5 Note Taking Tips to Ace Your Next Physics Exam

someone taking down notes

Note-taking is the most fundamental and common way for students to study and prepare themselves for exams.

It simplifies a 30-page long chapter and creates a concise at-a-glance topic, helping students with quick revision. 

Now, this brings us to the elephant in the room.  

Sometimes a whole lot of effort could lead to a whole lot of nothing: students who bare their time to take notes consistently still might not end up performing on par with their expectations. 

There is a simple remedy for that, which is taking notes not only just quickly, but more effectively. Here are 3 recommended tips on effective note taking to help you study and ace your next Physics exam. 

 

  • Focus on important key points, not the whole chunk 

A frequent habit seen in students during note taking is taking down the teacher’s teachings word-for-word, or directly copying from school notes/textbooks and regurgitating them into “personal notes” with a slight paraphrase and cut of sentences. 

Many of us prefer this method of “copy and paste” because they are able to better retain the information they physically write. This is a viable method in more factual subjects like History or Economics. However, an encyclopaedic chunk of such notes would not benefit in a subject such as Physics, where most concepts require practical application into questions. 

 A vital tip in note taking for Physics is to only take down important key points and formulas, drawing mind-maps and connecting idea pathways as it is first and foremost  an application-based subject. After which, pivot your attention to the questions done in class and learn how to apply formulas/theories to problems. 

Incorporate more pointers on how to apply Physics concepts to solve problems, and not focus on memorising solutions. Likewise, during Physics Practical  lab sessions, more intention should go into noting down practical skills and key lab techniques.

 

  • Aim to write in a way which helps you understand

Physics lessons typically require you to memorise concepts  and learn about many processes that occur in the natural surroundings. However, if you do not have a firm grasp of the new concepts being introduced, physics as a topic can rapidly become challenging. As a result, creating notes that are simple to interpret for yourself is most important. Make sure to rephrase sophisticated vocabulary with words you understand. Remember to review your notes and make sure they make sense to you. If not,  they are practically worthless.

 

  • Make your notes your own 

If you can spare the time, consider injecting your personality in your notes!  Invest in a few good highlighters or pens and introduce some colour and life into your notes by drawing diagrams and little illustrations to motivate yourself. Studies show that colours send signals to the brain that stimulate certain senses and enhance learning potential.

Additionally, it would help if you tailored your notes to your own learning style. You may draw diagrams, construct lists, underline essential terminology, or do whatever else to assist you in remembering the material. Your notes will be far more valuable if they are carefully created to how you study best.

Another suggestion is to create a space to jot down the more frequently used formulas as well as concepts that you may be weaker in, including common misconceptions and important problem-solving techniques. This can be used for fast recap right before tests and examinations.

 

  • Review and make sure the concepts and ideas flow

Although it is good to add personal twang to your notes to enjoy the learning process and ease the retention of information, it is important to know that notes are also supposed to diffuse confusion and jog back conceptual memory at your fingertips. 

Always make the effort to keep your notes legible to yourself and the information easy to find and look for to aid with last minute revision. After taking down notes in class or during self-study, you can practice reviewing what you’ve gathered and learnt, concluding the revision and ensuring that you actually have something to take away. In essence, organisation of ideas and concepts is a paramount habit to incorporate into your note-taking drills. 

 

  • Do not be afraid to seek assistance 

Physics is a complicated subject, so, understandably, you may struggle with particular concepts from time to time. If you have any doubts about any concepts, remember to voice it out and seek help; the last thing you want to do is to be taking down factually wrong notes! You can check the textbook, contact classmates for clarification, schedule a consultation with your teacher, or even obtain additional help from a reliable physics tuition centre. 

 

Conclusion

Note taking is just one of the many ways to gather and consolidate content from learning. If you need help with a more in-depth understanding of Physics and how to better employ your notes into your work, Concept First Learning Centre is just a phone call away! We offer help ranging from lower secondary science, O level Physics  to A level H2 Physics to support and guide students in embarking their learning journey. Feel free to contact us to get in touch with our CF360 Total Physics Learning System and our team of passionate and talented tutors to kickstart your ultimate Physics experience today!