Things to note – the art of learning

Things to note…

One thing that is consistent for all most all professional qualifications students is the desire to take notes through study.  Along with question practice and the inevitable reading, note taking is one of the key tenements of engaging with a subject or syllabus.

Given that this is the case, it’s surprising just how many people are ineffective at note taking – for some we can trace it back to bad habits at school and college.

Here’s the problem – we want to work ‘hard’ and copying large swathes of text out in our own handwriting is hard work so we feel like we are doing the right thing.

Ultimately, though, this process does not require us to engage with or understand the material; it is simply recreation of the content.  In addition to this, we end up with notes of a similar length to the study text and that makes revision awkward and long.

 Here’s a few tips for getting note taking right – 

  • Firstly, make sure you have read through the chapter or module in full, so you know what the key information is and you have a framework to hang that information on
  • Secondly, force yourself to never use an A4 notepad in portrait – use it in landscape or use differing size note pads:  this will help you capture your notes creatively.  On that subject…
  • Thirdly, get creative! Use diagrams, mnemonics, acronyms, mind maps etc.  There are three positives to this..
  • Gimmicks, tricks, humour etc are all fair more memorable than long swathes of prose
  • You will have engaging visual material to interact with – pin these up where you’ll see them often
  • The process of creating these materials requires you to engage with and synthesise the learning concepts – it’s as powerful as using questions in your study!
  • Finally, when you are making notes, use your language and voice – it’s much more powerful that recreating someone else’s

The above are just a collection of hints that may work for you – there are no rules.  As long as it works for you, be as creative as you like….  It’s your study after all!

Need extra study support for your CII exams?

We’ve got you covered! At Redmill Advance, we provide study support for the CII and CISI exams, and all of our courses are CPD accredited. So, you can rest assured that you’re in good hands.

Our learning programmes have been designed to cut straight to the core material you need for exam success. We can fully support your learning and professional development needs wherever you are on your own journey.

Click here to take a look at our extensive range of courses

Need help with your study methods? Click here to download our free study guide to exam success

Learn without limits

Connect with Redmill

Stay up to date with the latest industry news. Connect with us on the below channels for insights, new jobs, helpful tips and more.

Latest News

ACPD Experience Events

ACPD Experience Events

AdvanceCPD Experience Events – Test drive the latest way to deliver and report on all of your CPD needs  We know that seeing is believing and that you wouldn’t buy the latest market-leading vehicle...

Framework for understanding

Framework for understanding

 Whichever source material you are going to use for your professional qualifications study, two things are pretty clear…   1.            The material is going to be technical  2.            It is...

Let’s get your study on

Let’s get your study on

"You’ll never plow a field by turning it over in your mind", Irish proverb.  We can all find other things to do instead of just getting started and it is a perfectly natural part of the process. We...

Sitting a CII Exam, Home and Away

Sitting a CII Exam, Home and Away

Sitting a CII Exam, Home and Away When I first started my diploma in financial planning through the CII, I sat my exams both remotely and in a test centre, and I thought it would be useful to share...