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What are easy ways to take notes while in lectures?

I am the type to just write everything down, but it doesn't really help. Should I use a laptop to type notes or continue writing them? I heard color coding helps, but I'm not sure if it takes up a lot of time.
#notes #study #studying #studying-tips #studies

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Nicole’s Answer

It's definitely a preference. Despite my age, I'm more old school and I still prefer to take notes with a pen and paper. It's especially helpful if there are a lot of diagrams or you want to draw arrows or boxes around certain information. Honestly, even most of my peers preferred to take notes in a notebook rather than on their laptop. I also felt like I better retained the information since I was hearing it, processing it, and then writing it down.
A couple of things that you can do to make sure writing it down is actually helping you:
- Pull out your notebook as often as you can - Eating along in the dining hall? Have 5 minutes before another class? Pull out your notebook and go over it a bit. Any little bit of a refresher you can give yourself will help.
- Rewrite your notes: I had an odd, but effective study system where I would put on a TV show like White Collar or Gilmore Girls that I had both seen before and emphasized entertaining dialogue and then just rewrite my notes over and over. It helped me to really retain the information because I was doing something relaxing, but I could also use the show as memory markers to help remember what I was writing when a character did X. It was odd, but worked exceptionally well.
- Colored pens and sticky note flags can really help if you like colors. They'll help you organize your thoughts and your notes.
- Have a separate notebook for each class or a separate section in your binder for each class

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Sheila’s Answer

Hi Julianna-Ngoc:

One way that you could consider taking notes during a lecture is to "record" the session on your cell phone. When doing so, you could go back and listen to it and jot down notes along the way. I'm telling my age but, back in the day when I was in college we used "cassette recorders" for those long lectures. This method worked well for me; especially when I had to dash out afterwards to go to a full-time job. BUT, don't get lax in doing this (recording). I would reserve this approach only to those extremely long lectures. You still want to get in a habit of taking good notes. Best of luck to you!

~ Sheila

Sheila recommends the following next steps:

Check with the professor to see if there are any specific guidelines on recording his/her class
Make sure to save and label each lecture (ie, Biology lecture - 1/30/20)

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Simeon’s Answer

I have a hard time with this as well. Something about taking down notes makes it much harder for me to pay attention and I don't end up being able to read my notes afterwards with any clarity either, so I used to walk away from classes not really getting a lot from notes and having to rely more on the books. You could see about trying to organize a study group and share notes with one another and see if any of you missed something important. Sometimes a professor might let you bring an audio recorder to class. I admit it's a little old school, but its nice to be able to rewind and fast forward through a lecture looking for the most important parts.