Every student knows that during the lecture you should make notes. But most of the time we don’t know how to do it correctly. Making notes is not just writing down every word or verbal shorthand. It is an integral part of studying process when you have to assimilate the lecture’s material quickly and write down the key ideas with the more convenient way for you. When you get ready for lecture, think of the best way to get as much information as possible. In this article we will tell you how improve your note taking and give some tips how to organize it.
- Get ready for the lecture
- Read all the material for the lecture and do some exercises. Teachers give you tasks not in vain. Look through all the material, because during the lecture it will be given with more details. If you get to know about the topic in general, it will be much easier for you to concentrate on the main ideas and points during the class. Also revise some notes from the previous lecture - it will refresh your memory.
- Consider all pros and cons of typing your notes
- Students are getting used to typing rather than writing by hand, but nevertheless you shouldn't dismiss the old checked "hand + paper" method. Some researches show that the students who write comprehend and remember lecture material better than those who prefer typing. If you type quicker than you write, you can mechanically start typing down everything instead of allocating the most essential. Therefore those who write are usually more focused on the heard.
- On the other hand, it is easier to format, edit, keep, send the typed lecture to classmates and even to read (without fear that you won't understand your own handwriting).
- There is an enormous amount of programs superstructures and other opportunities to make notes on the laptop. For example, the notebook mode in Microsoft Word; the program which allows to connect your notes to an audio recording; programs for the organization and combination of documents of various types and formats, for example, e-mail messages and PDF files; platforms for joint notes which will allow you and your friends to make entries in one document in real time (but the Internet is necessary for this purpose). These tools can significantly facilitate your life or, on the contrary, will distract your attention. Choose what way is most effective.
- Take a place in one of the first rows of the lecture hall or where the distracting factors will be reduced to the minimum.
- It will be easier for you to concentrate and make notes. If for this purpose it is necessary to come earlier then do it – you will get not only a good place, but also you will have time to look through the notes of your previous lecture. Find a place from which the lecturer is seen and heard better. You also have to see a board or the screen of a projector well. Come to lecture 15 min earlier in order to take the best place.
- Remember that you have to make notes, not to write down the whole lecture.
- In order to cope with a task better, you have to be the active listener, so not just to write everything that the lecturer says, but to understand material and to be able to highlight the main ideas.
- For example, instead of writing down every detail of foreign policy actions of John Kennedy, you list the key directions of his foreign policy and to accompany them with examples. So you will begin process of studying and understanding (the main idea of studying).
- Create your own style of notes.
- The method of shorthand may be quiet useful. This method will help you to write quicker that is essential for every student. Develop own set of reductions, abbreviations, symbols, badges and so on. Even if nobody will understand the meaning, it doesn’t matter - the main thing is that you understand it.
- Use reductions and pass insignificant words to write quicker. Write down only those words which are necessary for understanding the topic. In definitions pass the word "is" – just simply put a dash. Think out designations to summarize quicker. For example, draw arrow up or down instead of the words "increase" and "decrease" or designate relationships of cause and effect; use abbreviations for constantly used terms (for example, IO – the international relations, FA – the financial analysis).
- Paraphrase everything, except formulas and those definitions and the facts which you will need answer literally at the exam.
- Emphasize, circle, draw a star or highlight with a marker the main examples, definitions and other important parts of material. Develop your own system of codes to mark various types of information.
- Watch out your handwriting.
- Don’t write words too close to each other and make your letter readable.
Notes are the main source for your preparation for exams so use these tips and make your lecture notes as useful as possible. Good luck!