Make notes rather than take notes

Many students sit in class and copy down what is said without ever engaging their brain.  Note making is an active and interactive process that takes what the lecturer is saying and creates a set of information that will allow you to learn.  No two people's notes will look exactly the same so find a format that works for you.

Hints and Tips

  1. Go to class.  There is no substitute for getting the information first hand and it's impossible to make notes that work for you without being there yourself.  Don't trust other people to get the information for you.
  2. Read the course syllabus.  This is your outline for the course.  It tells you what the professor plans to accomplish as well as important information about assignments, tests and exams.
  3. Create a note taking template.  Find a style of note taking that works for you.  Meet with the student development coordinator if you want to learn more about some established styles.  Also use common abbreviations or develop symbols that you understand to make your note making more effective.
  4. Review, review, review.  Try to find at least 30 minutes to review your notes on the same day as your class or as soon as possible the next day.  Look for anything you didn't fully understand so that you can follow up with the instructor.  Fill in any gaps in your notes. 
  5. Make notes while you read.  Many students take notes during class but fail to do the same while completing assigned readings.  By creating notes in a similar format to those taken during class you can combine the sets of notes to begin a set of study notes.  Wouldn't you rather review reading notes rather than the entire text book when it comes time to write the exam?