Are you getting the greatest benefit from the 12 to 18 hours you spend in class every week? There is much more to attending class than walking through the door and sitting down. Numerous studies show that students who attend class regularly and actively engage with the material by effectively taking and reviewing notes outperform their fellow students. The strategies below can help you develop effective note taking skills.
Learning means that you take inputs from your environment and encode them into your long-term memory. The key to learning how to use your time in class effectively is to understand that it takes an effort to learn material. Simply sitting in a class is not enough.
Before you can develop effective note taking strategies, you need to understand your own learning style so that you can build your personal strategies on a foundation of your own strengths.
There are a variety of note taking techniques and different strategies work for different people. You have to decide on which technique works best for you. You might even use different strategies for different classes.
Now that you have the notes, what do you do with them? Reviewing the material in your notes outside of class is essential to storing the information in long-term memory. Rehearsing notes is not simply a strategy to cram for an exam. It should be an ongoing effort starting as soon as you leave class and continuing until the end of the course. The key to remembering new material is to actively interact with it and manipulate it.
|Concept Mapping||Free Form Note Taking||Outline Method of Note Taking|
- Milton J. Dean, Working Memory and Academic Learning: Assessment and Intervention (Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2008).
- Rona F. Flippo and David C. Caverly, eds., Handbook of College Reading and Study Strategy Research (Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers, 2000).
- Paul Hettich, Learning Skills for College and Career (Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Publishing Company, 1998).
- Mark A. McDaniel and Aimee A. Callender, “Cognition, Memory, and Education,” In H.L. Roediger (Ed.), Learning and Memory: A Comprehensive Reference. (Oxford, UK: Elsevier, 2008).
- Scott W. Vanderstoep and Paul R. Pintrich, Learning to Learn: The Skill and Will of College Success (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2003).
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