Effective note taking
If you take notes in an unorganized way and if they are not very clear at first sight, then you will not benefit much from them. This has not to do with the way you write, but with the way you structure your notes. Taking notes in an effective way is the best way to remember what has been lectured in a class. Therefore, well written notes help you to remember easily the concepts, to create a learning skill, and understand better the topics discussed in the class. So, taking notes in the right way helps in increasing your performance at school or work.
Before you attend a class, it would be better to familiarize with the topic that will be discussed in class later. Based on a research in 2004, law students that have read a legal case before the class started, have shown a higher level of understanding the learning materials. Also, before you go to class, you should take all the necessary things, like a pen, a notebook, the book etc.
Below you will find some methods to help you take effective notes:
The summary method
A summary is the easiest form to take notes. While you write, choose only the keywords mentioned in the class. Below those words write something about the topic lectures by the teacher. This is a very simple method to take notes, it will help you to pay more attention to the things discussed in class. However, in order to remember easier the things you write, try to test yourself in what you have learned at the moment, instead of reading the notes repeatedly.
The Cornell method
In this method you divide the notebook page into three parts:
- Use the first part to take notes in class;
- Use the second part to write things that have caught your attention, or the questions you might have for a certain topic;
- The meaning: in this part, write what you have remembered from the class. While you take notes, try to illustrate the page with diagrams, references or whatever thing that helps you to remember better.
The mind map
The mind map is a very good method to take notes on different subjects such as biology, history, philosophy, where the topics are a bit more complex. For example, if we talk about World War II, you can write the dates, below them write the facts about the things that have happened during those years etc.
This method of taking notes is very easy. If your teacher prepares a PowerPoint document for the lecture, print it if he gives you access in that document. Your teacher has written there the main points of the lecture and all that’s left to you is to take additional notes if needed. You can review those slides later and remember what was discussed in class.
The visual method in your journal
If you like to illustrate, or simply you are a person that likes to learn in a visual way, then this method is the right for you. Taking notes on your journal can be an effective way to understand the lectures. However, this method has some disadvantages. You might find it difficult to write fast. The purpose of taking notes on a journal is to keep it organized and attractive to look at it, which is difficult to be kept that way in case you write fast. The solution to this problem is to find other ways to take notes, then move them on your journal, this may help like revising.
Should you use your laptop to take notes?
A study in 2014 shows that students who took notes on a laptop, have tendencies to only describe what the teacher has said during lectures. These students have had lower performances on exams, compared to those who took notes with other methods. So, using laptops is not the best solution for taking notes.