1. Prepare for Class
I’ve said this before, but it’s important for getting ahead and easily understanding lecture material. Read assigned textbook pages, complete work sheets or homework, and print out powerpoints if you prefer to.
2. Write neatly
I’ve also said this before, but you need to be able to read what you write! Your notes are useless otherwise. If you have poor handwriting, really work on improving it. Not only does it affect your ability to study efficiently but it effects professors as well when they are trying to read your short answer exam questions. You have gone through 12 years of grade school, handwriting should not be a problem in college!
3. Organize your notes
Whether you’re writing in a notebook or using a binder to hold looseleaf paper, it is important to keep it organized and in tact. Write everything in order, include the date, the chapter, textbook pages or powerpoint slides that correlate, and indicate which notes correspond to each test. Be sure you know which binder/notebook belongs to which class so you don’t mistake one for the other. You can resolve this issue by purchasing different notebook patterns, colors, or even by using different colored tape or paper on the covers. This will help you in the long run with studying.
4. Purchase cute supplies
I love, love, love school/office supplies, especially cute ones! Target, Wal-Mart, and all office supply stores have a huge variety of adorable supplies! You can get multi-colored, multi-shaped sticky notes, pencil pouches with different designs, and notebooks in all colors and patterns you can imagine! Fun supplies motivate me to take good notes and write neatly.
5. Use color
I prefer to write all my notes in either blue or black, and then use highlighters and colored pens to draw attention to important things. Using colors will capture your eye when studying, and using them while taking notes could help you stay alert and awake during class as you switch between colors. This also gives you an excuse to purchase more awesome school supplies!
First, make sure your professors approve of you recording them speaking, and ensure them that you won’t sell/distribute it. Recording lectures are especially great for days that you are tired and have a short attention span. You can go back and listen to it when you need to. Even if you are paying attention, you may miss a few things as you’re trying to write down something else. Just be sure you give a title (if you can) and date on each recording so you don’t get lectures confused or mixed up.