Note-taking is an effective technique while studying. It lets you revise and memorise the content in a short duration. It helps you not forget the essential information about the topics. Together with all these, classroom note-taking increases your concentration power, listening, and writing skills.
Most students do not know how to take notes during lectures. They think writing the lectures or copying from the internet is note-taking. But, it is not the correct way.
This article will help you learn how to take effective notes during classes.
One of the best keys to succeeding in exams is note-taking. It needs the devotion, dedication, and concentration of a student to make effective and efficient notes.
Ten Strategies For Taking Effective Notes While Studying
Effective notes help you remember the topics easily only by writing the keywords and testing your understanding. Here are the best ten strategies that help you learn how to take effective notes during lectures. Have a look.
Select the best suitable note-taking style:
Note-taking is not a random writing activity for whatever is in your mind, and you can write it out. But it is a process of meticulous thinking, listening, reading, and writing. Before taking notes, it is necessary to select your style and note them.
There are many techniques to take notes like the Cornell method, outline method, chart method, mapping method, etc. You can select any of them and then work accordingly. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages. It purely depends on an individual’s choice of what method they want to select. One thing that can be more useful to you is you do not have to stick to only one note-taking method. You can combine other methods according to your choice.
Organise your notes and study materials required:
Prepare your sheets or notebooks and all required study materials before the start of the class. Suppose your notes are organised with the proper date, page number, and topic name. In that case, it will be easy to search the related content easily.
It is a good strategy to keep the sheets of new topics separate from the previous ones. If your notes are organised, well-structured, legible, and easy to inspect, you will quickly remember them.
After the lecture:
- Organise all the notes according to the date and page number and keep them in a file folder.
- Group all the notes carefully and then punch them.
- Write the summary at the end of the notes.
Writing concise notes:
Note-taking is not a dictation writing activity. So you do not have to write everything your teacher delivers to you in their lectures. It is almost impossible to note down every word your teacher said, but it also means you are not attentive in the classroom at that time. Note-taking should be through summary and easy to understand format.
You need to identify the key points, the points you are not clear with, and the main ideas of the topics in your notes. Write them in brief language that will be easy to memorise. And if your lectures are recorded in the classroom, you can recheck them back to any point.
Stay focused during lectures:
When you feel bored during lectures, it is easy to start daydreaming and get distracted. As a result, you will miss out on the important sections. Take proper sound sleep at night to avoid getting zoning out during lectures. Otherwise, you will feel frustrated about missing it as you will not be able to understand something.
By focusing during lectures, you will feel better. Listen carefully to the examples your teacher explains to you and remember them.
Use colours, highlighters, underlines, or capitals to highlight the important sections, main points, and diagrams. It will help you draw your attention toward them while revising the notes. However, use these items after the lecture and do not focus on them during lectures in the class.
Highlighting the main ideas requires time and concentration. Hence, perform it after the class when you revise your notes.
Use acronyms and symbols:
As the teacher delivers a lot of information regularly, it becomes hard for you to note down every important thing. To avoid these, you can use abbreviations and symbols. You can use whatever short form you want to use. You can choose to drop vowels from the words to save time while writing notes.
Many students use such types of abbreviations and symbols: 2 (two, to, or too), b/w (between), & (and), e.g. (example), i.e. (that is), and many more. Try to make a ‘key list’ of abbreviations and their meanings while creating abbreviations. In this way, you will never forget them.
Get rid of distractions:
If you are using a laptop to take notes, turn off your wifi to get rid of distractions. Otherwise, you will get tempted toward social media or other platforms and get distracted from the lectures. As a result, you will not be able to understand that topic properly.
If you are using pen and paper format, select a class seat that is relatively less noisy, and you can see the teacher explaining the lecture. Some students like to select those places in the class where the distraction is minimum, and it is difficult for them to check the clock. Using pen and paper to write notes is a more productive note-taking way.
Leave space between the notes:
Leave the remaining space on the paper or sheet when a topic gets complete. If you have forgotten or missed something in your notes, or there is any point you are unclear about, it can use up this space. You can also add more information in this blank space. This space can be handy when you revise the topics again if you find new areas to cover in the notes.
One way of doing this is by drawing wide margins on the page’s left hand before starting writing and then leaving it for later use. And another way is to leave plenty of space at the end of the notes.
Ask questions about having doubts:
Only writing down the notes is not so beneficial. But, if you find any hurdle that makes you confused, you can share them with your peers and teachers for clarification.
Suppose you find yourself not satisfied with the solution provided. In that case, you can contact your teachers in your free time to clarify the problem. Asking the problem connects you with the topic and boosts your confidence level.
Share your notes with your classmates:
Comparing your notes with your friends reinforces what you have learned. You can share your notes with your helpful classmates or seek their help in taking notes. It will help you know if there is any point that you forget to mention or some vital information that you have missed. And if it is with your friends, they get a good chance to note them too.
You can update your notes in this way. Comparing your notes with others lets you make your classroom notes more thorough and precise.
How do I take better notes?
To take better notes, follow the given steps:
Regularly review your material.
Use pictures or other visual aids in your notes, as they are easy to remember.
Do not use colour-coding at the beginning of the notes.
Write short and brief notes.
Use abbreviations and symbols in your notes. It will save your time and is easy to memorise.
Use your unique words that are like your coding language.
Do not use your teacher's notes or books as your notes. Instead of it, use their notes as the starting point.
If you encounter any problems, write questions to yourself.
Do not write everything in your notes. It's better to be engaged and mention only important and effective points
How do I perform listening and writing two tasks simultaneously to make notes in the classroom?
Take notice of the following steps to maintain your listening and writing skills at one time in the classroom:
Read the topic a day ahead that will lecture in the class.
Use active listening skills.
Make sure to select a seat where no one disturbs you.
Ready with your required material to take notes.
Watch the body language of your teachers and how they are explaining the topics.
Listen attentively. If there is any point, they repeated many times, note it down.
Whatever important things they explain on the board, note them down in your notebook and mention them in your notes.
What strategies should I follow during lecture notes?
The strategies that should follow during lectures are below:
Prepare before the lecture with all the required materials.
Listen carefully to what your teacher says to catch the 'cue' hidden in them.
The things you do not understand during the lecture, mention them in your notes.
Select carefully among a laptop or a pen and paper to write notes, as both have their advantages and disadvantages.
If you do not understand any topic during a lecture, ask instant questions.
Mark the points whenever your teacher says 'this is an important point', and ask them after the lecture.
What general tips should I need to follow while taking classroom notes?
Regardless of what note-taking method you choose, some general tips you have to follow while taking classroom notes are below:
Ensure you have all the required tools like a notebook, sheets, coloured pens, sketches, or laptops.
If you are using sheets to make notes, write only one side of the sheet.
Please mark the date and page number on all the sheets to organise them.
When you start a new topic, leave some space in your notebook or start from a new sheet.
If you are taking notes on a laptop, then place them so you can see the teacher or classroom board.
Do not write down everything.
Review your notes after every class as soon as possible.
Make use of abbreviations, symbols, or pictures in your notes.
Write a summary of the topic at the end of it in your words.
How to take notes in a boring lecture?
If you find any lecture boring to take notes, you can do some productive work to use that time.
If you find the teacher goes out of the track during their lectures, ask them some topic-related questions.
Make good use of that time to catch up on your weekly readings.
During this period, you can write an essay on any topic. It will help you with your writing skills.
Make a list of suitable library books that you want to borrow.
Make use of this time to draw relevant flashcards.
Write your notes in your language from the books.
Brainstorm your mind and write down your ideas to explain the same topic that is going on in the class.
Utilise this time and practice some relevant questions.
How to take effective notes during class?
Follow the given steps for effective note-taking tips:
Listen, think, and then write the notes simultaneously.
Control your writing speed with the teacher’s explaining speed.
Focus on the teacher’s saying in the classroom rather than the lecture delivering part.
Remove all the extravagant information and write only useful information in your notes diary.
Use abbreviations in writing notes.
Rewrite the points you are hearing.
Identify the key points and main ideas of the topics and write them down in your notes.
When your lecture gets over, read through your notes immediately after it, review and revise them. After doing so, write down a summary report of the present topic and mention all the key points. With regular practice, you can master effective note-taking skills. Students should take time to review the information they get in the lectures.
It is difficult for them to remember all this information without the help of effective notes. And only the best strategies can make the notes effective. It is a useful method for students to learn to pay attention and focus in class.
The strategies mentioned in this article are the best that can help you take effective notes while studying in class.