There's no doubt about it. Research has repeatedly demonstrated that taking effective notes increases your chances of academic success.
So, what does this mean?
Well, it doesn’t mean that when a prof or teacher hands out a set of power point slides, it's time to catch a quick cat nap.
4 SIMPLE THINGS TO MAXIMIZE NOTE TAKING
In fact, here are some things you want to do from the beginning when you're taking a class:
1) ASK: WHAT’S THE NEXT LECTURE ABOUT? The first thing you want to do is prefetch -- not unlike what we do as engineers and computer scientists in a lot of design situations.
For example, we apply a fetch operation when we know it will yield results that we'll need down the road like on a processor for example.
Listen, I'm not telling you to geek out here. But in all honesty, you might think that just by attending class and taking notes blindly is enough.
But it ain’t.
As geeky as it sounds, if you want to rock it get prepped and PREFETCH what the next lecture will be about. BELIEVE ME this will allow you to maximize your note-taking efforts.
2) EAT THE FROG. Some believe that Mark Twain said: "Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day."
Motivational speaker and author Brian Tracey later used the frog reference in the title of his 2001 best-selling book on getting past procrastination and focusing on achievement, Eat That Frog.
In other words, prepping, prefetching, and eliminating procrastination will pay off down the road -- especially during finals. Just sayin’ ....
SO take solid notes now: It will pay dividends down the road when it comes to exam time.
Here's the gist: No matter how great technology is, some people's handwritten notes absolutely WIN over digital notes.
The simple act of putting pen to paper can increase proactive learning. And when you physically write the information out, it's absorbed more easily and gets retained for longer periods of time.
Plus, writing your notes by hand forces you to slow down and focus on what's important. This phenomenon is known as disfluency.
4) ARE YOU VISUAL All of us have heard the declaration before: "I’m visual."
Mind mapping, a sketching technique for capturing ideas, is a cool way to take notes as well.
A picture is worth 1000 words, right? So SKETCHING OR MAPPING as a form of note-taking is particularly effective for visual learners. You write out all your notes by hand -- but in a visual format. It’s a popular method for students, and a go-to option for revision.
On that note, you may also enjoy my article, "What type of learner are you?"
So the next time you attend class, especially the fun-filled, action-packed lectures of evening or summer courses, try this mind-mapping technique with a Wipebook whiteboard notebook:
a) Write out your central idea in the middle of the page.
b) Let your imagination flow. Add branches and keywords to your map as you write out the various topics you'll explore. Include color codes, images, or whatever you like. After each class, use other pages to add and revise the information you learned from each class session.
c) Rock the course.
And there you have it.
Wipebook. Map it out.