3 Effective Study Note Taking Techniques

Starting your ground school studies can be daunting as it may have been a while since you last had to attend lessons and take down notes for exam revision.

If you’re finding yourself in this situation and are unsure how best to organise your notes during your lessons, this guide is for you.

Below are three note-taking techniques you can use during lessons to help you organise your notes for a better understanding of each topic and to prepare for exam revision.


The Cornell Method

Notes can be easily reviewed into easily digestible sections by using the Cornell note-taking method. All of your lesson notes will be neatly organised and summarised, helping when you come to revise for your exams.

To use the Cornell method, you must first divide your page into three sections, two columns at the top (the notes one being the larger of the two) and a summary section at the bottom of the page.

During your lesson, take down your notes in the notes section, remember to include the main topic points and details.

After your lesson has ended, use the cues section to review your notes. In this space, you can write down the things you’ll need to remember and optionally a prompt for each. You can also note down any new vocabulary and their meaning, plus any study questions for later revision.

Lastly, use the summary section at the bottom of the page to highlight the key points and takeaways from your lesson.


The Map Method

If you’re more of a visual learner, you may find the map method an easier way to organise your notes during lessons and later for revision. This method is also best for understanding the link between topics and their key points.

To start, begin the map at the top of the page with what the main topic of the lesson is. During your lesson, branch off the main topic with as many subtopics as you need and write the main details and points underneath each.

Depending on how many subtopics and points you have for each topic, you may find this method works better by turning your page to landscape.

After your lesson, you can leave your map as it is or, optionally, write down a summary, new vocabulary, takeaways, questions or any other useful notes, at the bottom of the page.


The Chart Method

If you know your lesson will contain a lot of facts or new vocabulary, the chart method may be the best way to organise your notes.

To start, write down the name of the lesson (or topic) at the top of the page, plus the date if relevant.

As the lesson progresses, divide your page into as many sections as you need and write down relevant information about each topic when it is mentioned. You can organise each of the topic details as bullet points, numbered, or just space them out with a row underneath to help with readability.

Taking notes during class is one of the best ways to help information stick and can help you understand topics when you come to revise them for your exams. Try these note-taking methods next time you’re in a lesson and see which one works best for you!


Download our Free Ebook: The Essential ATPL Student Guide to Studying and Passing your Exams

Starting your ATPL theory soon?

Check out our new ebook on how to study and pass your ATPL exams. Discover what you’ll need to know about ATPL theory including:

  • What each ATPL exam includes
  • What to expect from each ATPL subject
  • Choosing the right ground school for you
  • How to study your ATPL theory
  • Note-taking techniques
  • Tips leading up to exam day