How do you take notes?

I have a friend who takes the most beautiful notes in class, and everything you could need is in her 5-subject notebook. Some other classmates may have a notebook per class; some other classmates may have a notebook for their MWF classes and another one for their TTh classes; some other classmates may have one notebook per subject (i.e. they will put the notes for all their computer science classes in one notebook); some other classmates may grab whatever loose sheet of paper they have. And some classmates may not take notes at all.

In grade school, you learn that you should take notes in class. Everyone. No matter what your learning style is. But now that you’re in college, you can do some more critical thinking. Does taking notes help you? Is there a different way of taking notes that could be more effective?

There are some students who write everything down, copying powerpoint slides word for word, despite the fact that the professor will upload it to Moodle. Some need this kinesthetic exercise to retain information; the visual and oral are not enough.

There are some students who only jot down notes that aren’t already on the slide. They may write it in a notebook, or they may have a printout of the slides and scrawl their own notes on top.

There are some students who don’t take notes at all. Writing may distract them from what is on the board and what the professor is saying. The best way for them to learn is to listen attentively. (Funny story: I have a friend who learns like this, but he brings a notebook to class anyway so that it looks like he’s paying attention, which he is, but it might not look like it. Thus the prop.)

Find your goldilocks zone!

This semester I’ve been trying a new method of using one 1-subject notebook for all my classes, but taking notes for different classes in different coloured pens. This is because I only jot down additional notes that aren’t already provided by the professor online, so I never go through a whole notebook for any class.

How do you take notes?