If you are or ever have been a college student, you know how difficult it can be to take notes in class. Sometimes the professor goes too fast, sometimes you’re too sleepy, and sometimes you’re just plain bored and would rather be feeding your Pinterest addiction. Well this semester, you are going to ROCK your note-taking. That is a FACT, my friend! So grab a strong cup of coffee and read on, because this is how you’re going to rock it:
1. Highlight your Notes & Textbooks
I know this seems obvious, but I see so many notebooks and textbooks with zero highlighting in it. Come on, people! Please do yourself a favor and highlight the important information and definitions. I promise you’ll thank yourself when you’re studying for those midterms and finals!
2. Print out Slideshows
Most of the professors I’ve had (especially in lectures) upload their PowerPoint notes online before class. If you know your professor does this, take the time to print out the notes before class. You’ll have less to write down, which means more time for your highlighting! Plus writing your notes on the lecture slides is a lot more efficient than reviewing the slides online later. The more you can keep your notes in one place, the easier studying will be.
Despite what your elementary teachers might have told you, it IS okay to doodle in class—as long as you’re still paying attention. In fact, as an artistic soul, doodling has been the only way I survived some of the classes I’ve taken. If you get bored during a lecture, refocus by creating doodles that are on topic (such as diagram drawings with labels, or drawing important things in big bubble letters). If you’re in a long lecture class with no breaks, I think it’s perfectly okay to give your mind a small break with off-topic doodles—as long as you don’t let yourself miss any important information and you’re able to refocus yourself. A quick doodle break is much better than letting your mind get distracted with social media!
4. Learn to take Cornell Notes
Cornell Notes are a type of note-taking where you set aside the margins of your page for questions over the material you’re learning. I like to make up the questions as I go so that when I study my notes later, I already have study questions to get me thinking. It really helps to cover up the notes and see if you can answer the questions before studying them, that way you get a good idea of what you already know as well as what you need to study.
5. Use Note-Taking Apps on your Phone, Tablet, or Laptop
If you prefer taking notes the new-school way (I’ve tried this many times, and I always, inevitably, end up on Pinterest), there are so many apps out there to assist you. From what I’ve seen, the apps that cost a little money are usually worth it in the long run (if you can keep yourself off Pinterest, that is). If you have a professor that goes super fast and doesn’t post their slideshows online before class, you could even use your phone, tablet, or laptop to record the lecture (audio or video) to watch later. There are note-taking apps that will record audio while allowing you to also take notes, but if you don’t want to deal with downloading new apps you could always use the recorder or camera that comes with your phone.
What are your note-taking tips? Please share with us!