How to Take Notes

One of the most important skills that you will need to develop when studying in college is taking notes. Taking notes in a college is a lot different than when you were in Elementary School and High School. The subject matter is now more complicated and there are more facts that you will need to remember. In fact, some professors are notorious for squeezing so much study material in a single lecture hour, so that it is virtually impossible to catch the vital facts that he or she is teaching.

Education experts have put forth three methods by which you can efficiently take notes in class. You can select a note-taking method that is best for you or you can choose a specific method that is appropriate for certain subjects.

Let us take a look at these three effective note-taking methods.

The Outlining Method

The outlining method is the technique that is most commonly used by students. As its name denotes, it would require creating an outline so that the facts that have been presented in the lecture will be jotted down in your notes in an organized manner. To do the outlining method, have the major topics written on the far left of your notebook page. As specific points are raised, jot them down in your notebook in order of importance a little bit to the right and label them as “A”, “B”, “C’, etc. If there are sub-points made, note them down under the specific topic and label them as “1″, “2″, “3″, etc. Additional points under the numbered sub-topics will be labeled as “a”, “b”, “c”, etc. If you proceed in this manner, you will have well-organized notes with the facts clearly delineated. You can even create useful mnemonics with this method once the facts are clear to you.

The Cornell Method

Many education experts advocate the use of the Cornell Method for note-taking. It will give the student comprehensive, precise and organized notes without the need of constant rewriting. To do the Cornell method, draw a 2 1/2-inch margin on the left side of your note book so that you will have a larger space on the right side. While listening to a lecture, jot down the notes in the large space. If your professor emphasized some facts, put a cue in the left space. If your professor moves to another topic, leave some extra spaces after the notes you have made or you can start on a new page. At the end of the lecture, you will find that you have precise notes with cues on vital points. The extra space is for you jot down additional information on the subject matter that you have read in your textbook or other resource. To review your notes, cover the right side of your notebook page and recall what you have learned with the use of the cues on the left side.

The Mapping Method

The Mapping Method is more of a graphical style of jotting down notes. Here, you use charts and diagrams to help you visualize the important points raised in the lecture. Although a bit more complicated than the Outlining and Cornell Methods, the Mapping Method is more effective because you can them in speedy lectures and it does not require you to think too much.

How to Take Notes