Taking notes during course lectures can be tough. With all of the information that is being communicated to you, it can be hard to know the best way to take notes to capture the information. Thankfully, we can provide you with some general advice on how to effectively take notes that will help you retain information and review more efficiently when studying later for exams and more.

1. Write, Don’t Type

Handwritten notes have been shown to be more effective when it comes to the retention and recall of information. Even though typing a computer-generated note can be faster, a handwritten note will assist you in recalling important information when you’re preparing for a test.

2. Come to Class Prepared

Use a three-ring binder or spiral notebook to take written notes. A binder is a great option because pages can be easily removed for review. Also, you can insert handouts as references. Bring highlighters to class to highlight important material that you write down. Read assigned material and prior class notes before each class. Make sure you understand all of your previous notes, including vocabulary and concepts. If not, ask questions during class.

3. Improve your Listening Skills

Approach lectures in class with an open mind that is eager to learn, so you stay engaged. Make an effort to pay attention and bring your focus back to the lecture if you notice you are having trouble paying attention.

4. Develop a Note Taking Strategy that is Most Helpful to You

Be sure to date pages according to the lectures. Leave blank spaces, so you can fill in additional information or clarification later. Paraphrase your notes and make them as brief as possible. This will help you put the material in your own words. Develop abbreviations and symbols you can understand to make your notes more concise.

5. Evaluate and Pay Close Attention to the Content of the Lectures

Include details, facts, explanations, or examples of the main points. Write definitions out word for word. Jot down lists that are discussed in class. Make note of material that is written on the board or posted on the screen. Write down information that is repeated or spelled out.

6. Look Over and Make Revisions to your Notes

It is highly important to look over your notes within 24 hours of writing them down. Edit writing that is illegible, incorrectly written, or doesn’t make sense. Edit with a different colored pen, so you can identify what you added in at a later point. Make a notation on the side of keywords and phrases. Identify and highlight anything you don’t understand, so you can get clarification while you are in class. Compare your notes with the textbook or other class materials to fill in important missing information.

With these tips, we encourage you to find a system of note-taking that will help you to retain the information and study effectively. Learn more about the programs CHCP has to offer.