- It is way easier to study from your notes than read through the whole textbook searching for what might be on the next test.
- Your professor will actually hint on things he will include on the exam, so you’ll be more prepared.
- Taking notes helps you stay focused and actually learn what the professor is trying to teach you.
Taking notes is not as easy it as it may seem though. Here are a few basics:
Come prepared. Have a separate notebook for every class, bring a pen and a spare one, use highlighters to underline important terms and concepts and start each class on a new page with the date and topic. Another simple tip is to leave spaces in between your notes. They’ll come in handy when you’ll start reviewing them.
Now to the hard part. You will want to write down everything once you’ve focused and prepared, but that’s impossible. Unless you develop super writing speed, you’ll have to learn to decide what’s crucial and what you know as it is. Some things you should always right down: names of people, theories, definitions, arguments and debates, exercises and basically anything the professor writes on the board. Because if he is taking the time to write something in additional to his presentation, it must be important.
Apart from the above things, there will be a whole truck load of other information. Use abbreviations. You can even invent your own. As long as you remember what they are. These notes are for you and you only, so make sure you’ll be able to use them properly when done. Learn to be a good listener and spot what the professor is emphasizing. Also write down everything you don’t know or don’t understand.
Once the class is over, you can then Google the things you didn’t understand fully or even ask your professor directly after class. That’s what we were leaving the spaces for Now you can improve your notes. Review, edit and organize your notes after class. They are the best study material you can wish for.
If you’re not good at this, it will take some time getting used to. Try bringing a recorder to class, so that you can listen afterward. You can even use your phone. There are a bunch of apps to help out. The new semester and the New Year is the perfect time to improve your note-taking skills. There’s no time like the present to start!