Taking notes

When you are studying you will cover lots of new information, and it can be difficult to remember everything you read and hear.

Taking notes is a useful way to help you recall the important information that you will need to refer to later.

The basics of good note taking means that you will:

  • identify the main ideas and key points - you may like to use highlighter, colours and underline
  • record where you found the information, so you can find it again if you need to
  • make comments as you go
  • use lots of space and few words
  • group ideas and connect points
  • use symbols, images, and colours.

Remember, your notes are for your use, so there is no right or wrong way to do them. It is helpful to take notes that are readable, interesting and useful to you. The main goal is to help you learn.

Find a method that works for you

The page linked to below has four easy approaches to note taking that you could try to see what works best for you. (The website refers to taking notes in lectures, but the methods also work well for taking notes from readings and your course material).

Take a look at the video below for an introduction to The Cornell method of note-taking, which is included in the page linked to above. 


Tools for note taking

There are lots of tools you can use for taking notes, including a pen and paper if that works for you. Some online tools are listed below.

Online courses in iQualify

Your online courses in iQualify have a notes feature, which lets you capture the key points from what you’re reading on each page. All you need to do is:

  • click on the note icon on the right of the page

Image showing the notes icon in iQualify

  • then click '+ Add'

Image showing what Notes look like in an online course page in iQualify

You can then access all your notes in the 'Notes' tab of your course in iQualify.

Note taking apps

There are also many great note-making apps you could use. Most of them have similar features. Two examples are:

  • OneNote - which is one of the Office 365 apps that you can use through your Open Polytechnic Office 365 account.
  • Evernote - a free note making app. Both are web based so you can access your notes from anywhere.