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This is a simple method that involves making lists of the different points related to the central topic and is probably the method you are most familiar with. The main points are numbered, alphabetised or highlighted using bullet points or dashes. Sub-topics or points are then detailed in lists underneath the main topic. This method works particularly well if you are able to take your time and organise the notes accurately.

How To Outline

The first line is always for the main topic. Subsequent lines detail the sub-topics related to the main topic. When the lesson moves onto a new topic, leave a few lines and start the process of note taking again. For example:

1. Effective Study

  a. Note Taking Techniques

    i. Cornell System

      1. great for pulling out the main points or concept of the idea
      2. simple
      3. efficient

    ii. Outlining

      1. easy

      2. quick

      3. does not allow for information to be inserted afterwards


   iii. Mind Mapping

      1. visual

      2. great for memorizing information

      3. helps with problem solving

      4. space saving


As you can see, this method provides you with a concise list of numbered points which act as prompts for recollection of the information, it is well organised and shows the relationships between the main topics and the sub-topics clearly.

However, there is a drawback with the system in that unless you're working on a laptop or pad it does not allow you to go back and insert further information into the list – unless large gaps are left when the initial list is written. This can make things cramped and hard to read, leading to problems with revision.