Let’s learn note taking

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Note taking is a vital part in the academic learning and is also beneficial in learning new skills like coding, writing, marketing, etc. Note taking is being emphasized upon, not only because the notes itself have some value but because of the purpose they serve. Notes are important because when a learner makes notes while learning anything new either in a lecture or during reading, her mind is put into work by engaging her in cognitive functions like writing and thinking. When the learner types or writes the learned knowledge, her mind has to work to filter the information, highlight the ones that are important than others, neglect the ones that are useless or complimentary, form questions and opinions for further learning and understanding of the subject. These all cognitive functions happening at the back of her mind, make the knowledge leave a mark on her memory. Subsequent retrieval of the information stores the information in the long-term memory. Well organized notes help in revising the topic easier and fun.

It is thus very important to know how to make the notes and figure out your personal best way of note making.

Here are some popular and adapted ways of note making. Figure out which works the best for you and experiment with mixing it up if no one method is enough.

Linear Note taking

Sentence method

Sentence method

This is the must brute method which involves forming sentences as you go on learning any new useful information and neglecting the ones that aren’t useful.

Outlining method

Outlining method

This is the method that you see in almost all the books in the academics. It involves dividing the data or information into headings and subheadings. The headings come first and then under it its subheadings and their details and the next heading and so on.

It is efficient in a way that it divides the data into sections and your brain prefers chunks of data over piles of data.

Non-linear note taking

The Cornell method

The Cornell method

In this method, you need to put the heading at the top of the page, leave 5-6 lines at the bottom of the page. and then divide the page into two parts keeping the left section half as wide as the right section. This wider right section is for your notes that you take in the lecture or while watching a video or while reading a book. The narrower left section is for you to write the keywords and cues from the notes. Cues or keywords are the words which can form the whole story once you see them while revising. You can use this section to write the questions which arise during the lectures too. The bottom section is for the summary. This is where you note down main points that you take away from the lecture.

The Charting method

Charting method

This method suggests making a chart out of your notes, in which you try to divide the information into two parts. This is a useful method if the information can be categorized. For example, comparison of political views, stating the pros and cons of technology and so on.

The Mapping method

Mapping method

This is a method useful for visual learners, it is like making a mind map of your notes which can take you from one point to another. Take the main heading or objective of the learning and write it at the center of the page. Now, write the related ideas and information branching from the center. Write the sub-topics or sub-ideas branching from their respective headings and so on. This will thus form a tree where many topics and details emerge from the central idea or heading. While retrieving your learned topic, you can vividly remember your tree and its branches.

The SQ3R method

This is a useful method if you are learning from a book. The SQ3R stands for survey, query, read, recite and review. Survey means skim reading to find out the headings from the page and then forming questions out of them. Now, read the page in order to find out answers of the formed questions (keeping the motivation of finding answers). After you have formed an understanding of the topic and found your answers, write them down in your notebook (recite).  Once you have finished writing your notes, review them.

Guided Notes

This method is helpful in learning along with understanding the topic. For this, you need to have the review questions while you learn. These review questions can be answered as you go along the lecture, or reading or watching the video. This can be considered one of the most beneficial learning method, but it has its limitations as the review questions are not always available in hand.


Note taking – Wikipedia

Cornell notes – Wikipedia


The Story of Eugene Pauly (EP)

In 1992, Eugene Pauly was admitted to hospital, vomiting and experiencing severe stomach cramps. He was later diagnosed with viral encephalitis, a relatively less harmful virus but in rare cases, this virus finds its way to the brain and harms the brain tissues. In Eugene’s case, this virus had cut through the medial temporal lobe (a silver of cells which scientists believe is responsible for cognitive tasks like recalling past). He lost his semantic knowledge, for example, he could not remember the day of the week, could not remember the names of the nurses and doctors, had trouble recalling conversations. He had lost the ability to form any new memory and also was diagnosed with amnesia. He could not remember his friends and family.

His case was studied by the memory specialists at the University of California. He was studied by Larry Squire, who had studied the neuroanatomy of memory for three decades. Squire observed that his brain was very similar to the very famous case of H.M. who was institutionalized and studied for the rest of his life. Squire and other scientists studied the case by neuropsychological tests and memory tests.

In a particular instance, he was asked to draw the map of his house but he could not do it. However, he could fetch food and water from the kitchen whenever he felt hungry and thirsty. He would stand up and go up straight to the washroom whenever he had the urge to. This surprised the scientists that how a man who could not map his house can find his way to the kitchen without any assistance.

In another instance, he went out of the house without his wife (His wife used to take him for walks around the neighborhood). His wife was terrified knowing this because he did not remember his address and family. If he was lost, there was no way he could find his way back home. She went out to find him but could not find him anywhere. She came home crying only to find her husband in the house watching television. She was happy to see him back but also surprised. She informed Squire about it.

Squire and his assistants designed an experiment for him, they had 16 different objects and divided them into 8 pairs. In each pair, he took an object randomly and pasted a rectangle on its base that stated “correct”. He was asked to choose one and then asked to see if his choice was correct. In the initial weeks, his performance did not show any improvement, it was like he was not learning any new information. But, as the weeks passed, he started improving in choosing the correct object. However, as the psychologists changed the conditions of the experiment even mildly, for example when the scientists kept all the 16 objects in front of him all at once and asked him to keep all the correct objects in one pile, he could not perform at all or he started following the same routine by picking an object and almost automatically turning it over to see if it is correct. This proved that he was not learning any new information and no memory was created in his mind. He did not remember which objects were “correct”. In fact, all that he performed was only a habit.

He could carry his daily activities like going for a walk, eating a bacon and egg, watching a television show, and others because they all had become a habit.

We can only imagine how powerful habits can be when they can be incorporated in the life of a severely amnesic person. Habits have a mechanism of a cue, a routine, and a reward. But that is a story for some other day. Until then, take care.


BOOK- The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg

Anterograde Amnesia, Wikipedia


About a little pup…

On my way to the bus stop I saw a tiny pup moving around freely on the road, checking the world out. He was carefree and unbounded. This tiny little thing had nothing to worry about. His siblings were crawling around and he had set to travel alone.
While crossing the road, standing in the middle he saw a bus coming toward him. Amused by something new, he stopped and started looking at it.
I was worried what would happen but he was not scared at all, perhaps he doesn’t know how to be scared, so he stuck to amusement. The bus driver moved the bus from the other side leaving this little bunch safe. I was happy that he was safe, I moved forward and went to him, appreciated his cuteness but he wanted to have a little more conversation and his siblings came around too but I had to rush and catch my bus, so I waved them a goodbye and moved on.
I think I must leave early from home, I have some people to catch up to too.❤️😘

What a beautiful life!

I was about to speak about what a beautiful day it is, but then, why only a day? It is a beautiful life!

I went out to see the weather, and it is fucking beautiful. It is soothing. It is pleasing. It is a like a gift. It is like my lover’s tender touch. The wind that passes by has the sweetness of my lover’s kiss. The chirping of the birds is like my favourite song.

It is like the almighty is trying to tell me how wonderful it is to be a human. To be able to experience so many sensations.

Birds are going back home. To wake up again tomorrow with the same zeal to cross the skies. To seek the treasure again. Or maybe to live the treasure again. Maybe they understand life better than us.

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