Taking notes at A-Level History: How do I make sure that my notes will help me to revise?
A-Level History is not just about taking notes - but as with any subject you study at A-Level, there are some notes to keep. Here are some general common sense reminders about keeping notes, which may seem obvious - but you would be surprised how many people don't take their own advice! It goes without saying that the most important thing is to keep your notes in a way that is easy and comfortable to you.
1. Keep your notes in whatever style you prefer - this might be hand-written in a folder of some kind, or you may prefer to type and print them out, you may like to keep audio sound recordings of lessons or you may prefer to have paperless notes and store them electronically, but if you do this, don't forget to back them up.
2. Don't take down every word. Remember, A-level is about explaining, analyzing, looking for evidence and justifying your answer. It is not about long, waffly descriptions. Try to summarise or use abbreviations that you understand.
3. Use mind maps, tables, spider diagrams or pictures if you prefer. Some people find that they remember their notes far better if they do this - why not try experimenting with a few different ways of taking notes until you find the one that suits you best.
4. Your notes must make sense in a few months time when you revise so:
- However you choose to take your notes, try to keep them organized into topic headings;
- Emphasise headings and key words
- Date all your notes so that if electronic files get lost or paper notes fall out, you can piece them back together.
- Use a system that you understand and that will still make sense to you after several months.
- Keep a glossary of key words, abbreviations and images so that if you do forget something, you can look up what you meant!
For loose-leaf and binder:
Melanie Jones, last updated: 29th August 2010