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What Your Note-Taking Method Says About You

What Your Note-Taking Method Says About You

By Sara Jonsson

There are extremely few people in the world who can remember every face they see, every name they hear, every date they learn, who can memorize books after a glance at each page. These people are the Mentalist, Rain Man, John Travolta in that one '90s movie, Will Hunting, and Lindsay Lohan, who claims to have a photographic memory. The rest of us need to take some form of notes because our regular-sized brains need all the help they can get. You also need to cram for that midterm tomorrow and you can't do that with out some form of condensed information in front of your face. So what kind of notes do you take? What does it say about you?

Highlighting: This is FUN! (Totally serious.) Maybe you just highlight headers and major concepts during a lecture, or maybe you highlight while reading a book: orange is for names, green is for nature metaphors, purple is for violence or conflict! So fun right? You like things to grab your attention, to know for sure what is important, and you like to color things. You're kind of like a 5-year-old, except now you know EVERYTHING about the Crimean War (thanks to your trust 5-color highlighting set).

Margin Writer: Peripheral note-taker. You can multitask. You can think of small details and how they pertain to the big picture. We also venture to say that you're an observer, someone who jots down something funny someone else said in class, maybe sees how hideous someone's shoes are and needs to make a mental and literal note never to wear them yourself. We like you, as long as you're not writing about our rhinestone flip-flops.Hermione Granger Method: This is basically the method of writing down everything the teacher says, verbatim, and regurgitating it later on a test. This works if you don't want or don't have time to synthesize the information yourself. Only works if you write at lightning speed. You're either a genius, or a lazy student who feels guilty about it.

Post Its: These are borderline useless, gang. Maybe if you're asking someone to prom and you leave a trail of Post Its to a bouquet of flowers or something, each with one word: "will" "you" "go"—you get the idea. Basically these should be used to remind someone else of something, not yourself, because they lose their stickiness and get lost and they're also tiny. We could venture a guess that if Post Its are your note taking method of choice, you might be flighty and change your mind a lot.

Writing On Hands or Arms: This is dedication. You gotta get that info down, and if you didn't have a pen you'd scratch it in with a paperclip. Ew. Maybe not. But you're also practical, you'll never lose the info on a piece of paper if your arm is the paper. On the other hand, (ithankyou) you probably should wash your hands more.

Short Hand: This is honestly like a super power. If you know how to write in short hand you are either a time traveling secretary from the 1950s inside a teen's body or you're just an amazing individual who's taken the time to learn this lost art and will go far in life. The Presidency is not out of the question.

Topics: Life
Tags: writing, school, studying, work, personality types, personalities, what your ____ says about you, taking notes, note-taking

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About the Author
Sara Jonsson

Sara Jonsson is a Brooklyn-based writer, storyteller, and comic-book-movie lover. She can sometimes be found hosting variety shows, or writing web series about girls waiting in bathroom lines. She is from Montana and and dreams of one day interior designing ranch houses for a living.

Wanna contact a writer or editor? Email contribute@sparknotes.com.