Understand the why and how of effective note-taking!
As a college student, you’re likely familiar with the habit of taking notes while in the classroom. Understanding the why and how of effective note-taking will help you attend class with purpose and make your note-taking a meaningful part of your learning efforts!
Why Take Notes?
We learn through receiving information, participating in discussions, and connecting new information with what we have previously learned, experienced, or understood. This is an active, complex process. Trying to just “keep it in our heads” can become overwhelming in the moment, and is ineffective from a longer-term learning perspective. Taking notes contributes to learning by:
Notice how the list above does not include the words “in class.” Note-taking is not just a classroom activity. Taking notes while reading, watching an assigned video, reviewing a PowerPoint provided by the professor, or participating in a group study session all contribute to the learning process and help you maximize your academic time-on-task!
How Do I Take Effective Notes?
At some point in college, many students find that their note-taking is “not working.” It may be related to the process of taking notes; in other words, the format and content of the notes. It also may be related to what the student is doing with the notes after initially written. The good news is that there are multiple ways to take notes effectively. For notes to be effective, both the note-taking process and the use of notes need to be active.
Note-taking is a habit, so using a different approach consistently for at least three weeks will be necessary for it to become the “new normal.” Here are some of the different ways to take notes, along with step-by-step descriptions and ways to connect your note-taking to other learning strategies. Watch our video below for step-by-step guidance to our favorite note-taking approach, the Cornell Method.
VIDEO: How to Take Notes Using the Cornell Method
Using Your Notes Effectively
The important term here is “using.” Many learners take notes, but don’t use them. Just like any other tool, notes have the most value when they are put to use. Below are strategies for using your notes after their initial creation:
Additional Note-Taking Resources:
- VIDEO – Taking Effective Notes
- WEBPAGE – Different Note-Taking Strategies
- BRIGHTSPACE MODULE – How Learning Works
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