Note taking in school is of paramount importance. Really, it can make or break you. Some people don’t make regular practice of taking notes and I really think that can be a big mistake and the power of note taking is often underestimated. It has so many benefits and is such an effective way to study and review what you’ve learned. And if you’ve done a good job of taking your notes they can be a fantastic way to refresh your knowledge long after you’ve passed the subject. Here are some general guidelines for taking A1 notes. Most people have lecture notes or PowerPoint slides available for classes, but there is no replacement for going to class and sitting there to hear what your teacher has to say. I can’t count how many times something showed up on a test that was no where to be found in given notes or the book. 5 tips for Rapid Note Taking, keep reading!
1. Be proactive. Don’t go running out of paper, or only having one pen that happens to run out of ink. Don’t let yourself not be prepared to highlight something important. Know you are taking notes and have what you need.
2. Create/use short hand. Where you can, condense the material by using a short hand you know or of your own creation. So long as you can read it days from now and still have it make sense, make your notes as concise as possible. This can be especially useful when you’re taking notes in class. I know in the medical profession there is an abundance of short hand language that is universally understood by everyone. Put it to use in your note taking. And if you’re in a subject without a language of its own, make up your own with symbols and abbreviations. Keep a legend of the symbols handy in case you make up something new, wouldn’t want to forget what it means!
3. Hone your listening skills. Put your effort into listening carefully to the lecture. This is a skill, and it takes practice. You have to work at it. But if you get good at it, this skill is transferable way beyond school. Actually focus on listening and be conscious about what you are doing. You don’t have to write everything verbatim. Listen for clues on importance like emphasis and repetition
4. Write down questions for later. Anything you don’t quite understand, just make a note of it where you think it will fit and look it up, or ask your professor later.
5. Sit close to the front of the class. Less distraction is up there and it really forces you to pay attention. Same idea goes for using a computer to take your notes. It’s a bit of a temptation to have Facebook open on the side. Don’t let it happen, get rid of distractions!