Posted by Kelsey Calef on January 17th, 2018
The importance of note taking is highly underrated. Teachers and employers spend an exuberant amount of time offering loads of information while expecting their listeners to know how to take effective notes while absorbing each detail. Let’s be honest, who actually has the time and energy to take Cornell notes?
Many people struggle to know what should be written down. In most cases, people enter auto-pilot and copy word for word without engaging or only jotting down keywords, ultimately leaving students “noteless”. Taking good notes shouldn’t be a difficult task!
Here are 5 tricks to taking the best notes EVER.
1) Don't type. Get tactile and put pen to paper. Whether your professor has banned laptops or you want to write discretely during a meeting, pen to paper forces attention and decreases distraction! Especially in formula or number heavy situations, writing it down rather than typing ensures you get it down right and engage.
2) Emphasize. If you don't understand something, don't skip it. Still make note of whatever is being said, and add the questions you have to your notes to make sure you get them answered. You can always go back later and rephrase or reformulate in a method that makes more sense to you.
3) Make color your friend. People think that by turning their text into a highlighter rainbow coloring book is an effective way to note-take. Using color to underline or highlight is a good way to draw attention to an important idea or keyword without overusing it.
4) Break it up with shorthand, symbols and illustration. Sometimes looking at a wall of text can be overwhelming. Learning a personalized version of shorthand focusing on keywords and using dots, stars, dashes, indentation, and even explanatory sketches become much easier understand.
Pro tip: Check out our friends at The Sketchnote Army. It will change the way you take notes.
5) Include connections to references and resources. Make sure to connect your notes, ideas and questions to source material, not just lectures. This way the course material flows cohesively.
Pro tip: Your professor/boss will be extremely impressed.
AND these tricks are not limited to students, but to anyone who takes notes!