Mastering the art of note-taking is an essential skill that is necessary for college. While teachers in high school provided power points and other forms of visual aid to make the note-taking process easier, most professors in college will most likely expect you to be attentive and absorb all the information through solely (boring) lectures. This makes effective note-taking all the more necessary. If you're not sure how to start, try following these simple guidelines.
1. (Secretly) record the lectures.
Recording lectures is probably the easiest way to ensure that you're not missing any answers to potential test questions. If your professor allows the use of technology in the classroom, go ahead and whip out your phone to record the lecture for use in the future. If you're not allowed access to technology, don't fret! You could always record lectures with your phone in your bag. Let's just hope your professor isn't too soft spoken.
2. Create your own note-taking language that makes sense.
Chances are you're not going to have time to write out complete sentences when you're taking notes. In fact, that's never the approach you should take when taking notes. In order to get as much information as you can down on paper, develop a system of abbreviations and symbols for certain words and meanings that make sense to you.
3. Title your notes during lecture.
Getting in the habit of adding titles to lecture notes can actually prove to be a lot more beneficial than you might think. Creating a title for notes forces you to find the main idea of the lesson and make sense out of all the bullet points on your piece of paper. Writing the date of the day you took certain notes can also help you distinguish between different lectures.
4. Review/edit/reorganize your notes after class.
More often than not, your notes will start to become disorganized as you frantically try to write down everything that is being said. This is normal. It's important to always go back to your notes and reorganize them after class to make sure that everything is written in a way that is easily understood. Remember: as time passes, you'll start to retain less information. This is a crucial step that should be taken ASAP so you can accurately edit your notes to follow the correct train of thought. Here's a before and after.
5. Align your lecture notes with the information in your textbook.
Your professor can only cover so much information in a short period of time. Seeking other resources for studying, such as your textbook, is crucial. While reading your textbook, try to align what you read with the notes you took from lectures. The textbook will most likely have more information and in depth explanations for certain concepts that may be beneficial to add on to the notes you have already.
6. Come prepared with the right tools.
Looking at a piece of paper with only a bunch of bullet points and words will not be the most helpful tool in studying. Come prepared with colored pens, highlighters and sticky notes to have more organized and overall more aesthetically pleasing notes.
Studying in college should always be one of the top things to do on your list of priorities. While it's never fun, with these tips you'll at least be able to alleviate some of the pain that comes with endless hours of cramming. Here's to better note-taking and even better grades (hopefully)!
Lead Image Credit: Aaron Burden via Unsplash