How should a student make notes?

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How should a student make notes?

Five lectures a day is a terrible dream of a student who does not know how to take notes.

Shorthand and synopsis

To understand what notes are, let’s go from the opposite. From the most important mistake that even undergraduates sometimes make. Many people confuse the concepts of “shorthand” and “notes”. As a student I also made this mistake, which made it harder for me to write my paper for me at the end of the semester.

Shorthand is a verbatim fixation of the speaker’s speech. Even if you shorten individual words or use symbols to speed up writing, you are shorthand. This way of storing information has the right to life. 

However, it also has a lot of drawbacks:

  • You’re getting tired. The second lecture of the day – and you can no longer write as quickly and beautifully as on the first one. The fifth – and the fingers are almost bleeding.
  • You don’t remember the material. You write unconsciously, thinking only about how to keep up with the lecturer. Therefore, you do not concentrate on the information itself and get the result in the form of five to ten pages of text that you still have to read and learn.
  • It is difficult for you to read the “notes” in the future. Even perfect handwriting will ruin cursive. What to say about incomprehensible abbreviations? After such a “note-taking”, you have to spend time trying to sort out what you have written there.

Of course, you may object: what about motor memory? After all, what we record is somehow fixed in consciousness?

You record the lecture verbatim and can remember minor details. And the marker with which you want to highlight the main thing will not help you.

In theory, the student should already be able to take notes. He is not required to study at a university. In practice, many people get used to shorthand from the first year and just sit in their pants at lectures. By God, it’s easier to skip and write off from a responsible neighbor.

So, what is a synopsis?

Translated from Latin this word means “essay, review”. A synopsis is a fixation of key information, an extended plan of a lecture, an article, a book. Taking notes involves processing the information you have heard or read. It is not necessary to write down the lecturer verbatim – it is important to reflect the essence in the summary. How you do it – by simply shortening the teacher’s phrase or stating it in your way, it does not matter at all.

Taking notes is NOT:

– reduction of individual or all words; 

– word by word written text in which you subsequently highlighted the main thing with colored markers; 

– scattered phrases were written at random, without observing any logic.

The main features of the synopsis:

  • Consistency
  • Brevity
  • Clarity

You must understand your synopsis. Whether others will understand is none of your business.

Taking notes correctly, you not only save energy but also think about the lecture. Your brain processes information, which means you remember. When preparing for the exam, the summary will only be support – looking at it, you will remember what the lecture was about. The synopsis does not need to be crammed.

How to make a synopsis?

It is difficult to get used to taking notes from the very first lecture, and not everyone wants to skip important information. Therefore, first practice on books or articles. Video lectures are also suitable. 

It is important to have time to listen to the lecturer, think about the information, and fix the main thing. This skill is acquired in practice. It remains for us to tell about the forms and methods of taking notes.

There are many types of notes. Planned, graphic, textual, formalized, schematic, a summary of the Cornell method, etc. Some of them are suitable for humanities, others for technical and natural sciences.

Method 1. Schematic synopsis

Relatively simple. Suitable for those who are just learning to take notes. It is indispensable where the lecturer speaks “on paper”, that is, in fact, dictates, and does not talk about the subject. The essence is in rational dictation writing. In this, it is close to shorthand, but you can remove all the “water” that slips into speech.

How should a student make notes?

Instead of “thus”, “therefore”, “depends on”, “interconnected”, etc. words, you can use graphic signs (for example, arrows). You can use abbreviations that you understand, highlight the main thing, shorten long phrases. The main thing is highlighted after or during the lecture – it depends on the speed of the lecturer’s speech.

This is a good option for the humanities. Suitable for training high-speed fixation of lectures. It is worth mastering – in the future you will be able to use the elements of a schematic outline.

Method 2. Summary of the Cornell method

This is already more difficult. Divide the sheet into three parts. Most of the page will be occupied by two columns of equal width, there should be another field at the bottom (about 7 cm wide).

In the right column, we write down the main thoughts from the lecture, as well as facts and examples that complement these thoughts. 

Immediately after the lecture,  fill in the left column. Here we write down words and short phrases illustrating each thought. In short, everything that you did not have time to write down during the lecture, but remained in your memory.

We assign the lower field to the main idea of the lesson. We determine what exactly is most important in the lecture, what is the purpose of the lecturer.

The Cornell method is optimal for memorizing a lecture. By putting a two-hour lesson on one page, you will be able to fix its contents in memory. You won’t have to “cram” such a synopsis – just look at it before the exam.

Method 3. Graphic summary

It is convenient when studying technical sciences. It is based on graphs, diagrams, tables, drawings of one type or another. If the lecture is supported by presentations, you can transfer the image to a notebook.

It is not necessary to shorthand the words of the lecturer, but there should be explanations.

A graphic summary can also be used in the study of the humanities, but this is much more difficult and not suitable for everyone.

Other methods of taking notes exist, but they are not always suitable for recording lectures.

Motor, auditory, visual memory is, of course, fine. But at the lecture, it is important not just to remember the material, but to understand what the teacher is talking about. No one has ever become successful by cramming. These methods of taking notes will help you understand the material and save your nerves, notebooks, and pens.

All you need to Know About Getting Masters in Singapore

How should a student make notes?

How should a student make notes?

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