Note Taking: Not as Scary as You Might Think!
Taking notes is a formidable task for students in high school and college. There is a lot of information to take in daily from each class, and that amounts to a lot of writing. But fear not, young student! With the following tips, you will soon have bountifully overflowing notebooks filled with all sorts of useful knowledge. First things first, however: why take notes at all when there are textbooks available?
There is a huge difference between writing a sentence and reading it. For instance, you finished reading that sentence in likely a quarter to a third of the time it took for me to write it. If I had written it by hand, the gap would be even larger. When you write out your notes as opposed to just reading them in a textbook, it is like eating with chopsticks instead of a fork. This is because you are eating more slowly and giving yourself time to digest every bite. When you pay attention to the things you’re writing and think about them more, you’ll have achieved what every student strives for: retention of information. Retention is when you keep something in your memory. Instead of just passing through your mind in that moment, you will remember it later. But taking notes is boring, right? You might think so, but it does not have to be.
Depending on how you prefer to learn, you can make your notes as detailed as you want. However, they should be understandable to you. Styles range from writing down keywords under main points to drawing and labelling pictures. When you are in class, try out a few different methods. Do you like your pages neat and organized with headings for every point? Perhaps you like to have your sub-points all aligned neatly down the page for easy reading. Or maybe you prefer a mind map, with the central idea in the middle with each concept in an offshoot of its own. As long as it is understandable and gets the important points of what you are learning across, then those notes work for you.
The next logical step, then, is using the notes you have created. They have already been of benefit to you with regard to recalling information, as already discussed. However, you will likely take a lot of notes between tests and there is no way you will remember everything simply because you wrote it down. If your notes meet the above criteria of being understandable and containing the knowledge you will need to do well on your exam, they will be easier to study because you created them yourself. Because of this, you are much more likely to succeed when you take and use notes in class.
So don’t be afraid of taking notes. With a little organization and practice, they will be of great used to you. Try it out for yourself to see just how easy it can be.