Some Excellent Note-taking Tips for Students

September 11, 2017
Note-taking is easier than writing your essay. But it is more complicated than simply listening to your professor or reading the assigned textbook chapters. So why should you bother?
The idea of note-taking benefits is based on the premise that a student cannot remember
every word the lecturer says, no matter how attentive he or she is. It can be helpful for you in the following ways:
  • Notes enhance understanding of the material forcing you to paraphrase it;
  • Reviewing information commits it to long-term memory;
  • It prepares you for constructing better arguments in your academic papers;
  • Reviewing the notes helps to score higher results on tests and exams.
So, the effective note-taking makes you a better learner. But how to create notes that work?
Good old paper and pen are best suited for that. Handwriting improves the retention of the
material. It is a slower way to transcribe information comparing to typing on a laptop. You
spot only the most important ideas, and concisely paraphrase the material.

Notes require efficient organization. There are a few ways you can do it. Consider 3 methods
represented by EssayService in the Ultimate Guide To Note-Taking - Infographic with
Cornell Notebook. To find the best one for your needs, you should try every of them.

1. The Cornell Method helps to record information without laborious recopying systematically . A student places the notes in the “main” section during the lecture and pulls the key points to the “cue” section after class.
2. Outlining organizes the information in a hierarchical, logical manner through the use of lists.
3. Mapping is a graphic representation of the content. It allows to take notes on topics
and subtopics in order.

To improve your note-taking skills, follow these guidelines:

1) Date and number the pages if you write on the loose leaf paper;
2) Don’t try to write down every single word the professor says. Define the main
information:
  • Listen for signals. Be ready to write down when the lecturer says something like “The first/next/another point I want to discuss …”;
  • Pay attention to any emphasized or repeated information. Write down the listed information, which a speaker presents as two types of, three reasons, four features, etc;
  • Copy down everything your professor puts on the board;
3) Write down the professor’s summary of the lecture;
4) Use note-taking shorthand to reduce information:
  • a) Whenever possible, use phrases instead of complete sentences, and words instead
  • of phrases;
  • b) Use abbreviations or symbols to substitute recurring words. However, write enough
  • so you could easily read the notes later;
5) Formulas, definitions, citations, and specific facts must be recorded word-for- word;
6) Use visuals and diagrams, where necessary, to illustrate concepts;
7) Leave spaces for missed points. Fill in the gaps later;
8) Mark the key concepts and ideas;
9) Make sure your writing is legible. Read the notes while still fresh in order to clarify
indecipherable parts.

Use the precise notes for revision when writing your essays, preparing for different
assignments, and studying for exams. Get practice in order to become an efficient note-taker!

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