The Importance of Effective Note Taking

Teachers provide students with information, but students need to invest in learning for themselves. Previewing course curriculum, taking notes, and reviewing notes helps students to learn coursework. Ultimately, learning to take effective notes is key to academic success.

Beyond helping students to dissect the most important facts presented in a classroom lesson, note taking helps students to stay organized, alert, and engaged. Moreover, note taking makes students better listeners.

When students are taking notes, their bodies are actively involved in the lesson. To be active listeners, students need to overcome distractions. They learn to become more focused, and they can readily overcome drowsiness.

As students learn to take effective notes, they learn to distinguish the important facts from the superfluous information. They learn how to summarize and dissect lessons, quickly and clearly.

Speed is essential to effective note-taking. This helps students learn to think on their feet and quickly decipher information, helping to improve students’ processing speed.

Since classroom lessons tend to move quickly, effective note taking requires greater concentration, previews, and reviews of information. Learning to prepare for lessons ahead of time and review what you’ve learned from your notes reinforces positive study skills and builds academic competence.

When students take effective notes, they learn to be organized. Note taking compels students to learn to organize their thoughts as well as their physical work product. This helps make learning more linear and methodical. This also helps students to retain information long-term.

Students should explore different methods of note-taking to figure out which style will allow them to determine what works best for them. Students can take notes verbatim, writing everything down that the teacher says and re-organizing the notes later. Taking notes in outline form, picking out and writing down the teacher’s main points, requires quick processing skills and practice. Students can also employ the Cornell Method of note taking, which involves dividing the paper into sections, taking verbatim notes in class and then deciphering the important facts after class.

In the end, whichever method of note taking a student chooses, he must commit to readily engage in active learning in and out of class to become confident and knowledgeable. 


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