Whether it’s just your first year in college or you’re about to graduate, you have to take loads of notes on your classes. At first, this new routine can be quite difficult for a first-year student, especially if you haven’t learned yet the teaching style of your professor and what you have to know to pass the test. At the same time, you may be taking online classes, where taking quality notes is a must to accomplish a top-notch research paper or essay later. It’s no doubt that taking notes in college is different than how you did that in high school. That is why we’re here to help you learn to take better notes to set yourself up for success.
Choose Handwriting Notes
Regardless of the classes mode (in-person or online) that you have to deal with, it is recommended to handwrite your notes. While most college and university tutors are totally fine with students taking notes with gadgets, and it is a faster way to put things down, it’s also quite distracting. The reality is that writing your notes by hand helps you hone your memory, understand academic materials better, and retain information. What is more, some of your notes may be drawings. And it’s not an easy thing to cope with when you’re using a laptop. For that reason, taking physical notes is the best way to write and organize concepts in a class.
Keep Your College Notes to a Short Summary
A lot of students try to capture all the details that their professors say. However, it will remain 100% counterproductive. Unless you can type really fast, the truth is that you can’t capture every other word that your tutor says. After all, it is absolutely pointless. Instead, make sure to create a short summer in class, focusing on the most crucial details. Besides, you shouldn’t also put down information that you’re already aware of. Concentrate on the new concepts – that’s exactly what you have to learn.
Use Bright Markers & Pens to Highlight Notes
Color-coding your notes is a great way to keep your writing organized and stay alert if the class is too long and dull. Using bright pens and markers can also hone memory performance and produce a better attention level. That is why the next time you take notes in black or blue pen, feel free to add some color.
If at the end of the lecture, you find that your notes are too wordy, you don’t have to edit your writing. Instead, use bright markers to highlight the most important segments of the text. After all, editing takes time that students usually lack. What is more, highlighting notes can help find exactly what you’re looking for when having home study sessions.
Stay Away from Distractions
We all live in a world full of informational resources, and we all tend to believe that we’re multitaskers. But the problem is that we aren’t. A lot of studies have already proven that such a thing as multitasking doesn’t exist. What people call multitasking is just switching from one task to the other. When we do it that way, our brain recalibrates and our performance leaves a lot to be desired. For instance, many undergrads choose to write and edit their essays at the same time. As a result, the flow of ideas is inconsistent, and the project requires more time to be accomplished. Finally, you find yourself looking for websites that help you find a free essay editor or choose to work with an editor of a paid service simply because multitasking did no good to you. That’s what happens when you choose to take notes and read, watch TV, and be engaged in any other activity at the same time. “What can happen if you check my Instagram and see what they have on Facebook for me as I take notes?” you might ask. Simple: every quick check of social media notifications is at least 30 seconds of your precious time. The same goes for every time you switch TV channels, check emails, or talk to someone in your room. Make sure to turn off all notifications while you’re engaged in the note-taking process. If you want to take quality notes, you can’t afford to waste your time on distractions.
When you’re done with your notes, it is recommended to put everything down on flashcards. It is a classic tip to quiz yourself and break academic concepts down into bite-sized pieces. It’s no doubt that you may feel like you’re doing a lot of work, but the reality is that using flashcards helps a lot when it comes to tests and exams. If you don’t like the idea of creating physical cards, you’re welcome to use online digital flashcards apps. These web platforms make studying more effective and easier.
You can see abbreviations everywhere, and there’s a good reason for that. By using abbreviations, you can save some precious time when taking notes. Whether you choose to write by hand or type, do not try to write out everything you hear. Come up with your own abbreviation technique. For example, you can write about the American Revolutionary War by using the ARW abbreviation.
You can choose the same strategy for the terms that you use frequently, especially if they are long. Choose the abbreviation that you know you will keep in mind. This will help you save both your brain and fingers.
Use Notetaking Apps
If you choose a digital way of taking college notes, make sure you are using some reliable app. Feel free to download Evernote, MS OneNote, or any other tool. At the same time, if you’re a visual learner, you will find Milanote a pretty powerful tool.
Finally, ensure you review your notes on a regular basis. Even though it may sound quite obvious, if you make sure to review your notes periodically, you will keep all concepts fresh in your mind. As a result, you don’t have to cram before the tests and exams.