Taking notes is a great way to memorise important concepts or terms that you learn in a classroom. Taking down notes helps to prepare for an exam, a run upto revision and boosts concentration during lectures. Also, taking notes allows students to jot down concepts in their own terms and manner, making it easier for them to understand and revise later. Students must learn how to take notes. Here are some tips to take notes effectively.
Note Taking Tips
Be a good listener
To take effective notes, you need to have excellent listening skills, understanding and good judgment. One should follow an instructor during the class to make impeccable notes. Try not to be distracted by external factors or surroundings. It is advisable to switch off your cell phone during the class. The attention span will be better if you reduce distractions around.
Remember, you should not be jotting down everything the instructor utters. Write down notes under subheads. When a teacher emphasizes on a key concept, you must take down notes in manner that will help you in answering direct question from the concept as well as its applications and several other questions related to the topic. Write down important terms and sentences that a professor writes on the whiteboard.
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Advance Preparation is a MUST
A slight idea about the subject will help you in the long run. Advance preparation will help you decide what to write. It will help you avoid redundant words and terms. Have a notebook dedicated to taking notes only for that class. Remember to carry extra stationery like pens and pencils and even highlighters so that you do highlight key words then and there.
Take a binder or folder where you can organize your notes, lose sheets or any handouts or assignments you receive in the class. Recording, after due permission, can also help in taking down notes effectively. It is a good resource to revisit or revise the lecture later on to identify or pick up terms that might miss during the class or taking down notes.
- summarise – be concise
- neat writing
- use headings, sub heads and bullet
- use abbreviations, acronyms and shorthand (but spell out proper nouns)
- leave spaces in between your notes (to make corrections and additions later on)
- proper nouns should be written with correct spellings. For example, name of the author, title of a book, drama, name of a place, publication and other such information.
Make it easy to understand
It is important that you develop your own style of taking down notes. It should gel well you’re your reading and learning style. Developing such a style lends a good help in revision. This may include using a notebook designed for an individual or specific task, flash cards, highlighters and various coloured pens to identify or mark important terms. You should also use acronyms while taking notes rather than writing complete sentences since it is extremely time-consuming. You can even create your own system for abbreviations, terminology and symbols.
Put concepts in your own words so that when you go back to study your notes you easily recall the topic or how it was instructed or taught in the classroom.
Comparing notes with other students is an effective strategy to make impeccable study notes. Many students only ask or discuss notes when they miss a lecture.
By comparing notes with others, you gain perspective and see what other students in the class are preparing. Sometimes you also add salient information to your study material during peer discussion.
Revision is crucial
After the class, it is a good idea to review your notes and make necessary corrections. Often notes become messy, unstructured and chaotic as students try to catch up with the rhythm of professor during the lecture.
It is worth to write notes in an organized way during leisure time. It is suggested by experts to research or go through details about terms or concepts you could not understand during the lecture or in a classroom.
Also, in order to preserve the content created by you after spending hours, you MUST keep them in a safe place that is accessible to you. Clearly label the binder or folder you are using for each class or lectures.
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