In general education courses, the lecture is generally the source of virtually all of the test questions. In most of these cases, power point presentations are given during lecture, and sometimes the material comes straight from the readings assigned. You can sometimes access the power point slides in advance of class and print them off.
Many students will use the power point slides as their notes. The slides themselves will be of limited value unless you capture what was being said about the content on the slides. The slides are good, but sometimes the material that’s going to be on the exam comes straight from what’s being said in class. This can be the deciding factor of your grade on the exam.
Here’s how to take notes in general education classes.
- If your teacher posts the powerpoints online, print them off and bring them to class. This way, you can focus on everything that the teacher is saying, and not copying all of the information from the power point.
- Off to the side of each power point slide, capture what was being said in class.
- Put a star by any point that was being emphasized.
- During the presentation, make flash cards of items you think might be on the test (See the topic Making Flash Cards). Making the flash cards will help you focus more on what is being said.
- For definitions, write the word on the front of the flash card and the definition on the back.
- Don’t just write down everything the teacher says–especially if the teacher has a lot of notes for you to take and you are spending too much time writing the notes and not listening to the teacher. Make sure you are paying attention rather than just copying notes that way when you look back at the notes you understand the context of what you were writing.
- Write down examples used in class. These can help you recall key concepts.
- Don’t just copy the slides word for word. If you don’t understand something wait until the teacher goes over it and write it down in your own words. It is useless to write down things you don’t understand or will not be able to interpret later.
Here’s how to take notes in general education classes without powerpoint slides available.
- Look for words or phrases that are underlined or bolded in the powerpoint and words emphasized in lecture, these are obviously important.
- Set up your notes in an outline form (this will make for easier studying later).
Using Google can also help you with your note taking. You’re not going to understand all the terms that are being used in class so the search engine is always helpful.
Here is a useful FREE tool http://www.tucows.com/preview/361546to helping you be able to take effective notes in class using your computer and paper. There is a free program online that is completely virus free that actually records what your teacher says and translates it into text onto a Microsoft Word or WordPad document. If you do not mind bringing your laptop to class with you this will help you out tremendously if your professor lectures at a fast pace. Also, bring a notebook so that if any examples are written down on the board you can record them, when you save the word document be sure to save it with the same name that you have titled the paper notes so that you can find it easily when it comes time to study.
Learning how to take good notes and study them is a part of adjusting to college and succeeding academically. There are many different methods and techniques to note taking, each person has their own style of note taking that works best for them. Some students even use two, three, or four different techniques in order to have the most complete notes and notes that are easy to study. Most students use the conventional pencil and paper to write down what the professor says and writes on the board while listening to the lecture. This method is great, however it does not work for some students. If this is your preference, create a word document for each class you have. You can create your notes in any format you prefer, mainly writing down definitions, equations, facts, statistics and other comments of your teacher. Bold and underline main points to help you create notes you can easily study. If there is a power point or notes already online, it does help to have a printed copy of them with you to jot certain things down and also mark emphasized information. Having a computer also gives you the ability to record your grade at any time and the ability to keep a list of homework and due dates for every class.
There are so many different methods to use to succeed in college academically. You need to find what works for you and use it well..