Taking notes in class is an essential part of the learning process. Effective note-taking helps students retain information, stay organized, and prepare for exams. However, it can be challenging to know how to take notes that are both comprehensive and effective. Let’s explore the best ways on how to take effective notes in class, with this article summarizing some of the best strategies mentioned in LSE’s “10 Tips on note-taking during lectures” and Post University Blog’s “Notetaking Hacks: Supercharge Your College Experience with These Notetaking Tips”.
1 Sit at the front of the class.
Although many students avoid sitting at the front of the class due to feeling exposed or anxious about being caught not paying attention, it is actually the best place to stay attentive and improve note-taking skills. Think of it this way- you will be motivated to constantly pay attention to what the lecturer or teacher is talking about clearly with no distractions coming your way!
2 Pay attention in class.
Yes, the first tip’s goal was inevitably to reach this conclusion that paying attention is the most crucial step of attending lectures. It is very easy to daydream while you hear a monotonous voice talking continuously and bam! When you realize that you need to snap out of it, you have already missed an important point, or even worse- you were asked to answer a question and all you could respond with was an awkward silence lingering in the air. To beat this, it is important to get adequate amount of sleep and rest before coming for class.
3 Use abbreviations and shortened text.
Often, we think of note-taking as jotting down every single point that the teacher makes, but that instead goes in vain as you are just hearing the words spoken but actually listening to them. If you write down every single word as the lecturer narrates, at the end of which if you have understood nothing, then this was not a helpful exercise to begin with. Focus on keeping your notes shortened as summaries of what were the most important ideas shared. It can be greatly beneficial to adopt abbreviations (ones we mostly use on social media) in our note-taking as it will help us match the speed and still make sense.
4 Write neatly.
No one expects you to write your notes in calligraphy or with tens of different colors highlighting every section. But at the very least, you should aim to write neatly so that when you wish to revisit your notes, the content should be legible (easily readable) and this way you do not have to spend a good amount of time decoding your handwriting first; which resultingly interrupts your thought process as well.
5 Choose between digital and pen-and-paper note-taking.
While many of us can try our best to go with the fourth tip, in case of any injuries or unsuitable circumstances, we may not be able to write in a “neat” way. In this scenario, it is most convenient to use digital means such as laptops to write down our notes on. But conclusively, this is a subjective matter which depends on the student themselves. Choose a method which you are most comfortable working with!
6 get engaged in class!
The most effective form of learning is questioning. The moment we think we know everything; our brains automatically confuse us and make us believe that we do not need to know anything further. So question everything and make the most of it!