Ways to Take Notes: Important or Not

July 30, 2012 Category: College Tips

Are you new to the college scene and classes?  Are you thinking that since you were able to keep up in high school by taking great notes, that it will be the same in college?  You may be able to keep up, but remember the difference may be a classroom of 350 students to what you remember of 30 students.  You will not be able to stop your professor every now and then to repeat or explain what he said, so your note taking technique may be very important.

Taking notes does require your attention.  If you are half asleep or tired taking legible and meaningful notes will be a difficult task.  You cannot write everything down, but try and get that pertinent information in there.  The following are a few tips and techniques on note taking in college.

Note Taking – Note Making:  This method is used by some to take notes in class and then reinforce those notes with reading material notes on the side.  On one side of the paper you can take notes in class leaving space in between the main points.  On the other side, as you do your reading you can refer to those notes and add to your understanding of the topic or write down questions that you may need clarified later next to the class notes.

Tape recording lectures:  This is nothing new.  If you can record the lecture, you can always listen to it again to make sure you got those important details down.  It is crucial that you listen to that recording pretty soon (same day is optimal), this way it is fresh in your mind and you can recall the information easier.

Rewrite your notes:  Take the time to review your notes and rewrite them if necessary.  Typing up your notes would be of utmost help. By doing this you will become more familiar with the material and you will have a more legible paper to look at for later use.  It will mentally reinforce what is said in class and then help you during those pop quizzes or midterm exams when you revisit those notes.

why take notes

Attend Class: 
If you do not go to class, you cannot take notes!  Depending on others to take notes may not be the greatest of ideas only because what is important to them may not be to you or vice versa.  To understand the notes you need to be there, rested and attentive.
Use Colors:  This may be a little more time consuming, but give it a chance.  Change the color of your pen/pencil when you change topics or ideas.  It will help you retain information a bit better, helping your brain match the color with the information.
When in doubt, ask.  No matter how great of a note taker you are, there may be times that you just do not understand the information.  Use those professor office hours or tutorials offered, to ask all those questions.  Your instructors want you to succeed and are more than willing to assist.
Your education is number one!  Make sure you do all you can to succeed.  Good luck!

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