4 Ways Writing in Your Notebook Helps You Take Better Notes

By Alicia Geigel on June 18, 2018

Let’s be real, taking notes in class is a struggle. Sometimes you have a professor that is as monotone as it gets, who writes two words on the board and rambles on for the rest of the period, and before you know it, you’re drooling a puddle in your notebook. On the other hand, you might have that caffeine-addicted, high-speed-rambling professor that talks at a rate no human should, making you not only anxious but also frustrated by the end of their lecture when you see you have nothing in your notebook because you just could not keep up. These experiences can make us all scarred regarding the task of taking notes, which can leave us proposing the question, “how can I take notes effectively while not driving myself crazy in the process?”

Part of the issue regarding taking notes in today’s day and age is deciding whether to either hand-write your notes or just type them out on a laptop/tablet. For one, taking down notes digitally on either a laptop or tablet can be more convenient in that you can write down virtually every piece of information given in the lecture. It’s a lot easier to keep up with that rambling professor when you have a keyboard in front of you and not just a pen and paper. Unfortunately, those are the facts – however, while taking notes digitally may be the easiest and most convenient in the moment, it may not be the best for us in the long run.

According to a study conducted by Pam A. Mueller and Daniel M. Oppenheimer, the researchers note, “When people type their notes, they have this tendency to try to take verbatim notes and write down as much of the lecture as they can. The students who were taking longhand notes in our studies were forced to be more selective — because you can’t write as fast as you can type. And that extra processing of the material that they were doing benefited them.”

Are you currently a student anxious about succeeding in classes next semester? Do you struggle with taking notes or are simply looking for some new techniques to help with your studies? If so, check out these few tricks for taking the best handwritten notes that will guarantee you success in any class you are taking!

classroom, chalkboard, podium, chairs, class

Image via Pixabay

1. Be Prepared for Class: After you figure out exactly how you want to take notes, you can prepare for your next class. Prepping for your next class by reading assigned materials and older notes help to brief you on any concepts or subject that you may either understand or be confused about immediately. For concepts you may be confused about, it’s helpful to jot those down so you know what words and phrases to particularly pay attention to in your next lecture in order to take more effective notes!

2. Don’t Try to Write Down Everything the Professor is Saying: One of the biggest mistakes students make (and I am guilty of it) is attempting to write or type down everything that the professor is saying because we have a fear of missing material they are going to say. Doing this can not only overwhelm you while you’re taking notes, but it can also make it hard for you to take coherent, clear notes.

According to Dustin Le of Edudemic.com, “Taking notes should be 75% listening and only 25% writing. When writing, notes should be short, and right to the point. Each sentence should be no more than 1-5 words long. This forces students to record only the critical information.”

girl, mug, pen, paper, writing, notes

Image via Pixabay

3. Try the Outline Method: There are plenty of fun varieties of ways to takes notes with colors, graphs, charts, doodles, etc. and I encourage you to go about it the way want to! One great way to take notes, however, is with the outline method.

The Outline Method is plain and simple in nature, and according to OxfordLearning.com, is best for easily creating study questions for review. This method uses large headers with key points or sub-points beneath them to detail and support each main idea. This is a great way to keep your concepts and their relative information organized so when it comes time to study later, you will have no problem!

4. Create Shortcuts: As stated earlier, it’s nearly impossible to write every word in the lecture in your notebook when handwriting class notes. To cut down words and free up more time to write down ideas and key phrases, create abbreviations or shortcuts for certain words! Doing this can help you write down more information quickly, making it easier to absorb as well!

In an article by Morgan Markowski of Herzing University, she affirms this by stating, “Many students resort to using a shorthand method or abbreviating certain words or concepts so that they’re not spending all their time in class writing. At the same time, you don’t want your notes to be so sparse and vague that you can’t remember or understand anything you’ve written. It’s important to find a method that’s easy to keep up with in class and makes sense to you afterward.”

I’m sure just about all of us can admit that taking notes in class isn’t our favorite pastime, however, it is necessary to succeed in classes and ultimately, in college. Taking notes is an art in itself, especially for a course that you have zero interest in. However, if you follow what is best for you and gauge effective learning techniques, taking notes will become a breeze for you sooner than you know it! Just have a positive attitude and let your pen do the talking. As always, good luck!

By Alicia Geigel

Uloop Writer
Temple alum | columnist at Uloop News | photographer | food blogger if you want to learn more about me, visit my profile and check out my articles!

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