The Importance of Taking Notes

12/03/15

Everyone has different approaches to learning. Whether you are a passive or active learner, capturing, remembering, and then applying information that you have learnt can be a difficult task when you are trying to soak up all information given to you within a new internship or job. If you don’t write down what you are hearing and learning, the odds of remembering every detail is very slim.

Taking notes is an important part of the learning process. Research suggests that people who take notes are more likely to remember conceptual information over a longer period of time compared to those who do not.

Remember back to your university days - I bet there was never an instance where you did not take notes during a lecture or a tutorial and instead solely relied on your memory to perform well in an exam.

The same goes for starting an internship or new job - it’s nearly impossible to be confronted with new information, learn new systems and concepts, and still be expected to perform these confidently down the track without referring to your notes. 

On the first day of your internship or job, come prepared with a pen and a notebook. These tools will be your saving grace. Write down everything! Even if you don’t think it is valuable information, just write it down. By taking these notes you are making it easier on your memory load to remember information while your brain is also trying to resolve and contextualise complex problems.

When you are unsure of how to perform a task, rather than asking your manager myriads of questions (that might have already been answered during training) you can refer back to your detailed notes. This will impress your manager and make you come across as knowledgeable and someone who gets things right the first time. It will also stop you from making mistakes and you will feel much more confident in your ability to complete the tasks well.

There are different ways to take notes, with active note taking being the most effective. Active note taking includes thinking about what is being portrayed before you write down your notes, making sure that you understand the intentions of what you are hearing. It also includes looking for connections within ideas, writing notes in your own words and your own explanation of what something means, drawing diagrams to help you understand, and highlighting important information. This type of note taking will help you make meaningful connections between concepts.

The success of your new internship or job relies on many variables, the most important being your performance. A very effective way to help you enhance this is to take notes on every new task you are performing so you can carry these out accurately and confidently.

Remember it may simply be bringing a notepad with you to your first day of your internship or when meeting your mentor. For more tips and advice on career building, speak to our mentors about the opportunities and training available with the Work Integrated Learning Program.

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