Class note-taking is an important skill for all college and university students. It helps ensure that material presented in class is retained for future use. In this article, we discuss several tips for taking effective class notes, from using the right tools to asking questions and reviewing your work after class. We will also discuss the benefits of sharing and comparing notes with your peers. With these tips and tools, you will be well-prepared to make the most out of your next class.
1. Get Tooled Up
Taking class notes with pen and paper has some advantages - for example, it may be easier to sketch out diagrams and illustrations - but using tools like Craft for your note-taking means you skip a step as you have all your notes already digitized. This means they are much faster to edit and expand, without a big re-write, making your note-taking more efficient. Use Craft's free class notes template to quickly capture notes in your next class.
2. Use Abbreviations, Shorthand and Keywords
Abbreviations, keywords, and phrases will help you write faster and are easier to review after a lecture. You can then expand upon these in your post-class review. You can even set up keyboard shortcuts for words or phrases that come up regularly; this is especially useful in scientific subjects where long, hard-to-spell terms are common.
3. Record What’s Important, Discard What's Not
Try to capture the really important takeaways and record them in your notes first. Although most classes contain lots of important information, there will inevitably be some material that is vital for your knowledge, and other material which is nice to know - but maybe less essential.
4. Ask Questions
Asking questions during the lecture will help you to clarify the material and ensure that you have the correct information for your notes. You can also ask your fellow students after class to help explain things you didn’t understand.
5. Review Your Notes After Class
During the class, you are capturing a first draft of your notes. After class, improve that first draft by spending some additional time reviewing what you wrote, adding additional context, and linking out to other useful sources. Plus, the very act of reviewing your material helps you to understand and memorize it better.
6. Share And Compare Notes
Sharing your notes with your fellow classmates, and comparing theirs with yours allows you to spot anything you missed and therefore improve upon your notes. Sharing is easy with Craft’s free class note templates, as you can simply create a link and send it to your friends.
If you want to take notes in a fast, efficient way, it’s vital that you use a note-taking tool like Craft, use abbreviations, shorthand, and keywords, record what’s important, discard what’s not, and don't be afraid to ask questions. Furthermore, review your notes after class to help understand and memorize the material. Having a reliable note-taking approach will ensure that you have the most effective notes and learning experience.
Looking for other inspiration for taking effective class notes? Check out our review of the Top 5 note-taking methods.