Introduction to note-taking
Taking notes is a crucial component of the studying process. It will assist you in learning, remembering, and recalling information better if you do it right.
Why is note-taking an important study skill?
Note-taking is an important study skill because it allows you to concentrate and pay active attention during class. Since it will enable you to actively engage with a topic by listening and summarizing what you hear, it relieves you of the burden of remembering the information later when trying to study.
Note-taking is a crucial step in the studying process because notes collected during lectures in class might be used as study aids later.
Importance of note taking skills to a student
1. It keeps you active
Taking notes in class keeps you active, ensures you pay attention, and helps you concentrate and participate in class.
It will assist you in your studies: Notes taken during class are a reliable resource that can help you draw up practice exam questions or develop flashcards. To get the most out of your notes, review them frequently.
2. Provide exact information
Note-taking helps with studying by allowing you to look back and remember what was exactly stated.
3. Note-taking aids in the keeping of records:
Taking notes in class will serve as a record of what you learned in class, as well as point you to topics that need serious reviews.
4. It aids your learning
According to studies on learning, actively engaging with a topic by listening and then summarizing what you hear helps you grasp and recall the information later.
Note-taking is a valuable talent to have: You can use the knowledge of note-taking to your advantage later in life. You could use it for your presentation or used in recording meetings.
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How to take better notes in class
Learn to take better notes by following the ultimate guidelines below:
1. Seat in front
If you wish to take effective notes in class, then seating in front will be your best bet. Sitting in front will allow you to listen and pay attention to what the professor says. And it will also keep you focused since you will feel vulnerable that the professor might notice that you aren’t paying attention.
2. Choose a note-taking medium that suit you
You can either choose to use paper with a pen or pencil or digitally by using your laptop or tablet. Whatever method you choose, make sure it is a method that suits you and that it is one that you are comfortable with.
Studies have shown that you recall better when you write with your hand. If you are a fast typer, you may want to consider using a digital computer since, with a digital computer, you can format your notes to your taste.
3. Take brief notes
Trying to write down everything your professor says is tempting, but this could sometimes be ineffective. It’s preferable to keep your notes to a summary, focusing on the most significant points.
You don’t have to jot down anything you already know. Concentrate on the new information. Make sure you remember it and don’t worry about the rest.
As a student, it is important to keep your notes short. When you have too many notes, it becomes difficult to remember what you have written. Also, be careful not to make it very short because if your notes become too short, it might be difficult to find what you are looking for.
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4. Take neat and organized notes
When it comes to studying, having disorganized notes might be a nightmare. Set up a system before you start writing, whether writing by hand or typing on a laptop or tablet. Make sure you can read what you’re writing if you prefer to handwrite your notes. Write as elegantly as possible, so you don’t have to spend time decoding yourself later.
It can be not easy to take organized and neat notes when trying to write fast. If you face this, you might consider using a different note-taking method.
5. Use abbreviations wherever possible
Whenever possible, use abbreviations; this works both for typing your note and writing your note since they both help you save time and can even help you remember things.
For instance, use abbreviations when referring to terms in a paper. For example, you can replace “Mr.” with Mister. Also, use acronyms when they are properly defined. For example, “NASA” is the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
6. Concentrate on the main points
When it comes to effective note-taking in class, you will be better off concentrating on the important point.
Since you might not be able to record everything, it will be best to follow the lecturer’s outline and capture the main point. Doing this will not only help you avoid having to jot down everything, but it will also give your notes structure, which should improve the quality of your learning and memory.
In a case where your professor doesn’t give you an outline. You may want to extract the main points from stand-alone conclusions and takeaways. These may not be the key outline ideas, but they are frequently obvious from the presentation.
7. Make Use of Visual Aids
Visual aids can help you comprehend and understand information better, especially if you are a visual learner. Though taking notes is usually a text-based process. However, with a little thought and effort, you may add visual aspects to your notes.
Some learning components are far easier to sketch in a diagram or picture than to write out verbatim. Consider displaying specific visual elements rather than simply writing about them if you have the skills.
Some lecturers may not allow you to take a photo if your professor doesn’t mind you taking a quick shot. You may consider taking a picture and incorporating it into your note.
You’ll be able to put these photos directly into your notes if you’re using a note-taking app. But make sure you do it on the same day so you don’t have to scramble afterward to figure out which photo corresponds with which section.
8. Make use of the numbering system
If you are taking notes by hand, you may want to consider numbering your pages. Page numbering is a way to track where you are in a document. There are various ways to do it, and what works for one person may not work for another. Here are a few options to consider:
- Use a table of contents to mark the beginning and end of each chapter.
- Use different colors to mark the beginning and end of each section.
- Use different fonts to mark the beginning and end of each subsection.
- Use different styles to mark the beginning and end of each page.
- Use a numbering system specific to the document or project.
Also, using bullet points is a good way to organize your note. So number your pages and use bullet points whenever possible, as it will save you time for rearranging and reassembling your notes.
9. Make a list of questions
Another method to keep your mind active while taking notes is to jot down questions as they come to mind. Some traditional teachers may not take questions until the end of the session, making it difficult to recall that topic from five minutes ago that you needed to clarify.
Writing down your questions as they arise is a terrific way to stay engaged, and it also gives you a resource for following up with your lecturer in or outside of class.
10. Consider using note-taking apps
If you are taking notes by typing, you may consider using a good note-taking app. Microsoft OneNote is a useful resource for windows users. But if you use an iPad, you may consider using an Evernote. Milanote may appeal to you even more if you are a visual person.
11. Go over your notes again.
Go over your note immediately after the class or when you get home. Going over your note may offer you the opportunity to correct the mistakes you make while taking notes in class. Also, if there were parts that you missed during the course, you may want to complete them.
Also, make it a habit to examine your notes regularly, not just at exam time. Review your notes regularly to keep the information fresh in your mind and avoid cramming right before tests.
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What is the disadvantage of note-taking?
- Difficult to use for a fast lecture – note-taking may be challenging to implement if the class moves fast. You would have a hard time trying to catch up with your professor.
- Your arm/hand hurts – because you’ll be taking notes with your hand during the lesson, your hand may hurt.
- It diverts your attention away from the professor – since you will be struggling to capture essential points that the professor mentioned, your attention will be diverted away from the professor.
- Permits thoughtless recording – note-taking does not give you much consideration to understand the lesson in class. It just lets you record information without being thoughtful about it.
Effective tips for note-taking
1. Write down only important points alone
It is advisable to write down only essential points so that when you are reviewing, you won’t end up with much information that will divert your attention. You should generally take notes on items that are unfamiliar to you.
2. Have a structure
To emphasize the most significant ideas and give form to your notes, use underlining, indentation, circle words or phrases, or highlighter pens – whatever technique works best for you.
3. Keep blank spaces
Always endeavor to keep empty spaces between each entry so that you can always fill up any gaps.
4. Don’t transcribe
Do not transcribe everything that is stated word for word. Focus on the essential ideas, stay awake and attentive, and pay attention to what is being said.
5. Be concise
Use brief, straightforward points, single words or phrases, short sentences, and, if necessary, bullet or numbered lists. It’s simple to add linking lines to join thoughts and concepts if you’re using a pen and paper.
6. Use your style
You don’t need to care about spelling, grammar, punctuation, or neatness as long as you can read your notes afterward and they make sense to you, so write in your style and use your language.
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7. You can always request a recap
Don’t worry if you forget something. After the class, you can ask the professor to repeat a point or ask a colleague or peer. Make a mental note that you’ve forgotten something to remind yourself to do it.
8. Write in complete important information
Your names, contact information, dates, URLs, references, book titles, formulas, and other important information should be written down in full.
9. Consider your thoughts as you write
We already stated how mindlessly transcribing every word you hear isn’t helpful. Even if you’re writing by hand, the same rules apply. Make sure you’re thinking and engaging your brain while you’re writing.
Instead of concentrating more on what your professor says, consider why your professor is saying things and the key themes you need to remove from what he is saying.
Writing down your inferences from what’s being said, rather than merely writing down every word, is an important part of good note-taking.