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How to Take Notes: 10 Tips College Students Should Know 2022- Perfect Guide

College is a time of learning and growth. One excellent skill if you want to excel in college, is the skill how to take notes for your classes. One essential tool for success is an excellent set of notes. Notes can help you review for exams, organize your thoughts, and keep track of what you’ve learned in class.

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But taking great notes isn’t as easy as it sounds. Finding the right system that works for you can be tricky and challenging to stick with over time. These ten tips will give you a guideline on the best way to take notes, as well as will help you take good notes as a college student.

  1. Develop A System
  2. Active Pre-Reading
  3. Note-taking during lectures
  4. Note-taking during discussions
  5. Note-taking for online classes
  6. Taking notes from a textbook
  7. Drawing and Doodling
  8. Using abbreviations and symbols
  9. Reviewing and Editing Your Notes
  10. Organizing Your Notes

1. Develop a system

The key to effective note-taking involves developing a system. Your brain naturally follows the routine you set. Some people prefer to take complete notes, while others like to highlight key points and then summarize them later.

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Since there’s no perfect way to take notes, you might have to experiment until you find something that suits your needs. Whatever works for you is fine, as long as you can understand and use your notes later.

2. Active pre-reading

The best way to take notes involves reading the material ahead of time. Because you have an idea of the topic in discussion, it’s easier to understand when it comes time to take notes in class. You’ll already have a good idea of what’s being discussed.

As you go through your coursework before class, highlight areas you think will be discussed in class. You can quickly flip back to those areas when your professor discusses them. If you don’t have time to read ahead of time, try reading a chapter or two the night before class.

It would be best if you also jot down anything that doesn’t make sense to you as you’re reading. Write down questions you want to ask in class to get clarification. By doing this active pre-reading, you’ll be able to get more out of your classes and improve your grades.

3. Note-taking during lectures

It is crucial to take good notes during lectures that will help you later on when trying to review for exams. To help you find the best way to take lecture notes during classes, here are some pointers:

  • Sit near the front. This way, you can see and hear better and are less likely to get distracted.
  • Take brief notes on each point the professor makes. Use shorthand – don’t try to write down every word. Use abbreviations and acronyms to save time and space when taking notes.
  • Use a notebook with dividers or tabs to easily find and reference your notes later.
  • If you’re taking notes on a laptop, make sure to type up your notes after class, so they’re in an easily-readable format.
  • Draw diagrams and charts to help you visualize concepts the professor is discussing.
  • Proofread your notes for mistakes and make necessary adjustments.
  • Write down any questions about the lecture, and consult during office hours or after class to get clarification.

how to take notes

4. Note-taking during discussions

When you’re in a discussion-based setting, make a point to listen actively. The most effective note-taking method here is paraphrasing what the speaker is saying in your own words. This helps you understand the material better and will also help you when it comes time to study.

Note-taking during discussions can be tricky, but with practice, you’ll get the hang of it. Try to stay organized and focused. And above all, don’t be afraid to ask questions.

5. Note-taking for online classes

The best way to take notes for online classes is via a reliable note-taking tool. There are many great options, such as Evernote, OneNote, and Google Keep.

Take plenty of notes during the video or lecture by writing down key points and keywords. You’ll only frustrate yourself and end up with a lot of clutter in your notes if you try to write down everything. Remember to use different colors and fonts to help organize your notes. This will make them easier to read and understand.

6. Taking notes from a textbook

Note-taking from textbooks can be quite a challenge. They tend to be dense, filled with jargon, and riddled with essential details you don’t want to forget. But with some preparation, you can make taking notes from textbooks a breeze.

The best way to take notes from a textbook is by pre-reading the chapter or section on which you’ll be taking notes before you start taking notes. This will give you a better understanding of the material and help you focus on the most important points.

7. Drawing and doodling

Some people like to write everything down by hand, while others prefer to type out their notes on a computer. But there’s one method that often gets overlooked: drawing and doodling.

Believe it or not, drawing is one of the best ways to take notes. It allows you to visually represent ideas and concepts, making them easier to remember. And if you’re someone who struggles to stay focused while listening to lectures, doodling can help keep you engaged.

8. Using abbreviations and symbols

Another efficient way how to take notes in college is by using abbreviations and symbols. Abbreviations and symbols save you a lot of time and hassle when taking notes. You can write a definition quickly without spelling out the entire word. Similarly, symbols can be used to represent complex ideas or concepts in a simple way. This can be helpful when trying to take notes on a lecture or from an article.

9. Reviewing and editing your notes

This is a significant step, as it will help you remember the information you studied and ensure your notes are accurate. Here are a few tips for reviewing and editing your notes:

  • Read through your notes once, taking a few minutes to recap the main points and correct spelling and grammar mistakes.
  • Highlight or underline important points.
  • Add any additional information you remember from your reading.
  • Erase any irrelevant or unnecessary information.

10. Organizing your notes

It would be best if you organized your notes in a way that makes sense to you. There are all sorts of ways to do it. Some people prefer to keep all their notes together in one place, while others like to categorize them by subject. So find a method that works best for you and stick with it. That way, you’ll always know where to find your notes when needed.

Get the most out of your notes

Good notes help you retain information and can come in handy when preparing for exams. Finding the best note-taking method takes practice and a lot of trial and error. Follow these tips, and you’ll be able to take practical notes no matter what subject you’re studying or what type of class you’re in.

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