Computers have made our lives a lot easier in many ways. Unfortunately, the onus is still on us to use them effectively. You won’t get nearly as much value out of your computers if you don’t follow the right approaches.
A prime example of a situation where you need to use your computer reliably comes in the form of note taking. In the process of learning, you understand the importance of taking notes. You cannot practically retain every piece of information in your mind. Hence, you create cues for your memory while you attend classes by concisely writing down key concepts and ideas. Even when you are using your computer to take notes, you need to follow a regimented process to do it effectively.
Using Your Computer Reliably for Taking Notes
However, if your notes are hard to decipher after a lesson, you are going to find the tips and methods mentioned here helpful.
Why Is Taking Proper Notes Important?
Mastering the art of note-taking with your desktop will improve your overall understanding of the presented material as you:
- perceive and comprehend what you are listening to writing it down;
- ensure that you are committed to active listening throughout the lecture;
- make a visual connection between the topics for faster learning.
When you take notes at the same time as you listen to the instructor, you process the information twice. It is proven that effective notes can help you retain the concepts in your memory for a long time.
Top Methods of Note-Taking
There’s no particular rule of how you should take notes as long as you can make sense of everything out of that piece of paper later. Nobody can do it better than you. It is not like calling one of your friends and asking “write my essay for me” when you have no time to handle all college assignments.
If you are nowhere near being a master of taking notes, you can use one of the methods described below or a combination of these. Read on to find the best method for you!
The Cornell Method
The effectiveness of this approach is drawn from the columns that it uses for organizing notes. The method is particularly fruitful for high school and college students. The core idea is organizing the titles, subheadings, and cues in two or three columns.
- Divide your page into three columns – a 2.5″ margin on the left, the remaining space on the right, and an almost 6″ section at the bottom.
- Use the right section to record the lecture in short sentences that you can easily decipher afterward.
- After reviewing your notes, take down cues, possible questions, and important keywords in the left section.
- Use the section at the bottom for the summary and highlights of the topic.
Advantages of the Cornell Method
- Your notes are neat, organized, and easy to review later.
- It helps you draw out the concepts from the lecture almost immediately.
- When integrated with the right set of key pointers and visual representations, it improves the efficacy of your notes.
The Mind Mapping Method
As the name suggests, it is all about mapping the correlation between ideas and their subparts. The approach is more of a visual representation than a written one. If you find basic wordy notes boring, and it is easier for you to perceive complex ideas or interlocking topics when you visualize them, this method is best for you. Besides, it can be put to use for many other objectives besides note-taking.
- Write the title of the topic in the middle of a circle or any shape of your choice. You can also opt for no shape at all, but that won’t be visually attractive.
- Draw lines outwards from the heading to link important subtopics or related facts.
- Branch off each subtopic to link them with the relevant information.
- Explore the 2-D charts as much as you want to dive deeper into the topic.
Advantages of the Mind Mapping Method
- It is one of the best options for learners who struggle with studying using notes.
- Visual maps make it easier to grasp a concept at a quick glance while revising the topic.
The Outlining Method
This simple yet powerful method enables you to jot down everything important related to a topic efficiently. You go with the flow as the class proceeds from one unit to another.
- Write the main heading on the left side of the page.
- Put the subtopic slightly shifted towards the right.
- Set down short explanatory phrases and briefly-composed ideas underneath the particular subtopic.
- Add a new subtopic in alignment with the previous one and continue writing the related supporting facts.
Advantages of the Outlining Method
- It keeps your notes systematic and organized.
- It makes forming short study questions easier to memorize the lesson quickly.
- Reviewing content anytime after a class becomes an effortless task.
Tips for Taking Notes Like a Pro
- Don’t try to jot down everything that is dictated by the instructor. Rather, look for the main points that will allow you to comprehend the whole concept easily.
- Leave out the extras such as prepositions, articles, and conjunctions. Try to write short sentences and replace some words with symbols: “&” instead of “and,” “/” for “or,” and “w/” for “with.”
- Practice active listening to grasp as much information as you can from the lecture.
- Revise your notes at least once within 24 hours of writing them. This way, you will remember the topics for a longer time.
Practice and consistency are the keys to success. So, no matter how bad at note-taking you think you are, choose the best method for you and keep practicing until you master the art.