How many times do you get out of class and have no idea what the lecture was about? It happens many times even when you have taken notes of the topic your professor taught you. 

This is because maximum of us do not follow the right method of taking notes. When you are sitting in your class, you are fighting a battle within yourself about whether to listen or write down the lecture. Meanwhile, other distractions take your focus away and you miss something that you regret later on. At the end of the class, some information is on the notes, some of it is in your mind and some goes missing. This way, you end up with incomplete notes taking and insufficient understanding of the lecture. 

This definitely affects your grades because a teacher expects you to cover a question in the exam the way they taught you. And, for that, you need to cover their lecture completely. Here is how to take notes easily for good grades. 

What does it require to take good notes?

Before we move on to how you can take good notes that help you later on in your exams, there are some necessary protocols that you have to follow. Without them, you cannot make your notes comprehensive and understandable. 

The first thing is listening and thinking actively about what you are being taught. It is more important than jotting down the words that are coming out of your professor’s mind. It is not your teacher’s understanding that you are going to take away but yours. You, instead of writing everything, listen and think about it constantly. So, when you sit in your class, come with an open mind that is active and open to new ideas that are going to be fed to it. 

Second thing is to make sure you are not getting distracted from the environment. You have to keep fun separate from the study. Either sit away from your friends or make it clear that there is no room for any gossip or any other activity during the lecture. The notes taken with divided attention cannot be as useful as the ones taken with a focused mind.   

Third thing is to be prepared for the lecture before going to the class. That might sound very tiring to you but that actually can be very simple once you make it a habit. You already know the topic your professor is going to teach you or you can check it from the outline. Now look into the main headings from the book and write them down as the main bullet points. You will at least be prepared for what is going to happen in the lecture. The best you can do is to watch some videos read something online about the topics. 

Cornell notes taking method

Experts suggest this method of taking notes because it is easy, simple, organized, and requires active thinking during the class. 

As said earlier, constant writing is not at all the right method. Many students follow it because they find it easy as they do not have to be active recipients of the information they take. This costs them later on when they are trying to understand the concepts and revise the topics during exams. 

On the other hand, Cornell notes taking method requires you to think and then write. To make notes according to this method, you divide your page into three parts. The basic idea, notes, and the summary of the lecture. 

 The basic idea includes the main headings of the topics that you can add a day before when you are preparing the lecture. Notes are the bullets that mark the subheadings or important information that you want to remember. It can be any fact or the crux of an idea being taught. You can write it as comprehensively as possible as per your understanding. Summary of your notes will include the purpose of the lecture, the central concept, and its conclusion that you understood. 

When you take your notes according to this method, you are constantly challenging your mind to think and come up with the best thing that can define this concept. By the end of the lecture, you have already understood the maximum of it. You can use these notes during the exam period too. 

Long story short, being an active recipient of the information is the prerequisite of taking notes. Another thing that you have to take care of is to eliminate all the factors that distract you during lectures. You do not have to be conscious about making your notes very neat as the Cornell method makes it organized enough to be followed later on. 

Author

Ayesha Areej is a staff writer at The Academia Magazine

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