There are many good techniques for taking notes. Some are very familiar, some are very unusual. All of them work. The trick is to find the one that works best for you.
Taking notes in class is a way to remember the points in the lecture the teacher emphasized and therefore considered important. These are the points you will probably be tested on.
Taking notes should be an active process that involves your complete attention both mental and physical. Whether you use mind-mapping, the Cornell method, or index cards you are creating memory traces in your brain that help you learn.
Here are some tips for taking good notes no matter what method you use.
- Take notes when it is important to remember what the teacher is saying.
That is, what does the teacher want from you?
- Read the assignment BEFORE you come to class.
Teachers do actually relate the lecture material to what's in the book.
- Make your notes selective.
Don't write everything down, but don't trust your memory either.
And... if the teacher says something will be on the test...write it down.
- Make a brief summary at the end of a lecture.
Ask yourself, what did we talk about today? Was it new or related to other material that's been covered?
- Experiment with different ways of taking notes.
Try matching your note taking style with the type of class.. or see if changing
your style improves your ability to remember the material.
- Don't fall for note taking myths. These myths include:
writing down everything the teacher says; outlining is the most effective way of taking
notes; good listening should be enough; lecture material will be covered in the book so
there's no need to take notes. All of these myths will get you into hot water when it
comes time to study for a test.
Follow the links provided in the table on the right to look at the different types of note taking. These are not the only ones. But one of them or an adaptation of one may work for you.