The Best Note-Taking Hack for New Students

The Best Note-Taking Hack for New Students

Want to boost your GPA while reducing your study time? Improve your note-taking skills. According to The Princeton Review, effective note taking has many benefits and can make you a better student.

Taking notes can help you stay awake and engaged in the material. It can also help you remember what happened in class and provide you with a handy study aid. But not just any note-taking method will do. You must develop an efficient, effective method for taking notes.

The Cornell Method

The Cornell note-taking system involves taking extensive notes during the lecture, using abbreviations and short-hand wherever possible. After class, reread your notes and create a summary section followed by a section of questions you can ask yourself during study sessions.

To use this system, divide your paper into two main sections, starting with a narrow column on the left for keywords, definitions and questions that arise during the lecture. The larger column on the right is where your actual notes will go. Leave room at the end of your sheet (you can also use a separate page) for a short summary and study questions.

The Outline Method

This method is pretty self-explanatory. The outline method consists of organizing class notes into an outline. This method is fairly simple to implement if your professor presents material in an organized way, or if they use an outline themselves.

When using the outline method, write down main topics or major points on the left side of the paper with subtopics indented directly beneath the main topics. Supporting evidence and facts for subtopics should be written as indented text below each relevant topic.

The Mapping Method

If you’re a visual learner, the mapping method may be perfect for you. It’s also ideal for complex topics with strong relationships to other topics and subtopics. You can liken the mapping method to a flow chart where the main points or ideas are at the top of the page and the supporting facts are listed beneath the topics.

The key to taking effective notes with this method is to keep the text simple. You want to be able to visualize how the information flows rather than get bogged down in too many words. This works great for some topics, such as learning management structures in a business class, but it may not work for other types of fact-laden information.

Depending on the presentation style of your professor, some methods may make more sense than others. For this reason, you may find yourself changing from one method to another regularly. The goal is to choose the method that best helps you retain and study the information presented in class.

~Here’s to Your Success!

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