Hello lovelies! Today I will be discussing some strategies you can use to take better notes in your college classes. During lectures, it is vital that you pay attention and take notes on the important information your professor shares (especially if there are not lecture slides distributed to the class ahead of time or afterwards!) so that when it comes time for exams, you can use your notes to study and get the grades you want to receive.

Start fresh

Each lecture should begin on a clean sheet of paper, and you should clearly title the sheet with the lecture number and the date. I also include what week we are in in the semester, as most of college is based off a weekly structure. It is far easier to go back and study if you can quickly identify what content you are looking at.

Brief notes are better

Don’t write down every single word the professor says – this is just a waste of space, and likely, is not manageable if your professor talks at a normal pace! Instead, write down key phrases, definitions, and dates that you think will be important for later or will show up on the exam. Make note of anything you are confused about or have more questions about so that you can look them up later or ask your professor about it after class or in office hours.

Establish habits

Create a system that works best for you – for example, highlighting vital information or using symbols to indicate importance – and stick with it. Keep a consistent formatting for every single class, so that you are never confused when you go back later to review the material.

Be legible!

I strongly encourage you to use paper/pencil to take notes in lecture. Time and time again, studies have shown that students understand and remember things better when they take hand-written notes. Be careful and write as legibly as you can so that it is readable for future studying!

Pay attention

The number one way to take better notes is to become better at paying attention during class! Don’t let distracting devices like your phone keep you from actually listening to the professor and actively engaging with the material. Whenever you are not writing things down, keep your eyes focused on your professor and listen to what he is saying. Do not get distracted!!!

For laptop notes

If you feel you must take notes on your laptop, only keep your note-taking application (like Word) open. Do not let yourself get distracted by Facebook, online shopping, cute pictures of puppies, etc etc. Stay focused and follow all of the same tips above – use a specific note system, properly format and title the notes/Word document so that you are always able to find what you are looking for.

After class

Get in the habit of giving yourself 5 minutes after class to read through your notes, noticing any confusing phrasing or questions that arise. Fix any mistakes or add any additional information you can think of during this time. Make sure you completely understand the notes you have taken right after class, so that you don’t have to struggle to figure them out a few weeks later when you are studying.

Those are all of the tips I have on how to take better notes in your college classes. I hope you have found this post helpful! As always, please share your comments below or with me on Twitter @CaseyDonart

xoxo Casey


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