Note taking can be confusing. It can be difficult to tell what’s important, what isn’t, if you wrote too much or too little. That’s why StudyGate has put together a list of 5 helpful tips that will make your notes work smarter, not harder.
Listen, Listen, Listen
Obvious, right? This one is important. You cannot take notes if you don’t know what the teacher is saying. Good listening skills are the foundation of good study skills. When your chemistry teacher is giving you a clear definition for a word or concept, write it down. When he’s going on and on and ON about that science museum he visited last weekend, maybe you should skip it. Decide for yourself what your notes should include. Active listening keeps you alert and in a great position to learn new things.
Less Is More
Good notes should not be a word-for-word transcript of what happened in class. Think of them as a way for you to teach yourself new things. Why waste time trying to write down an entire lecture? Instead, try writing down key words, using headings and bullet points, writing things in your own words, and making your own codes, shorthand, and quick ways of writing things down. This way, you take notes that you know you can understand.
Eat, Sleep, and Breathe It, Rehearse and Reread It
This is probably one of the easiest ways to study. Reread your notes when you get the chance. The best time to do this is directly after class. Take a separate sheet of paper and copy your notes—only this time, fill in any information you remember from the lecture. This will help the information stick in your mind, while also testing your knowledge and giving you a better understanding of the material. Do this, and you’ll never have to cram before a test again. EVER.
Keep Them Organized
Admit it. As soon as class is over, you get up, stuff your notes in your notebook, stuff your notebook in your bag, and that’s that. We’ve all done it! Instead, keep your notes in a binder, and organize them in order of when you wrote them. Now you’ll have a record of all your notes in order—like a book! When it’s test time, flip to the right page and just read what you wrote. Simple as that.
Have Fun With It
Some lectures are a little dry. It’s not always easy to stay focused, and sometimes your mind just wanders off. Keep yourself interested! Use the margins of your paper to draw or write down things that come to mind. Scribble lyrics to a song you like, make little reminders for yourself, or even write down your future goals. You know you’re going to think about other things. The goal is to let those thoughts come, recognize them, and then let them go so you can stay focused.