How To Take Detailed Lecture Notes? Explained! ✍️ ✅

Last updated on April 22, 2022
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  • Now that we’re all attending in-person college, taking handwritten notes has become very important again. Colleges and professors are starting to rely less and less on Powerpoint presentations. So, taking lecture notes is a great way to make sure you keep up with what is going on in class. These notes can also become an invaluable resource when you’re preparing for tests and exams. 

    Tips To Take Effective Lecture Notes!

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    But taking detailed notes comes with a lot of practice. It is natural for anyone to zone out during class from time to time and miss a couple of points here and there. Trying to write down everything your professor says can also be detrimental as you can’t transcribe as fast as they speak. Note-taking is a deliberate process where you use various short forms and structures to note down only the key points from a lecture. 

    Note-taking not only helps you process the information you’re receiving in class, but it also helps with active recall since these are notes made by you. Studying from your notes during a test or exam helps you recall what was said during your lecture as well. This article will give you tips and tricks for taking detailed and concise lecture notes. 

    Come To Class Familiar With The Material

    Professors usually mention what they’re going to cover in the next class. If you know what is going to be taught the next day, try to read the material once on your own. If you can’t do a detailed reading, at least skim the material to get a basic understanding of the same. 

    This will help you find keywords or important terms relevant to your lecture ahead of time. So when a teacher says a difficult word or term, you won’t be caught off guard, and you can keep taking notes fluidly. This will also help you organize your notes according to subtitles since you know which concepts are the most important. 

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    Comes to class familiar with the material also helps you process the information more effectively in class. When combined with taking your own notes (preferably by hand), this method can help you internalize the information much better. You’ll be able to build on this information better in future classes, as well as be well prepared for exams. 

    Sit Near The Front Of The Room

    It sucks to say this, but the nerds in your school had it right all along. Sitting relatively closer to the teacher can help you be more present and pay better attention. It’ll limit how much your mind may wander away as compared to sitting near a window, for instance. Sitting close to the professor also allows you to hear what is said more clearly and ask the professor for clarification when needed. 

    Taking comprehensive notes involves a lot of focus. When your mind wanders, as much as it is natural, you will miss a small portion of the lecture. So limiting the extent to which your mind wanders is a good way to make sure you don’t miss out on anything important. 

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    Remember To Label Your Topics 

    This may seem obvious, but forgetting to label your notes with the date and topic can make it very difficult to understand them later. Try to make it a habit to write down the date and the topic covered before you start taking notes to avoid frantically searching for a particular topic later. This also helps divide your notes by lesson or unit. If you have multiple professors teaching the same paper, mark your notes with their initials before beginning. Documenting your notes is very important to ensure they remain useful in the long run. 

    Pay Attention To Key Terms And Concepts

    Notes act like a highlight reel of your lecture, condensing large amounts of information into just the most important things you should remember. It helps to know the key terms your professor is going to be discussing beforehand, so you don’t miss them or misspell them in your notes. Taking note of the broad sections of your material before you come to class helps you segregate your notes by subheading. 

    "Taking notes involves filtering a lot of information and deciding which is the most important." Share This With Others!

    Remember that your notes don’t have to capture everything your teacher says. Focus on writing down important terms, dates, codes, or any other factual or technical details first. If you have time, you can add a short summary of an example you think you can remember. Trying to write down every explanation, anecdote, or example can be impractical and make you lose track. Taking notes involves filtering a lot of information and deciding which is the most important. This is a skill you can develop with more and more practice. 

    Use Symbols And Short-Forms

    When you’re taking notes, it’s not necessary to write full sentences all the time. That would be very impractical and limits the amount of information you can condense. It is helpful to make short forms or symbols of your own for terms that repeat often or common phrases like “leads to” “a part of” or “important.” You can use abbreviations or short forms for technical jargon as well. 

    Professional note-taking, like secretarial note-taking or transcription, used an alternative writing system called shorthand that has a number of symbols and shortcuts to writing something down. Although shorthand has gone out of public knowledge, you can create your own method for writing certain words quickly. You can use arrows instead of phrases like “leads to” or use short forms for common words. I personally short common words like ‘with’ and ‘between’ as w/ and b/w, respectively, and this makes sure I write the important terms in full. 

    Let Your Notes Flow Organically 

    While it’s good to be aware of subtopics or useful symbols, don’t put down strict rules for your note-taking. Instead, try and naturally integrate more and more new methods and explore what works for you. There are many specific note-taking methods developed by individuals, but it is important to note that everyone is different. The method someone on youtube has devised for themselves may not suit your needs. 

    At the end of the day, note-taking, like any other skill, has a learning curve. Don’t be frustrated if you make mistakes initially – it’s all part of the process. If you’ve reached the end of the article, it means you’re serious about doing your best in school or college. Keep that fire burning and keep trying – you’ll be writing fast and concise notes in no time. 

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    Last updated on April 22, 2022

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