickly jot down some ideas and main points, then turn to mind map or paper to note down the rest of the smaller points.

Setup Your Own Blog

Setup your own blog, it does not have to be anything fancy. I have set up my own which you can see at I am using the blog as a set of online notes that I could go back to and reference, it’s not exactly there to teach people anything, maybe someone will find it useful? Who knows.

The fact is, the more we read and write about what we are learning or have already learnt, the more chance we have of the information sticking so we remember it. Having a blog is exactly like having a large set of structured notes in nicely named categories.

Read and Repeat Method

 I use something I like to call the read and repeat method, it’s basically fast skim reading to find the main points of what the chapter is trying to make. Once you have the main points then jot them down using one of the methods above, go back through, read a lot slower to drill the information down and take more detailed notes.

Not only are you reading the entire chapter(s) twice, you are also making a great set of very detailed notes.

Luke Murphy has just started learning with the Open University and is currently studying TM111 on the way to gaining a BSc (HONS) Computing and IT.

Photo Credit: Flickr