While it’s essential that you attend class, it is impossible to retain all of the information you’ve just heard without taking notes. Even if you do take notes, if they aren’t done effectively, they will leave huge gaps in information and not be as helpful as they otherwise could be. Below, our Nerdify reviews experts have tips for taking the best notes to set you up for success.
1. Record Your Lectures
Whether you are attending class in person or online, a great idea is to use your phone or laptop to record the audio of your lectures, say Reddit users. That way, says Reddit, if you are having trouble writing down all the notes you’ll need, you can always refer to the audio recording to fill in the gaps. An additional tip is to take the audio from your lecture and use another device’s speech-to-text function that should create a word-for-word transcription of your lecture. Even if this does create a perfect transcription, this method doesn’t replace traditional note-taking. Rather, it is a supplemental tool to boost the effectiveness of the notes you’ve already taken and can help those that struggle with auditory processing.
2. Develop Your Own Shorthand
Though it’s not as popular today, if you’ve gotten a prescription note from a doctor and seen what looks like scribbles written down instead of words, then you’ve encountered shorthand. While it’s illegible to those who don’t know it, if you make your own alphabet or symbols to shorten words, it can significantly increase your writing speed, say Nerdify reviews experts. This is great for those that normally get left behind writing down what a quick-talking professor says, as, with a form of shorthand, you’d be able to keep up with lectures word-for-word if you wish. That’s not to say that you do need to copy lessons exactly, though.
3. Learn What is Helpful to Note
The amount and depth of notes you’ll write will depend on the type of class you’re taking. For example, if you’re taking a philosophy or other discussion-based class, it’s not as essential to make a complete transcript of the topics covered. Rather, it’s best to just write down the overall themes covered in that discussion, as it can inform your future classwork, essays, or exams. On the other hand, if you are in a memorization-focused class, such as a biology course, you’ll need to take much more detailed notes. Tests for biology and the like are very specific and primarily focused on examining your ability to retain information on the definitions of terminology or descriptions of scientific processes. Therefore, our Nerdify reviews team recommends that if you are struggling to keep up, you should at least write down each of the terms mentioned by your professors. That way, you can refer to your textbook for any gaps of information needing to be filled.
4. Write Your Notes on Paper
Most students today wouldn’t think twice about writing notes on their laptops, but there are benefits to recording them on old-fashioned pen and paper. For one, it helps avoid distractions that might arise from laptop notifications or social media scrolling. Our Nerdify mates, as well as scientists, have shown that peoples’ brains work harder in writing notes by hand, thus inscribing the written information further in their minds.
5. Retype Your Notes on the Computer
After you’ve written your notes on paper during your class, an excellent way to further memorize your notes is to go back and type what you’ve written. Believe it or not, there are Reddit forums discussing that having poor handwriting is actually an advantage in this scenario. Since you’ll have to use more brain power to decipher what your notes mean, your mind will deem that information as more important and further encode it. Not only is typing notes great for organization, but it is a wonderful backup option in case you lose the paper copy of your notes.
6. Use the Cornell Method
A way to make your notes more interactive than just creating a transcript of lectures is to use the Cornell Method, or one similar to it. The Cornell method involves dividing your page into three sections, with a column on the left side, and a row on the bottom. During class, you just take notes like normal in the main section of the page. After class, you fill out the columns and rows. In the column on the left, you will jot down the key terms and phrases used in class so you can easily find their definitions later. At the bottom row of the page, you’ll write a summary of your notes from that day. This method makes you reflect on what you’ve just learned, rooting it further in your mind, and makes it easier for you to find information later when studying for exams.