Have you ever looked back at your notes from class and wondered what on earth you wrote? I know I have. I tended to be a bit of a perfectionist in school, and that meant obsessive note-taking. I felt like if I didn't write down everything my teachers said, I would never be able to study for tests! In this blog post, I will share with you my strategies for taking effective notes during class, and how to get the most out of them later!
Use Two Notebooks
When you are in class, you will be much more focused on what you are writing rather than how you are writing it. Your first notebook can be as sloppy and messy as you like. Don't worry about how it looks: scribble things out, draw arrows to make connections, circle important ideas, etc. Do anything that will help you remember the material for later. You can also include questions you have during the lecture. Record main ideas and details you want to remember. And remember, you don't have to write things down the same way the teacher says them! You can paraphrase as long as you understood what they meant.
*Quick tip: if the teacher ever says something twice, it's probably important! Make sure to write it down.
Copy Your Notes
After you get home from school, pull out the second notebook. This is where you will review your notes from class and rewrite them in an organized way. Remember all those scribbles? Skip them. Write the main ideas in big, bold letters with the details underneath each idea. Those arrows you drew to make connections? Now you can make them more organized. This process will make your notes significantly more organized and legible so that you can study more effectively when you are preparing for exams, but the process of reading and copying your notes will also reinforce the material, so you won't have to study as much later!