Note taking skills are crucial for college success. Taking notes in class may help you obtain better grades on tests, papers, and homework assignments. Taking notes is about more than just writing everything down - developing good note taking habits will allow you to jot down the relevant information so you can study it easily later. Here are some top note taking tips:
1. Be concise. Try not to use full sentences when you can use a phrase. This will ensure that you're not wasting time writing instead of listening, so you don't miss a key part of the lecture. Taking good notes the first time will help you by avoiding going back and retyping them or translate them from shorthand.
2. Stay on track. Don't write down anything that's not important. In fact, don't worry about writing down conjunctions or prepositions, stick with verbs and nouns. Your instructors will often give hints highlighting significant material by writing it on the board, repeating it numerous times, or emphasizing it with their voice. Use these clues as a guide to jotting down notes. Pay attention to reviews at the beginning of class and summaries at the end of class. They are good ways to judge if you've taken good notes because this is when the professor typically iterates the key points of the lesson.
3. Embrace the power of organization. Categorize your notes into categories using bullet points. Leave plenty of spacing in between concepts. Separate major points from minor ones with a star or other marker so you know what to look at later. Dating your notes and numbering the pages will likely make it easier when you're reviewing your notes later in the day or week.
In addition to the aforementioned points, it's important to make sure you write on full pieces of paper - not scraps. Keep all of your notes in one area. Also, keep a notebook for each class or a binder where you can store all of your material and use highlighters to identify the most important concepts. You'll thank yourself come test time.