One thing that students seem to be worried about (I’m a perfect example of this) is note taking. How should I take notes to ensure I understand the material completely? Students want to find the best way to fit our social life and time off around college and work. Although effective work and cutting corners both give us more time to ourselves, working effectively will give you more time and prevent the issues that cutting corners presents.
That’s where note-taking comes into play. Many websites offer different pathways to note taking that can be effective for different people, but no one method works best for everyone. Taking effective notes can range from writing down key words to drawing out a chart. The biggest part of note taking is whether you’re taking notes and actively listening to the professor.
Note: If taking notes on paper, leave some space on the page between lines or off to the side. Future you will be happy when you go back through and add something from a textbook.
Let’s talk about outlines for a moment…
Students who write outlines get better grades and do less work than students who didn’t write outlines. Students who spend half an hour writing an outline end up cutting out the time required for a full draft of the paper. That’s because outlines function as guideposts. Students who work to make an outline know what they are going to talk about beforehand and don’t divert from their topic.
…And bring it back to note taking.
Note taking also works as a guidepost. You put down information that will likely be on the exam, point out important details and dates, and create a path for your study time. What’s more amazing is that writing down information is very effective for memory. Not only will you sett up a guidepost by taking notes, you cut out brush and build a road to success.
That’s the weird thing about note taking. When you spend time writing notes in class you save time later that you would have spent trying to find that one date your professor mentioned. One hour in class taking notes is worth two or even three hours in class not taking notes.
We’ve got the notes down, so what’s next? Look through the notes throughout the quarter to refresh your memory. If you leave spaces between lines you can fill in those spaces with questions to ask about the assignment or notes from the book. Once you go over that information a few times you’ll be better prepared for exams and essays.