Back to School Tip: How to take and organize your notes

It’s back to school for some of you! Ever feel like there’s just way too much information to review before midterms? Hopefully this post on how to take and organize your notes will help! Here are the 4 strategies for effective note-taking in class as suggested by blogger Kirsten Horton in her post:

1: Write constantly
From the time the professor starts talking to the time he/she stops, I am writing. It doesn’t matter if I already know the information. Writing keeps my brain from wandering off into La-La-Land for a half hour (which is pretty common).


2: Let go of perfectionism

When I just a baby freshman/sophomore, my goal was to leave class with perfectly color-coded, outlines, fabulous-looking notes. In real life? Not gonna happen. Professors get distracted, they go off topic, they skip slides. Save yourself a meltdown (or 12) and just use one writing utensil (preferably, a pencil) IN class. You can convert your sloppy notes into a colorful, organized, pretty outline after class!


3: Rephrase information as you write
I just realized that I’m going to have to write an entirely separate post on this because it has just been THAT helpful in my college career. It all comes down to this: when you get information and you write it down word-for-word, your brain is not really engaged. However, if you read notes from a PowerPoint slide, rephrase them into your own words, and write down your words (instead of the teacher’s), you are evaluating the information and then creating something of your own! This way, you are more likely to understand your notes in the future!


4: Attach an image to each concept
I really cannot stress how important this is! Definitions are boring. Words on a page are meaningless. And you will never remember what was covered in class if you leave with a notebook full of generic definitions. If your professor gives you an example/story, write it down, draw a picture, create a little graphic. Whatever you can do to attach that new concept with something that you already know/understand… this will help you remember the concept and see how it applies to real-life events.

Mostafa Nejati

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