Monday, March 06, 2006

Note Taking Tips (in class)

If the professor does not speak terribly quickly, try to listen to what he/she says first, then write it down.

This way you can actually learn what you are writing so you can remember it then, or learn it more easily later.

Even if you think you have a fair understanding of a point that was just mentioned, write it down (unless it’s ridiculously obvious).

This has happened to me a million times: I don’t write down an “obvious” point, then when I look back to my notes I can’t figure out what the next points mean or how they relate to each other. It may seem easy to remember at the time, but you just heard it, of course you’re going to remember it, it was one second ago! Later is a different story.

Preview the material.

Oh come on, don’t make that face. I know this can be a tough one, but it can really help ease you into the material. You don’t have to know everything before the lecture starts, even a little bit helps. If a broad concept is already familiar, then learning the details becomes a lot easier and faster.

Write with a multi-coloured pen.

I like my 4-Color Bic pen a lot. I like to write side-notes or really important points in different colours. If I see red, I’m going to pay attention! If I see green, usually I’ve added in some relvant, but nonessential, information. As a science student, sometimes drawing chemical reactions in one colour can get a little confusing. However with blue arrows, red dots, marshmallow hearts and green clovers, the chemistry is easy.

Use symbols ** ## $$

Although the multi-coloured pen is not for everyone, I highly highly recommend using at least one symbol for emphasis in your notes. There are always some facts that are more important than others. Then there are those points that all existence depends on. If I see this:


I better remember that blood is slightly basic.

Create some subheadings.

If you don’t have a lecture outline or you're writing your own notes, organization is key. It will help you put your knowledge into groups, which is far easier to understand/learn than a big mess of facts.

Keep distractions to a minimum.

I don’t see how some people expect to learn while talking or even eating. These are taking your attention away from listening and writing; those are 2 of your biggest ways to learn. I realize keeping up with your friends is important, but there’s always time after class, in the evening, the weekend, etc. Try to explain to your friends nicely that you’ll talk to them afterwards.

As well, talking can be pretty distracting to those around you. I think I have a bit of a hearing problem, so even mid-volume speech can really throw me off. Oh, by the way, no one else cares what you did (or even whom you did) on the weekend, especially if you have a really nasal voice.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home