At Business Insider, it’s our job to take notes.
It’s what journalists do best.
So imagine our surprise when we discovered we’ve been doing it wrong for decades.
Until finding the below method, we went with the standard practice: Listen to what a person says, and write down the important bits.
But it could be way better.
He partially credits his notetaking system — a variant on the Cornell Notetaking System — for his success.
Instead of merely summarizing information, his system aids in the recall of facts.
I write [my notes] in a form where I separate a “stimulus” from a “response.” The stimulus are cues or questions (think: front side of flashcard), while the response is the answer to the cue (think: back of flashcard). But the stimuli are to the left of a margin, while the responses are to the right.
That way, your notes are no longer lifeless summaries, frozen on the page. They’re an interactive tool for learning.
Just place a sheet of paper on the “back of the flash card” and you have an instant quiz for your understanding, or should we say machine for maximal learning.
It makes a simple but profound difference, as advances in cognitive science show that flash cards are one of the best ways to learn, since repeatedly asking your brain about a piece of information shows your brain that it’s worth remembering.