Note-Taking Methods for College
Taking notes is essential in Math class (as well as in all college subjects!) Establishing effective note-taking methods for college is one way to earn good grades and is an important element of effective study techniques.
By taking careful notes, you can:
- Record how the instructor has explained procedures.
- Record what examples the instructor has demonstrated.
- Develop good organizational skills.
- Record important class information such as homework assignments and test dates.
Note-Taking Strategies for College
Study Tips for College Students
- Come to class with a positive attitude; this will help you focus, concentrate and get the most out of the lecture.
- Sit close to the front of class as possible to improve your concentration and vision.
- Stay focused on the content of the lecture.
- Do not be distracted by classmates or daydreams.
- Relate important points to concepts you already know.
- Ask the instructor for clarification, if you don't understand.
- Listen for words the signal important information.
- Tips for improving your listening skills can be found at:
- UC Berkeley (scroll down to "A System for Effective Listening and Note-taking")
- How good are your listening habits? Check out the ten bad listening habits.
- Bring pencils and paper to class and take Math notes in pencil, not pen.
- Always use the same notebook to take note for your Math class. Your paper should be 8.5" by 11" in size.
- Date each notebook entry.
- Keep your Math notes separate from notes from your other courses.
- Copy down everything that the instructor writes on the board. If the instructor takes the time to write something, it is important.
- Take notes, even though your understanding may not be complete.
- Develop a good note-taking system. Ideas for note-taking systems can be found here:
- Study strategies from UC Berkeley.
- Review and reorganize your notes as soon as possible after class.
- Write clearly and legibly.
- Rewrite ideas in your own words.
- Highlight important ideas, examples and issues with colored pens.
- Review your class notes before the next class period.
- Ask questions during office hours or the next class period if there are items that are unclear.
- Review all your notes at least once per week to get a perspective on the course.
- Think about what you have written and connect it with other Math concepts.
- Begin to remember definitions, procedures, concepts, theorems, and formulas that are in your notes.
- Compare your lecture notes to the ideas, explanations and examples in the textbook.