Notes and organisation

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Notes and organisation

Never copy word for word from you article or text.

At A level you need to be able to interact with your information. You have to make your reading work for your purposes.

As explained in the Reading Skills Learn It, most of your reading will involve an investigation of some sort. You need to develop a way of making notes which will allow you to collate information (organise it in to sections), and which will allow you to add your own ideas (analyse).

Here's a suggestion:

A suggestion

As you can see, I have allowed myself space in-between the information to add extra information from my further reading. I have also left space at the sides, so that as I read through my notes I will be able to annotate it with my own ideas and make links.

There are plenty of other formats for making notes you may want to try some of these:

Spider diagramTable

  • Bullet point
  • Your Ideas
  • Develop your own style of writing (yr, Eng)

Flow diagram

Whether your file is for coursework or for an examination, you will make your life a lot easier if you organise your files.

The best A level files are clearly split into sections using dividers. Stuck to the front of each divider you could have a contents list. Make sure that your essays and essay plans are included in the body of your notes and not stuck at the back of your file, where you will never touch them again. It's worthwhile, once in a while, giving yourself time to check through your files to make sure that you are up-to-date, and organised.

The worst organisation I ever saw consisted of a student who was the proud owner of a large black bin liner full of his notes. In his mind he felt he was organised but in reality he had no clue where anything was, when exams came it took him twice as long to revise the relevant information than anyone else. To cap it all, the week before the final exam he mistook the bin liner for rubbish and ended up throwing all his notes away.

Needless to say, the boy didn't do too well in his exams and failed three out of six of his exams; he was never the same again.