The Importance of Note Taking
Ever since you decided to go to college, everyone has impressed upon you the importance of good note taking. Did you ever wonder why? Stop for a moment and think of a few reasons why you think note taking is important. When you have a few in mind, read the following list, which gives some of the major reasons why note taking is important. Note the items on this list that aren't on your list. Whenever you feel discouraged about taking notes in class, remember this list and the importance that good note taking has for you as a student.
Before you can take a good set of notes, you must hear, understand and put the material in your own words.
It is entirely possible for you to memorize all the main points of a lecture, but you would need an excellent memory to do this for all your classes. Writing key words and points in your notes can trigger your memory to start a flow of ideas that might not have been released.
Often, class lectures are more than just a summary of the textbook. The lecture provides extended learning about what is in the textbook. Lectures are important sources of information, because they more fully analyze and explain the material in the text. This information is important, not only in terms of learning, but also in terms of testing.
In the lectures, you discover the aspects of the course which are most important to the instructor. These aspects usually show up on exams. Note whether your instructor focuses on understanding concepts, or whether he or she is more concerned with the memorization of detail. Knowing what is important to your instructor will usually help you in predicting the kinds of questions that could show up on a test.
Review is an important part of study, and taking notes in class simplifies this exercise. Trying to review lecture material from memory is a large task, but is unnecessary if you take good notes.
When you take a good set of notes, you'll have feelings of satisfaction and power that come from doing a good job. It also helps you feel confident in yourself, and in your ability to handle tough college courses.
How Well Do You Take Notes?
How well do you take notes? Would you like some fresh ideas about how to write better notes? The documents below can help! The documents give detailed information and tips for the note taking process.
The Cornell Method
The Cornell method of note taking is best for understanding key ideas and relationships.
It involves drawing a horizontal line 2 inches from the bottom of the paper, then drawing a vertical line, 2 1/2 inches from the left edge of the paper, from the top to the 2 inch bottom line of every page. Lecture notes are written on the right hand side of the paper. The area to the left of the line is used to write main ideas, prompts and sample questions. The left-hand column should be filled in when a student reviews his/her notes.
The following video is a helpful tutorial on how to take Cornell notes.
The Mapping method is best for visualizing connected topics and ideas. It presents information in a graphic way using either "mind-map", "concept map" or "flowchart" techniques. This style typically uses the pen and paper method, however, a tablet with appropriate software can be used also.
The page is organized by topic. The main topics branch out into subtopics with detailed information about each.
Note: You do not have to be an incredible artist to utilize the mapping method! You can include as many images as you want. Also, it's up to you as to how simple or complex your notes are.
This video is a great resource to explain what visual note taking is and how it works.
The Outline method of note taking is best for easily creating study questions for review.
Each section starts with a heading of the main topic. Each subtopic and supporting fact is written underneath the proper heading.
This method of note taking outlines details presented during class. It outlines important concepts, theories, facts, principles, arguments, examples, evidence, and anecdotes. It shows the content and main points of lectures and also shows the relationship between points.
The Charting Method
The Charting method of note taking is best for reviewing a lot of facts. This style of note taking can use either the traditional pen and paper method or a laptop or tablet by using appropriate software.
The page is divided into columns labeled by category. The details for each category are filled in the rows below.
If you rely heavily on your devices (laptops, tablets, etc.), there are a variety of tools and/or apps that are available to assist you with your studying. The following tools and/or apps are not endorsed by Red Deer College. Therefore, before installing any of the listed tools and/or apps, please ensure you have carefully considered their purpose for personal use.
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