I am back with another collaborative series. I got some awesome people to give you some tips on studying and taking notes like a pro, but I am also going to share my favorite study and note-taking tips mixed in with some anecdotes about stuff I notice freshmen doing while taking notes.
First things first I am going to share the Slideshare I made with lots of advice on taking notes in a college course:
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So now on to my advice on taking notes.
Don't word for word it
Last fall I took Intro to Poetry with a rather difficult English teacher. It was a fun course but I noticed the freshmen took her PowerPoint slides a little too seriously. She didn't put them up unless she couldn't cover them all in class, so the freshmen in my class nearly broke their hands trying to get all the information down. I knew several freshmen who ended up with an A in the class, but I did too–with half the effort. Sometimes it's not about getting down all the words, but about getting down all the information from the words. I love turning stories into something I can digest, rather than throwing up a professors words on the paper. You get so much more out of a class when you are forced to think about the words you are writing versus just writing them.
Don't use other people's study methods as your own
Studying is subjective. I can give you all the study tips in the world, and it's a possibility that none of them will work for you. Don't gravitate toward the A student in the class and say I have to study like that person. People get As in different ways. Find the method that works for you and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. This whole post is subjective if you think about it. I just told you not to word for word it, but that method works for a lot of people. The important thing is to realize you don't have to word for word it, but if that makes you happy and gets you good grades go for it.
Office hours are your best friend
Let me tell you a little something about office hours, they are hardly ever used nuggets of amazing. Your professors are literally sitting in their offices for hours wanting and waiting for students to visit them. They have to be there anyway, might as well help someone while they are there. Go to those office hours. It will show that you are trying to succeed in the class and that you care. It's a great way to get some extra studying in and avoid those I have no idea what I am doing moments when you are studying.
Image from Open Book Toronto
Don't use the same study method for each class
Different classes require different study methods. You wouldn't study for anatomy the same way you study for sociology because they require different levels of learning and thinking. One is more about memorization and one is more about analyzing and critical thinking. Make sure your study method matches your classes.
Learn your learning style
If you want to be successful in college you have to learn your learning style. A lot of professors use a lot of auditory styles in their class, with a bit of visual thrown in now and again. If you are a kinetic learner you might hate this. There are ways to compensate for your teachers style of lecturing though if you know the study style you prefer. For me, I personally do well with auditory so I do well in most parts of college, but I hate labs! Labs are definitely geared toward kinetic learners. I do well in labs, I just hate doing them.
Even in classes where you didn't think kinetic or hands-on learning would happen, it does. Like in my Social Stats class we did Stats exercises where we got to work with computer programming geared to help us do our stats excercises. This was a way to get more hands on with the work we did. There are plenty of ways to get hands on, so don't be afraid to look. The internet is a magical place full of ways to learn about different ways of learning.
I hope these study tips helped you as you begin to think about taking notes and learning in classes. Did you know that I have a growing library of college related freebies? Sign up below: