Hump day….we meet again- am I the only one who thinks these past few weeks have been flying by?! Maybe it’s because the new semester just started? My body has been primarily running on coffee (lots and lots of coffee) and minimal sleep. My classes and assignments are beginning to get into full swing, and it has been a rough couple of days.
Speaking of college, today were talkin’ about note taking! The class lecture style in college is waaaay different than that of high school. In college, professors expect you to retain the information that they speak about in class as well as whatever information may be on their power point, worksheet, etc.
As scary as it may sound, taking notes in college is not as hard as it seems. I like to consider myself a pretty good note taker. That being said ,I know a few things that could enhance your note taking skills. I have decided to compile some of these tips to help all of my fellow college homies out there who could use a bit of help in the note taking department:
HEADINGS & TITLES
An extremely important factor of college notes is to make sure that they are organized properly. Organizing your notes in a specific, redundant way will help you when you are studying, or need to gather information in a timely manner.
Personally, I write all of my major headings in a larger font. This allows me to differentiate the information and is the first thing to catch my eye when I got back over my notes. For subheadings, I’ll usually use a mid-sized font, something that still grabs my attention, but nothing too crazy.
Titling different sections of your notes is also a huge help. You want to make sure that the titles to the different sections of your notes are complete and concise. You should be able to know exactly what the notes will be about, solely by glancing at the title. Try to make your titles minimal, as something too elaborate may confuse you.
Something that has helped my college note taking skills immensely is the use of different colored pens, highlighters, and markers. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love to add a bit of color to their notes? Color coding certain sections of notes will help when help when skimming through notes quickly. Color coding makes trying to find the information that you really need to know a piece of cake. I like to create a system that helps me quickly understand the color coding that I do on my notes.
BLUE= Important terms
YELLOW= Key time periods
ORANGE= Notable people and figures
Creating a system for the color coordination of your notes is a big help. This will allow key terms, periods, and figures to immediately jump at you when you glance over your notes any certain time. Adding some color to your notes can actually be a lot more fun than it sounds! Here are some of my favorite products for color coding my notes:
- Sharpie Highlighters: I’m a big fan of anything from Sharpie. I love these particular highlighters because they come in a pack of 10. They also have a chisel tip, which enables users to create very fine lines. These highlighters also come in packs of 6, without a chiseled tip.
- Sharpies: Honestly, who doesn’t love sharpies?! I have this pack of 24 and use it almost everytime I need to write down anything. Although these bad boys are on the pricier end of the spectrum, they are still totally worth it because of how long they last!
- Gel Pens: Okay, call me a five-year-old but I think gel pens are fabulous. These are perfect for creating diagrams in your notes or underlining specific terms. If you aren’t too crazy about the whole gel pen thing, these Bic Pens are seriously perfect.
A trick to taking down as much information in as little time as possible- A.K.A when the professor keeps rattling off information that will be on a test but you physically can’t keep up writing it all down- is to shorthand. Think about the language that you use when you text, this is the kind of language that you should write your notes in. Any type of shorthand that you will be able to identify whenever you’re going back over your notes in the future can help you take notes at a faster pace. Personally, I use shorthand for long terminology and simple words. For example:
Special Education= Sped
GO BACK OVER YOUR NOTES AFTER INITIALLY TAKING THEM DOWN
Something that has been super beneficial for me, is to go back over my notes at a later time. I usually will spend some time rewriting the notes that I previously took on a given day. Rewriting notes and comparing them to slide shows, textbooks, and even a friend’s notes can be extremely helpful when it comes to retaining the information.
As intimidating as it sounds, taking notes in college doesn’t have to be that bad! I use all of these tips/tricks whenever I take notes during lectures and so far, I have gotten all of the information that I need for tests and exams on the given content. I also totally recommend checking out some studyblrs for motivation and inspiration on taking college notes. Jessica, wrote an amazing post all about studyblrs that is very helpful- check it out!
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