How to Take Notes on Visual Aids

Charts, diagrams, graphs, maps, time lines, and other similar visual aids can be extremely helpful when you’re trying to learn a particular subject. In fact, most of your teachers and professors will probably use some sort of visual aid at some point to make sure that you are not only hearing what your instructor has to say but that you are also seeing it. It is important to note, however, that visual aids, even though they can be extremely helpful, can pose a problem for note takers. This is because visual aids will typically show a lot of information, and the average class won’t give you a lot of time to copy this information down. This means that you have to know how to take notes on a visual aid in a short period of time.

How to Take Notes on Visual AidsFortunately, if you’re having trouble taking notes on a visual aid, there are a couple of techniques that can help.

  • The first technique that you can use is the list technique. The list technique is a note taking technique that is designed for visual aids in which an individual attempts to list all of the key concepts that are included in the visual aid instead of redrawing the visual aid. This can be extremely helpful when the information that the chart, graph, or other visual aid is displaying is more important than the visual aid itself. It is important to note, however, that the list technique will work with only certain visual aids, and there are some visual aids that are only useful when you are able to draw them.
  • The second method is the simplify technique. The simplify technique is a note taking technique that is designed for visual aids that need to be set up in a certain way for those visual aids to make sense. For example, if you have a map that displays the date on which every major event during World War II occurred, you may decide to draw a line down the center of your page, write all of the dates down one side of the page and the event that occurred on each date on the other side of the page. This will allow you to record all of the dates for each important event in a chart so all of the events are in the same order, but you didn’t have to redraw the map. In other words, the goal of this method is not to create the same visual aid, but it is instead to create a similar visual aid that is simpler than the original.