How to be an organized note-taker

29 Nov, 2021

Have you ever found yourself wishing you could take better or more effective notes? The truth is anyone can take reliable and organized notes with the help of a few strategies. Note-taking allows you to excel in all your schoolwork. Here are some tips on how to take good notes.

Preparing to take good notes in class

Preparation is the key to taking good notes in class. These steps will help you prepare before class even begins

  •  Preview your lecture notes before class begins. Previewing allows you to identify the main points and correlate them with class content.
  •  Examine your course syllabus to orient yourself to the class topic and determine what's important to focus on.
  •  Keep organized to help you find information easily. Title your page with the class name and date. Arrange notebooks or notebook sections by class and in chronological order.

Taking notes during class

  • Don’t overwrite

Note-taking is all about summarizing information in a different, short form for later use. If you try to write down every word of a lecture or book, then you will quickly become lost and not be able to remember what was being said. Focus on the main points, rather than copying down every word the professor says. It is a good idea to keep an eye out for key terms that are repeated frequently. If you have more time after class, you can review the information you wrote down.

  •  Ask.

If you miss something, don't hesitate to ask your teacher to repeat it. There is no shame in asking for clarification. Chances are that your peers will also be relieved to hear it again. If you don't feel comfortable asking in class, you can go to office hours.

  •  Compare.

Reviewing what you've put down with a classmate can strengthen what you're learning. It can also help you remember information when the test comes and allow you to identify any mistakes you’ve made or feelings of confusion.

  • Copy

The best use for your notes is not to just take them and ignore them. Read them over a short time later and perhaps rewrite them again, more neatly or in a different order, depending on how or why you want to utilize them. Learning this way allows you to apply the information actively, enabling it to stay in your memory for longer.

  •  Be consistent

If you are listening to an hour-long lecture, don’t try to sit in a place where distractions are limited. Pace yourself and gather information consistently throughout the lecture to keep organized. Attend class regularly to avoid missing out on any important notes.

  • Improve your handwriting

Don't forget to check that your handwriting has become unreadable during your notetaking. Keep writing or typing clearly so you can refer to it later.

By taking notes, you give your brain a chance to absorb and retain the information you're learning. Not only will you do better on tests, but it’s also a nice confidence boost when you can remember the material during study sessions.

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