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How to Make Notes for College Lecture

One of the basic studying techniques is note taking. A good note taking system helps in better information retention and allows you to focus on areas that require most of your attention. Your listening skills, comprehension, and organizational skills are also enhanced when you have better note-taking techniques. Thus, a lot of experts recommend that you write down your lectures if you wish to have better grades in college. 

Every student should make note-taking a habit. It extends one’s attention span and teaches how to prioritize. Note taking is a good practice that helps lessen extensive re-reading and reviews. It serves as a guide on the topics and ideas that you should pay more attention to as you study. 

Effective Note-Taking Tips for College Students

Below are a few techniques that you can use if you are not fond of note-taking but would like a drastic change in your academic life. Improve your note-taking skills by following these tips.

Review Reading Materials Before Going to Class

It is a good practice to read or at least scan your lessons in advance before going to class. Doing so helps you identify the main ideas and concepts that you should focus on during class. You can take down notes on the ideas that require more data or verifications and ask them later during class. It also helps you identify terms and keywords that you may request your professor to elaborate on.

Reading ahead of the class makes it easier to find the information that you will need later on. You can easily organize your thoughts and questions helping you perform better during class discussions. Reading ahead prepares you for the new ideas that you will learn and take note of in class.

Create an Outline and Rewrite Whenever Possible 

Note taking is not only a tool for studying. It is a good practice that will help you organize your thoughts and ideas. Good note taking makes complicated ideas simple and easy to understand. The best way to improve your note taking skills is by creating an outline.

If you are taking notes by hand, leave enough space to have plenty of room for sub-points. It is also a good practice to rearrange your notes later to avoid being overwhelmed with information. Use your notes as a test to determine how much information you have absorbed during your lectures by creating a summary, without going through your books or syllabus.

Determine Important Notes to Write Down

You do not have to take down notes verbatim. It will defeat the purpose of identifying the key points and ideas in a lecture. You should focus on keywords and definitions instead. Keywords are usually the words that are constantly being repeated and emphasized in the lecture. You should take down these items together with the key concepts that revolve around them.

Final remarks and summaries are also important points of a lecture. If possible, you can record a video or audio of your lecture to be able to review it later on. Listening to a lecture once does not guarantee that you can create complete or comprehensive notes about the topic. A recorded audio or video can be paused and rewinded to help you create a more complete note that you can later use for reviewing or for preparing for an examination.

Finding The Perfect Note Format

There are plenty of formatting types that can be used when taking down notes. The most common one is the outline, which we already discussed briefly above. An outline makes it easier to organize ideas based on main points, with plenty of room where you can include details and examples. However, you may want to explore other note formatting types that may suit your needs or studying techniques.

A few of the note formats you can consider includes the flowchart or concept map note, the charting method or the sentence method. A flow chart includes visuals that are perfect for taking down notes that require steps. The charting method is a good format that can be used when you have several data and facts to remember. Meanwhile, the sentence method for taking down notes is perfect for jotting down information and details.

Ultimately, note-taking is a studying technique that can be easily personalized, depending on the needs of a student. It is a skill that can be improved through day to day experiences. Take notes often to be able to find the best format. You can even practice it even outside of your classroom and see the difference it can make to your life. 

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