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How to make good notes during class

Published on 14 August 2019·Latest update at 30 August 2019
Studying and learning - How to make good notes during class

While one person takes notes on a laptop, the other prefers making notes with a pen on paper. These days, a laptop is often required for every course, since study materials are usually distributed online. Furthermore, typing is often quicker than writing. Even so, scientific research states that making notes with pen and paper is beneficial since you remember the contents better. All in all, there are different opinions on how to make the best notes during class, which is why this article explains the pros and cons of different methods.


Go to class

During class, the professor gives an overview of the content of the course and explains difficult concepts. Most of the times, additional information is provided that may be required to write down during an exam. By going to class, you can check if you understand the information correctly and ask questions. Asking questions means actively participating in class, which will enhance your knowledge on the subject and make preparation for your exam easier.


Be prepared

When going to class, make sure that you have read through the required materials beforehand. This way, you know what will be discussed during class and you will be able to ask more precise questions. Also, you will retain more information.


Making good notes on your laptop

Pros

- Typing is quicker than writing

- You can easily adapt your notes afterward

- Notes are easy to organize

- You can find your notes quickly (if you use a good system to store your notes)

- You are likely to make less grammatical and spelling errors because of autocorrecting

- It’s easy to sell your notes (via Stuvia, for example)

- You can easily copy images of models and theories into your notes


Cons

- If your laptop crashes, you’re likely to lose your progress. Always use Google Drive, Dropbox or e-mail as a backup

- It is easier to get distracted by social media such as WhatsApp, Facebook or Instagram


Writing good notes on paper

Pros

- Scientific research shows that writing down notes enhances your understanding of the material, as well as retain the information better

- You write down only the necessary information, which will make a more efficient summary


Cons

- Notes on paper may become disorganized

- Writing by hand takes more time than typing

- If the teacher speaks quickly, you may not be able to keep up

- You could lose or damage your notes (hello, rainy day! Bye, notes that are soaked)


There is no good or wrong way to take notes, so feel free to choose the method that suits you best and helps you learn the most efficiently!

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