Besides showing up and participating, taking notes will be one of the most important things you do in the classroom. Taking notes will help you pay attention, retain information, and serve as a helpful study tool.
Here are a few keys to successful note taking.
- Find the medium that works best for you. Do you prefer to handwrite notes, type on a tablet or laptop, or a combination of either while recording the lecture? You will need to confirm if your professors have any restrictions on how notes can be taken.
- Do not write word for word. Find ways to shorten longer words, use abbreviations, and summarize bigger ideas.
- Ensure your notes are organized and are easy to understand. Remember, you will refer to your notes in a few weeks (for a quiz or midterm) and possibly a few months (for a final).
- Compare notes with classmates. See if your classmate’s notes offer something different than your own notes.
- Review your notes often. After class, before your next class, at the end of a chapter or section, and before tests. Reviewing your notes will allow the information to stay fresh and offer greater understanding of the information and build on new information being presented.
Learning to take notes early in your college career will not only be beneficial throughout your time in undergraduate school, it will also be helpful in graduate school, post graduate school, and later in your professional career. Taking notes will help you take direction, review directives, and execute assignments. Although it will be time consuming, it will prove to be beneficial tool throughout your life.
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