Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
16 great ways to get organized
Keeping your information formally structured will help you study more efficiently and have a higher level of clarity.
The best part: you’ll never miss out on those pesky details and will be able to cover everything within time.
In case you’re just getting started and are wondering how to organize your notes, here are some useful pointers that might help you.
Over the next few sections, we have listed 16 useful tips that will help you organize your notes and study better.
Using colored notepads
This is probably one of the easiest ways to organize your sessions. You can segregate your notes depending on the topics they deal with.
Next, you need to keep their colors the same. This way, you can easily sort through the topics and access the stuff you need right away.
This will save you time and allow you to focus on the things you need at the given moment.
Using colored pens
When it comes to color-coding your notes, colored pens are yet another great option.
You can use colored pens or highlighters to change the color of the text, circle those vital points, add boxes to vital information, and make borders between various sections of the notes.
For fluorescent colors, you can use highlighters. Again, if you are looking to write and shade the subsequent text, use colored pencils. Multi-colored pens are yet another excellent tool to highlight what’s important.
Use these pens to underline and draw circles around the important keywords and formulas.
Whether it is red for your main ideas, blue for the facts, or green for the formulas, you need to be consistent with the same colors throughout for indicating similar categories of information.
Try adding a table right before your notebook and add a list of categories along with their colors. This will help you sort through the documents more conveniently.
Using electronic devices that are in-sync
This is yet another excellent way to organize your data. You can digitally record the important sections of your GARP study guides and save them in a specific folder on your phone, PC or Mac device.
Alternatively, you can also use an online note-taking app and sync your documents there. Regardless of the option you choose, make sure ALL your information is updated and in complete sync.
This will not just prevent errors but also make it easier to organize your information and get to them in an efficient manner. This way, you can always access your important documents as and when you need them.
Organizing by formulas used
You can also organize your notes with a specific set of formulas. This is especially true for almost any assignment or course that uses formulas.
While studying for the FRM course, you will realize that certain topics may use common formulas. In that case, you can always organize these topics according to the main formulas used.
Just like color-coding, create an index with a list of formulas. Next, assign the topics that use the formula right next to them.
If one formula is used in multiple topics, list them right beside or under the formula. Next color-code the formulas.
This is an excellent way to organize your notes and ensure that your documents are always in check.
This is yet another excellent way to organize your studies. Since binders have a system whereby you can easily remove papers, you can add or remove pages as and when needed.
Simply sort your notes by their topics, and create an index on the first page of the binder. Next, when you need a certain topic and are looking to study it, simply remove it by checking the corresponding page.
Since pages can be added and removed conveniently in binders, you can also add new pages to update your older data. At the end of the day, you’ll have a set of organized documents that are easy to sort and easier to study.
Recording exactly what you need
Students often struggle to understand their own information because of the sheer amount of irrelevant details present. You can easily avoid this by recording only the relevant information.
Whether you’re at the library or creating notes from your study guides, take down those details and the formulas that will actually help prepare for the exam.
If something is entirely irrelevant, do not waste time writing it over again. This will not just save your time but also save you the hassle of browsing through numerous irrelevant papers.
If you are unsure about what’s needed, browse the entire area and highlight the areas you believe might be important. This way, when you look at the notes later on, you’ll have a clear idea about what to study.
This is an outstanding method to minimize your efforts and study more efficiently.
This is yet another superb way to cut down on extraneous details. When you add bullets it is “easy on the eyes”, and reviewing will be equally hassle-free.
You can take the entire notes in bullet points. Alternatively, you can add bullet points for the important sections. As you keep doing this, you inadvertently keep a tab of the important materials.
So, when you browse through the notes later on, you understand that the bulleted sections are important and shouldn’t be ignored.
Since points or tabular formats are easy on the eyes, studying or understanding these documents will be easier.
You can also add headings and sub-headings for these notes to make them even simpler to grasp and process.
When it comes to preparing for your Financial Risk Manager course, this is yet another outstanding guideline. Very often, students waste time finding the right notes because they don’t feel the need to add titles.
They assume that they’ll naturally understand the contents of the notes while checking it at a later date.
Sadly, such is not always the case and a majority of students find difficulty in grappling through the documents as they don’t realize what they are about.
This is why you should add titles to each and every topic. If you cannot think of a suitable title, add a keyword to identify the topic. This way, you will immediately understand the topic with a single glance.
To make things simpler, you can also add subtitles or sub-headings. Either way, the process will be quick and easier to deal with.
Store your notes in the same place
If your information is in multiple spots, you will find it extremely difficult to organize them right before your exams. A simple way to deal with this is by having different notepads for different topics.
Do not jot down your notes on the first exercise book you have with you. When you do this, searching for some particular information and finding just the right ones will be increasingly difficult.
If you store your notes on the PC, make sure there’s only one designated folder for the same. You can create smaller sub-folders within this primary folder, depending on the topics of the subjects.
As with handwritten notes, putting all your digital notes in the same spot is going to make it difficult to organize them. As previously suggested, you can store your handwritten notes in a good binder.
This will allow you to add and remove pages whenever needed.
Let your life be ‘sticky’
If you are looking to organize your data, then sticky notes are your best friend. You can use color-coded sticky notes to remind yourself about difficult topics and formulas.
Stick them on your fridge, bedroom or anywhere else you spend time. The blue notes can be for formulas, the red ones can be for definitions, and the green ones can be for difficult concepts.
Keeping these notes around you will always keep you updated, thereby ensuring that you do not miss out on anything. With this format, studying will be easier and much more convenient.
Get notebooks with divisions
If you are looking to divide your information according to their respective topics, this is one of the easiest ways to move forward with your goal. You’ll find plenty of notebooks that come with pre-set divisions.
Get these notebooks to divide your lessons according to topic or theme.
After getting the notebook, color code them and/or add bullet points to process the information more conveniently.
Additionally, why not go the extra mile by getting different notebooks for the different segments covered in the course.
Either way, this is an excellent method to stay organized and study better.
When it comes to creating notes, focus is the key. While this is important for handwritten notes, it is absolutely necessary for electronic notes.
Unlike regular handwritten notes, we tend to get distracted while taking electronic notes. This is primarily because we take the notes either on our tablets, smartphones, or laptops that are also competing for our attention.
Since you end up losing vital facts on getting distracted, try increasing your focus by minimizing the distractions.
If you can’t manage to do this yourself, rely on an app blocker that’ll block social media sites, emails and other websites for a short duration.
Visual cues do not just help organize your notes, but it also enhances your overall knowledge absorption. Use graphs, drawings, and charts in your notes to keep yourself immersed.
Furthermore, use arrows or exclamation-points right beside the most important or complex topics. Both processes will help you. Adding these marks certainly will help identify the areas that truly deserve your attention.
Additionally, it will also boost your retention, help you recall quicker and engage you through your visual senses. Regardless of the complexity of the topic, visual cues are a great addition to any plan.
Leave enough space
While this might appear unnecessary to some, it isn’t so in reality. While creating your notes, it is important to leave some space in between.
This won’t just be easy on the eyes, but also help you review your notes better. A bit more space will also allow you to add your insights while studying.
Remember, while reviewing your notes, you will often have a new set of opinions that are vital to learning more about the given topic.
You can also use this space for adding points that you had missed during your first read-through. At times, these notes are more vital than the ones you have. So…never forget to leave some space.
Divide the examples
Very often, most study guides will give a set of examples while covering some important topic. It goes without mention that these examples can be extremely vital for creating complete notes.
They don’t just enrich your answer but also help you to grasp a specific topic better. Never ignore the given examples while jotting down notes.
You can also highlight them with multicolored pens or highlighters to always be in-check. It might seem irrelevant in the beginning, but organizing these examples can truly transform your answers.
Highlight the stats
If you’re an astute professional, you’re probably aware of the relevance of statistics. Interestingly, you can enrich your answers better by highlighting meaningful figures.
This can also be a great way to organize your notes. When you highlight and mark the stats, studying the topics become easier.
This also allows you to process your answers more efficiently. You can then color-code the statistical facts or circle them with a marker or highlighter.
Either way, you should know what you’re studying at a single glance.
The last word
Remember, the key to better focus and higher concentration is being organized. So, if your notes are orderly, you can access them whenever needed and study hard exactly when you want to.
Incorporate these guidelines for better and more efficient study sessions today!
The QuestionBank Family