While you’ve been taking notes all through high school, you’ll need to redefine your note taking skills and techniques in college. Taking meaningful and efficient notes is a crucial skill that will boost your memory and result in good grades at the end of the semester. If you keep messy, poorly organized notes, they’ll probably not be of much help when you need to review them come exams.
Good note taking skills have a lot of benefits. They will ensure you pay close undivided attention to your lecturer in class, make it easier to understand and internalize information that you learn, and urge you to think about what you’re writing instead of doing it on autopilot.
With a few changes in how you take your notes, you can enjoy the above benefits and more. Here are some tips on how to take class notes like a pro:
The more orderly your notes are, the more helpful they will be when you go back to review them. Start every lecture on a fresh page and include the date. You can number the pages, then create a table of contents on the first page of your notebook to make it easier to find your notes later on. Add headings on the top of every page indicating the contained notes.
Outlining your work is another method to improve the organization of your notes. Use headings, subheadings, and bullet points to break down your notes.
Sit close to the professor
After glorifying in back benching in high school, college is the time you should try the seats at the front of the hall. Hearing everything your professor says is very important in getting you the best notes. You won’t be straining to hear, so all your concentration will be on taking the best notes.
Use colored pens
Other than being fun, using different colored pens on different sections of your notes will help with recall and ease revision. You can separate topic titles, sub-headings and definitions in this manner. You can even use a common color for all the key points throughout. It’s your choice.
Make use of abbreviations
While taking down notes, using abbreviations can help you write faster. Other than the standard abbreviations, you can make up your own that you won’t forget.
Write them out
Typing your class notes on your laptop is so very convenient and easy. However, you might want to go the old fashioned paper and pen way, if you want to get the most out of your note taking. Handwriting notes has been proven to be a learning process in itself. It gives you the chance to decide what you have to put down (which is not everything the professor says) and helps commit information to the brain.
Do not write down everything
Writing down everything your professor says will leave you with a load of unnecessary notes that do not really add to the information. Listen keenly and pick out the important points. Paraphrase them in your own words to make recalling much easier. Teachers give a lot of verbal cues on important information while they lecture, so be on the lookout for those, and be sure to note them down.