5 answers

What are some tips for taking short and to the point notes?

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I’m nervous that when I go to college I will miss important information because I will be busy writing down everything word for word. If you can give me some tips on how I can write down the important information and shorten my notes that would be very helpful.
#help #college-advice

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5 answers

Ashley’s Answer

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Hello Rachel!


You have gotten some great advice from other responses. Something that always helped me, in addition to using bullet points to stay organized, was to recopy the notes following the class. This helped me to decipher any squiggles or incomplete words I may have left on the notes AND they always ended up neater. This also helped me to review the material following the class and I was able to supplement my notes with other class material when I went through them again.

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Rebecca’s Answer

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Hello Rachel! I'm so glad that you ask this question because this is a real work life challenge when it comes to attending meetings and being able to retain the information both mentally and perhaps for your team. I work as a Business Compliance Lead in Supply Chain and often times, I must take notes to show evidence of a discussion and decision that has been taken place.


My best tip is to practice being very engaged. Prior to class or any meetings, review the scope or objective and do a bit of homework in terms of defining acronyms or writing your questions down beforehand. During the class, pay closely attention and eliminate any potential distractions. When I was in the university, I ensured that my best friends were sitting further away so that I can individually stay focused on the lecture and note taking. While note taking, create acronyms or short hand writing techniques that you know you can remember later. Another tip is to ensure that you do not get caught up in recording verbatim the lecture. Instead, focus on understanding it. Ask questions and write down key points with a few examples. Remember that note taking is a method to remember the discussion later. My last tip is to reviewing your notes immediately or within the same day of finishing the class. This way, you can refine your notes as you can recall them easier and simultaneously prepare any newly developed questions at your next lecture.

Rebecca recommends the following next steps:

  • Review next class scope or objective and prepare questions for the professor
  • Eliminate distractions during the lecture
  • Review and refine your notes and prepare for the next lecture within the same day of the lecture.
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Richard’s Answer

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Record the class if a recording isn't provided by your university

Some intro classes have professional notes you can buy. This may seem lazy at first but reading the notes from a professional note taker can help your note taking skills.
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Rachel’s Answer

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Make an outline of the class lecture. (Ex: 1, a, b, c, 2, a, b, c). If you take notes in outline format, you can just make a brief mention of something you can't adequately get down, and then move on to the next point. Later, you can fill in the outline with the points you remember. If you can't remember something, ask a neighbor, a TA, or the professor during office hours.
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Monica’s Answer

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Hey Rachel, I do understand your concern. Even I used to face similar problem initially, but I learned during the course of time that instead of writing down word by word it would be great idea if we could just note the outline of the lecture through bullet points, maps, charts or flowcharts. The maps, charts and flowcharts will help you visualize the connection between the topics. The bullet points will give you the highlights of the topic. I still follow the same way it helps me remember the discussion just at a glance. Hope these tips be helpful to you.

Thanks !

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