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The Art of Taking Notes Effectively

Paying attention to your lecturer during class is important. Given a one semester syllabus of the course, can get you overwhelmed, as there are to much to learn. Paying attention to your lecturer and your ability to capture effectively his message during the class give you advantage over student who did not pay attention or take notes effectively.

When we take notes, we force ourselves to pay attention to the lecturer. We stay engaged and focus on the subject matter. By listening carefully to your lecturer, you can get tips and ideas of what is important and where to focus in your studies. Furthermore, due to the unreliability of your short term memory, writing down important points during lecture is crucial for later revision and research.

So how do we take notes effectively?

In order to take notes effectively, you have to be prepared hours before the lecture starts. Check out the subject outline for the topic to be discussed in the coming lecture. Do some readings on that topic to familiarize yourself with relevant terms and concepts. Having some ideas beforehand on what will be talked about, helps you to understand easier during the lecture, and thus makes your note taking more efficient.

When going to class, try to arrive early at the classroom or lecture hall, so that you can take a seat near the front and center of the room. This helps you to stay focused better on the lecturer. Before the lecture starts, make a quick revision on your previous classes notes to remind you of the terms and concepts learned. When taking notes during the lecture, listen carefully to the message being conveyed, try to understand it, then write them in your own words. A common mistake made by students is to write down word by word of what is being said. Note taking is not about recording everything being said by your lecturer, but to understand and to write down the important points in your own words.

When taking notes make yourself comfortable to avoid distractions. Make an eye contact with your lecturer as you listen to him. This helps you to stay focused. In your notes, use symbols and abbreviations to replace commonly used words or phrases. Highlight important points emphasized or repeated by your lecturer. Put a mark or symbol on points you are not cleared about. If possible clarify them with your lecturer immediately after class, otherwise do some research and readings later to clarify the points.

Your notes should be filed in binders. One binder for each subject. This makes organizing your notes easier. You can easily, insert, rewrite or rearrange your notes when you use a binder, compare to when you are using an ordinary notebook. Just make sure you label each piece of your notes with the name of the subject, the topic and the date to avoid mix up and confusion.

Note taking is about using your listening skills and comprehension capabilities. Without which nothing much can be grabbed from a lecture. Organizing your notes and updating it as you do your study and research, is equally important in making it an effective learning aid especially when revising for your exam.

About the Author: Nur Nuha is passionate about helping others to improve their life. If you want more in your life check out her new e-book "A Guide to A Blissful Life" in this website, in the Links >> e-Books section.