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Tips for College Students Taking Notes

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NOTE-TAKING ADVICE FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS To be completely honest, when it comes to giving college students advice on taking notes, I’m entirely traditional.
Why do I say that? It basically implies that you won’t be taking notes for your lessons and studying entirely on a computer (sorry!).
But rest assured, I have good reasons (and so does science ).
In fact, my article, “Best Study Tips for College Students,” has much more information on the subject.

I am aware that if you frequently use technology to do tasks, some of these note-taking suggestions can be difficult for you to implement. I understand that you think handwriting things down takes too much time because typing is quicker. But do yourself a favor and give them a try if you want to see results and improve your memory recall!

These college student note taking tips will improve your memory and increase your productivity while studying. #college #education

PLAN OUT YOUR FORMATTING FIRST. I really believe that you need to have some sort of structure to your note-taking in order for it to be productive so that you can comprehend and follow your notes when you go back to them.

Personally, I organized my notes using symbols like Roman numerals, bullets, and stars. On a computer, they would appear something like this:
Understanding the Psychology of History, Chapter 1
Psychology Theories, Part I

Theorists Theories of Sigmund Freud Social Development You’ll see that I get off on a fairly broad note. My Roman number headers usually correspond to distinct sections of a textbook.

Here is a handwritten illustration:

Note Taking Tips for College Students - Did you know that the way you write notes and study for exams plays a big factor in your grades? Check out this easy-to-follow format, plus tips for college success!

You’ll see that I list the page where I can find that specific section in the left column (this is super helpful for studying, especially if you are reading a really long and dense chapter).

In order for me to recognize my definitions as definitions, I additionally emphasize them. Yes, I do record the WHOLE definition. I didn’t throughout my first semester of college, but I later discovered that many professors just provide you a definition’s main points on tests as a point of reference. Therefore, if you don’t know everything, you’re kind of screwed.

Although this particular example comes from a reading study session, the same pattern may be used if you are listening to a lecture!

TYPE YOUR TERMS IN. Make sure you write the notes in a fashion that makes sense to you, aside from the headers and definitions. In other words, avoid simply copying verbatim from the book or the slides used in class. Instead, make a note of the words or phrases that were most helpful in helping you comprehend it. You’ll have a lot more success remembering and comprehending something if you can read and paraphrase a paragraph or lesson in your own words.

Personally, after reading a paragraph, I would jot down my opinions and important information. These served as my, shall we say, “cues.” There are times when you might want to write a sentence or just a few words. Discover the strategy that works best for you by experimenting with a few different ones.

If there is a time constraint, connect ideas afterwards. We’ve all probably encountered at least one lecturer whose pace of delivery was so rapid that you struggled to keep up with both their voice and your note-taking system during a lecture (or slides). If this happens to you, don’t worry about formatting; just scribble down as much information as you can (especially anything they mention will be on the test). You want to at least put the concepts down on paper so that you may review your notes and obtain a reminder of what was covered in class.

Take out a fresh sheet of paper and arrange everything as you would if you actually had the opportunity to format your notes during class when you do finally have a moment to go through your notes. For me, that meant placing my overarching concepts at the top and my more specific thoughts in bullet form below.

Write down any important terms you hear during the lecture and check them up when you have a chance to examine your notes, according to this expert note-taking tip for college students. Then, on your new notes (which you are now writing in an ordered fashion), include the complete definition.

REMEMBER THE THINGS YOU KNOW WILL BE ON YOUR TEST AND NOTE THEM. Go over your notes and add a star or symbol next to any places where you’ve previously written on a topic or term that you know will be on a test (your professor likely made strong inferences about it). Start a new page that is only dedicated to the material you need to study for the test if you have numerous places in your notes where these terms or concepts are mentioned.

Related: Studying for College Exams: Practical Advice

I would thus make sure to read over all of my notes and highlight any places where I had information on these ideas if I knew that psychological theories will be on my test. The knowledge would then be transferred (by penning it, as it improves memory recall) to a blank page that is specially designated for material I know I need to study for the exam. Is that clear?

Note Taking Tips for College Students - Did you know that the way you write notes and study for exams plays a big factor in your grades? Check out this easy-to-follow format, plus tips for college success!

ADDITIONAL NOTE-TAKING ADVICE FOR STUDENTS IN COLLEGE Depending on your learning style, you can be a visual learner who prefers images to purely written text. If so, you might want to experiment with highlighters and color-coding your sections according to the type of note you’ve made (i.e. section, definition, must study, etc.).

You might also think about developing a mind map of your concepts or making graphs to display data. These can be especially beneficial if you are having trouble putting your thoughts in order and connecting disparate ideas. The graphs are excellent for making comparisons, identifying long-term patterns, and showing development.

Again, you are the expert on your own abilities. The best note-taking advice I can give you is to identify what works for you and to not rely just on typing to do your task. Remember, writing things down by hand increases your likelihood of remembering them, according to science. Yes, it will take a bit longer, but it can mean the difference between getting an A or a B in your class.

Questions or remarks? Please share them with me!
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