Anyone can jot down a piece of information in their notebook, but do you know how to take notes effectively? When it’s time to review for a big test, are your notes genuinely useful? Proper notetaking can make even the most complicated courses easier. It helps you retain more information, organizes what you’ve learned, and creates more efficient studying habits. As you prepare for your next successful semester, keep in mind these essential tips on how to take effective notes.
Don’t Write Everything
If your notetaking methods consist of simply copying down everything you hear in a lecture, you aren’t truly absorbing the information. Instead of writing as much information as possible, try to jot down key points in your own words. Keep the big picture in mind throughout the entire lecture so that you can keep your notes relevant. Be an attentive listener and apply that to what you write down. This, like many other essential tips on how to take effective notes, will help you retain more information from the lecture.
Choose Your Style
Everyone takes notes differently. Some people write in full sentences, some use shorthand, and others prefer visuals like sketches or graphs. No matter how you record or organize information, try to figure out your notetaking method ahead of time. Find out how you work best so that you can start each class on the right foot instead of scrambling to organize your notes. A uniform notetaking structure will also help you continue to review your notes over multiple courses and semesters.
Use a Physical Notebook
Laptops and other digital notetaking devices have become a staple of many students’ lives. While digital notes can certainly be useful, there is also value in a physical notebook. Student lab notebooks are durable and easy to carry around. You also don’t have to worry about moving files around or losing your notes in a computer crash or another technological failure. Additionally, writing notes by hand helps you slow down, listen better, and absorb more information during a class or lecture.