Why is Note Taking Important?There are some instances where note taking isn’t required — but I’m here to tell you that you should probably do it anyway! Taking notes in some form prompts you to stay alert and focused on the material. It helps you concentrate, and it helps you learn, which is why you’re in class in the first place.
Types of Note TakingIn high school, I was a strict paper-and-pen student. Writing and rewriting notes was my go-to study method. However, as a college student, I started typing my notes on my laptop.
The Five R’sYou might not know the official name for this method of note taking, but you probably already incorporate some form of the Five R’s in your note taking and studying routine. The Five R’s notetaking technique is promoted by many major universities and is a great way to start taking notes and studying them.
- Record The first R is record, which is relatively straightforward. During your classes, lectures, videos, etc., record all information you deem important to remember. When I take handwritten notes, I typically focus on trying to jot everything down and worry about making them look nice later.
- Reduce Second, we’ll try to reduce all this information and pick out the main ideas. This is usually the step where I take a look at all my notes and try to decide what’s most important to know. Then, I go back and rewrite these main ideas and summaries, making it look nice and legible.
- Recite I usually recite my notes when I study in preparation for a quiz or test. After having written all your notes out in your preferred form, take some time to talk through all the information in your own words. Refrain from simply reciting definitions or explanations but make sense of your notes in your words. Then, go back and make sure your understanding of the information is correct.
- Reflect This step is often overlooked by many students, including myself at times, but it can be very helpful in retaining and applying information. Reflecting upon your notes can help you make significant connections both within and outside of the classroom. When going over your notes, try to reflect upon the information and how it applies to the class and even other classes. It may take some time to fully benefit from this step but reflecting upon your notes will make a great difference.
- Review The final R is review, review, review! Take a quick 5 or 10 minutes every day or week to review your notes so that, by the time the test or quiz rolls around, you’ll know just about everything. Reviewing is key for retention.