Taking notes in college is something of an art. As handy as it would be to be able to jot each word of every lecture down into your notebook, it’s simply not plausible, and that’s why it’s important to develop a high-speed note-taking method that helps you make the most of each class session. Here, we’ll help you get the job done with four ways to hone your note-taking technique.
- Focus on key concepts.
During a lecture, the odds are good that your professor will have a lot to say. And though it’s nearly all likely to be important on some level, you won’t be able to record everything if you’re taking notes by hand. Make sure you’re jotting down the key concepts of the lecture, and provide context as you’re able. For help determining which contextual details might be the most important, simply note which ideas your professor emphasizes the most. Unable to get everything on paper? You can always ask questions in person after class, during office hours or even via email.
- Create your own shorthand glossary.
Looking to slash the time it takes to write? Consider replacing long words with shorter abbreviations. These can range from common words – changing “because” to “b/c,” for example – to words that are more specific to your major, such as using “mgmt” in place of “management.” Building a simple glossary for these changes as you go can help you decipher what you wrote after the fact.
- Take advantage of teacher-provided materials.
Nowadays, many professors allow students to access lecture notes online. Consider printing these notes out and bringing them along, as having all of the materials will reduce the amount of information you’ll have to write down on your own. Plus, you can jot additional notes right onto the papers you printed to clarify those lecture materials.
- Use your computer.
If you’re able to use your computer for taking notes in college, it might be the best option – especially for lecture-heavy courses – because it’s generally faster than writing with a pen or pencil. Plus, word processors are loaded with features that can help you navigate your notes, including bulleted list capabilities, page numbers and much more.
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