Setting aside the time to take online classes is a big commitment, and one that you should make the most of. However, that’s only part of the equation when it comes to being successful in continuing your education.
Tests, essays and grades largely depend on a student’s ability to take notes. Those notes can help a student retain and prioritize information. In fact, notes may be the single most important takeaway from any given lecture, chapter or class discussion. At the end of the day, taking good notes directly correlates with good grades, especially when students only remember a small percentage of information after listening to a lecture without taking notes.
The first step in good note taking is understanding what notes should be: an overview of what has been covered in lectures, textbooks, or both. As a result, each chapter and each lecture should be outlined, point by point in your notes. Each section should be labeled clearly, so when it’s time to take a test, studying will be easy because your notes will be organized by.
But in addition to simple organization, there are a few tactics you can use to improve your note taking:
Look at the syllabus, lecture outlines and chapter summaries: This will help you know what to expect and even give you insight on what’s important. If certain topics are already highlighted, then you’ll know those are the most important to focus on.
Have a technique: Approach note taking with a specific technique and style, like writing shorthand and using abbreviations and symbols. Writing down entire sentences might take too long, especially if the lecturer is speaking quickly. Even if you manage to write down whole sentences, your notes may be overwhelming and exhausting to read over when it’s time to study.
Don’t worry about making them legible: Just because your note taking style is short and sweet doesn’t mean your notes need to be readable to anyone but you. The only thing that matters is that they’re legible enough for you to ready and study.
Use bullets, numbers, stars, symbols: Bullets and numbers will help organize topics, while stars and symbols can highlight important information and facts.
Take advantage of online courses that can be paused and rewound: Especially in online classes where lectures are recorded, take the time to stop and soak in the information. It may take more time, but your grades will be better off in the long run. Pausing and rewinding allows you to take thorough notes, and you won’t miss a beat.
Good not taking is only one aspect of getting good grades—taking advantages of all of a school’s resources are crucial to reaping the most benefits from the experience. Below you’ll find an infographic that was put together and released today that helps people visually see the current state of online education and the direction it is taking for the future. If you’ve enjoyed both this post and the infographic, please share it.