How to Take Notes in College Like a Boss

Posted: July 04, 2016 - to Study
Content how to take notes in college like a boss

Have you ever written with such intensity that your fingers have started to tremble, and you felt minutes away from losing your hand? The pain would get so bad after diligently writing every word your teacher said, that you would honestly consider a robotic hand transplant.

Al least, that’s how things used to be in high school. In college, there are two ways note-taking can go. The first, you do the exact thing you have been doing for the past twelve years. The second involves you sitting in class, using a recorder and praying to God that your brain will be able to remember the info.

Does this scenario seem familiar? Well, let me tell you that neither is good. The aim is to understand what the professor is busting their brains to teach you, not to automatically write everything down. You’re a human, not a robot. So how do we make our brains actually understand what it is you’re writing there? Let’s try to be productive, shall we? First things first…

  1. Less is more

You’ve probably been hearing this everywhere and applied it to all the wrong things. Now you’re probably thinking, “Our teachers taught us to write everything down!” That habit may have followed you all the way through college, but it doesn’t mean it’s the right way to go about it. When professors deliver their lectures, they’re doing it quickly and not actually expecting you to write everything down. When possible, take advantage of handouts to help you in your note-taking.

  1. Contractions are always useful

It’s not easy to summarize a lecture when you are taking notes. Your first instinct will always be to put everything down, just in case “that phrase might pop up in the exams.” This is where you’re wrong. Teachers aren’t fans of seeing their exact words on paper; they want to know that you understood the course. Use whatever you can to make things understandable: symbols, graphs, bullet points. You’re a student, so you should be able to find the easy way around.

  1. It’s not always the way you hear it

Let’s make things easier. When the teacher says a piece of information, don’t blindly write everything they say. Instead, try processing the information, and simplify it by using your own words. You’ll see that once you do that, not only will it be much easier to understand, but it will also leave out anything unnecessary. If what the teacher says doesn’t contain any specialized words, feel free to use your own words to save time.

  1. Use an app to take your notes

Gotta love the age of technology, right? In this age, it would be dumb not to take advantage of any available learning devices. You see wannabe hippies anywhere, who refuse to use anything technological because it’s ‘too mainstream.’ What they fail to see is that these simple but useful learning apps can actually take the edge off.

For example, you can use Evernote. This app can be used to store info, take pictures, record interviews and draw charts. It is said to be one of the best apps out there. Also, if you want something even simpler, you can go for Simplenote: it will take, tag and store any information you might throw at it. Mainstream has never been so attractive.

College lectures can be a torture for your hand and brain if you don’t know how to take notes properly. But once you get the hang of it, you will see that you will go out of the class with the lesson already learned.

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