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How to Take Notes in College: Efficiently and Effectively

How to Take Notes in College: Efficiently and Effectively

College is all about learning and expanding the threshold of your thought process. University is designed to expose students to new ideas and cultivate thinking habits in them. Professors spend their time and energy curating interesting content that students can engage with in a meaningful manner. College also has a very different approach to learning, and students are expected to take initiative and express their own thoughts and ideas in their work. This is in stark contrast to high school where students are given notes and supported actively while learning. In such an environment, the ability to recognize important details in a classroom and note them down is key to success. In this article, we explore some ways in which students can improve the way they take notes.

How to Take Notes in College Efficiently and Effectively
How to Take Notes in College Efficiently and Effectively

Best Strategies To Take Notes

There are many ways in which a student can take notes in a classroom. Notes help a student remember the main points that were emphasized in the classroom. Good notes will help the student recollect all the different ideas that may have come up in a brainstorming session. Later on, this will aid them when they are writing their assignments. Even if a student is employing someone else to write college papers for money, the notes they take in the classroom will help the writer express the student’s true voice while writing the paper for them. More note-taking tips can be found below.

1. Keep your notes simple

When a lecture is ongoing, it is important for a student to balance both note-taking and listening to the professor. It is not necessary to take down every word, rather, topics and subtopics with some insights are sufficient structure to help students do their own research later.

2. Use a comfortable medium to take notes

Each student is different – with different learning styles. Some students might prefer taking notes by hand, while others might like to draw on their iPad or type on their laptops. Another medium is a voice recorder. While there is no right or wrong way to take notes, it is important that every student figures out the medium that they are most comfortable with.

3. Revise and expand notes after the lecture

Revising notes immediately (or at the latest within 24 to 48 hours) after the class is the best way to retain the most information. Revising means taking a look at the notes made during the class and adding details to them. This activity will help students understand the subject better when it is still fresh in their minds. It will also improve their writing skills, and help them communicate their thoughts better.

Popular Note-Taking Methods To Improve Efficiency

In this section of the article, we discuss some great methods to take notes.

1. Cornell Method

Designed in the 1940s, this method of note-taking helps students take very organized notes. In this method, the page is divided into two halves. The left side is meant to take down keywords, while the right side is for details. This strategy is effective for theory subjects.

2. The Mapping Method

The mapping method helps students create mind maps of discussion topics. Although this method is a little less organized, it will help students note down free-form discussions. Mapping can help learners construct logical trains of thought. It is also useful when a student is trying to make connections between different complex topics. This method of taking notes is also great for visual learners.

A Few Final Words

Taking notes during college lectures is, perhaps, one of the most important skills that a student can have. Taking notes not only helps students remember their lectures well, but also helps them become better listeners. This is a skill that students can transfer to their professional life in the form of taking meeting notes and more. A student who takes notes diligently has a much better chance of scoring higher grades. He also improves his learning experience. This is the reason that all college students are recommended to take notes during class.


About the Author – Joanne Elliot

Joanne Elliot is a psychology graduate. She understands student problems very well and spends her time helping students navigate university life. Joanne is also a freelance writer. She loves writing articles that will help students grow, and find a healthy balance between working and academics.

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