January 17, 2018

4 Tips for more effective note-taking

4 Tips for more effective note-taking - photo copyright 2012 Rick Sherrell

Now that you are in college, you’ll quickly learn that great organizational skills, good study habits, and overall discipline are crucial to your academic success. While these habits may not be the norm for you, making them a regular part of your routine will make the college experience more enjoyable and rewarding.

One of the first skills you should strengthen is your ability to take notes. It sounds easy, but it actually requires a conscious effort to make sure you stay organized and on top of work. Poor note-taking can ultimately lead to less than desirable grades. Utilize the following tips to make note-taking a breeze.

1. Have the Right Tools

Be sure to always come to class prepared. Whether you use a pen and a pad or a laptop, check before class that they are working or charged. Also, bring what makes you comfortable. If you prefer pens to pencils, make sure you have some in your bag before heading to class.

2. Utilize Technology

Make use of all the new technological advances that have been created to make life easier. Many people type faster than they write, making it even easier to take notes. If you prefer writing your notes in a laptop, first check that your professor allows laptop use in class. And while it may be tempting to surf the web and chat with your friends on social networks, stay engaged and learn as much as you can by disabling your Wi-Fi.

Look into digital textbooks. These are lightweight and easy to transport, making them an excellent investment for school. The even bigger advantage is the amount of money you can save by using digital textbooks. Digital books are available at a fraction of the price, and you can highlight, share notes, search and print right from your digital book.

If your notes tend to be messy, or you simply do not want to miss a beat, you may want to invest in a recorder. However, do not rely on your recorder to do all the work. Taking physical notes has been shown to aid in memorization!

3. Stay Organized

Start an organizational process that you stick to. If you use notebooks to take your notes, invest in a large notebook with dividers. Use a section for each class. Make sure you have a folder or 3-ring binder to store any handouts you receive. Also be sure to date your notes so that they are easy to find. If taking notes on a laptop, create a folder for each class. This makes locating your notes much easier!

4. Less is Sometimes More

Do not write down every single word you hear. This will not only frustrate you, but it will also hinder your ability to process the information. Only write down the important portions of the lecture and key words to help you remember the main ideas. It is important to find the perfect balance that works for your learning process. Be sure that your notes are legible and detailed enough that you can read them later and know exactly what your professor was referring to.

At the end of every class, skim through your notes and add any missing pieces. This is a great way to further implant the information in your mind, and you are more likely to remember something you missed immediately after the lecture than a week later.

Remember that you are in college to learn, so do not waste this opportunity. Once you master these skills, they will stick with you for life and ultimately assist you in achieving your goals beyond your undergraduate degree!

About the Guest Blogger: Lindsay Traiman is a writer for Skyo. Skyo is an online site for renting or buying cheap textbooks with a variety of flexible rental options. Visit www.skyo.com today to buy textbooks online and find advice on Skyo’s college blog.

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