March 6th, 2008 Jamie
Note-taking is one of those critical skills most people don’t really learn in high school. Here are a few basic tips that will help you get a handle on the note-taking process–and help you out when its time to cram later!
Class, Date and Time.
You might think writing the class/date/time at the top of your notes is a waste of time, but if your notes get disorganized, it is your best way to figure out which notes belong to which lecture-you can just compare the date to your syllabus.
Lecture Number & Title.
Especially helpful for profs whose lectures spill over into the next time class meets. Track the lecture number and title (especially if your professor changes lectures midway through class) so you can refer to the right sections of the book for backup.
Note to Self.
I am a big believer in the “note-to-self” aspect of note-taking. Writing notes to your future self saves a lot of time and confusion, and can help you keep from missing out on (or forgetting!) important information. Make sure you mark the following things down for your future self to review:
- “Missed 1st 20 min of Lecture.” Mark down if you doze off mid-lecture, come in late, or leave early so you can borrow a friend’s notes & catch up later. I’ve missed quite a few test questions because of incomplete notes.
- “Not sure what he said here. Sounded like Golgi?” If you didn’t understand something the professor said, let yourself know so you can look it up/check with a classmate later.
- “***This WILL BE ON TEST***” If your prof gives you a heads up that something will be on the test, write it down!!! It’s like a free answer!
- “See Diagram 9B, pg. 618″ Instead of trying to copy down diagrams that are already in your book, just note the page number at the relevant point in your notes. If it’s helpful, copy it down later.
So basic, but numbering the corners of your pages is a lifesaver when you’ve been shuffling papers around during hours of studying (or if your roommate turns a fan on during a study session).
Entry Filed under: academics