Did you know that how you take notes can impact how much you remember and understand the material?
Note-taking plays a crucial role in effective learning and information retention. It allows individuals to capture and organise important ideas and concepts presented in lectures, textbooks, or other sources of information.
This article will provide useful tips and techniques for taking good notes, highlighting common mistakes to avoid, and suggesting the best practices to adopt for more efficient and effective note-taking.
Aa a former student, I’ve been through it myself, and I find that even though i’ve graduated from university, I still take notes every single day. It really is a lifetime skill that you’ll want to master!
This post is all about common note-taking mistakes for students to avoid.
COMMON NOTE-TAKING MISTAKES FOR STUDENTS
Why Effective Note-Taking is Important
Effective note-taking is a crucial ability that can enhance learning and retention. By jotting down notes, you can process information in a better way and make it easier to recall later. Note-taking enables you to actively engage with the material, which aids in comprehending it more deeply and retaining it for an extended period.
Importance of effective note-taking for college and high school students
Note-taking is particularly crucial for high school and college students, as they are expected to learn and retain an enormous amount of information within a limited time frame. Effective note-taking can assist students in staying current with the coursework, comprehending the material better, and preparing for exams.
Importance of effective note-taking for university students
Effective note-taking is crucial for university students as it helps them to actively engage in lectures, process and retain information, and review key concepts for exams. Good note-taking skills also enhance critical thinking and analysis, and can serve as a valuable reference for future assignments and research projects.
How good note-taking can lead to good grades
Good note-taking skills can have a direct impact on your grades. When you take comprehensive notes, you have a reliable reference that you can utilize to study and prepare for exams. You can easily review your notes and refresh your memory, which can help you perform better on assignments and exams. Therefore, mastering effective note-taking techniques can ultimately lead to achieving better grades.
Getting good grades should be one of your top goals to achieve in your academic career. If you’re unsure what student goals to set, check out my article on Top 20 Study Hacks to Smash Your Student Study Goals
Did you know that how you take notes can impact how much you remember and understand the material? I asked you this question before at the start of the article. Here’s why choosing an effective note-taking method is a good thing.
Taking notes is an essential part of the learning process, and there are different methods you can use to make your note-taking more effective and efficient. Handwritten notes are a traditional but effective method that can help you better understand and retain information. You can use techniques like Cornell notes, outlining, and mind maps to organise your notes and identify key information.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
Mistake #1: Not paying close attention
One of the biggest mistakes people make when taking notes is not paying close attention to what is being said or presented. It is important to actively listen and engage with the material being presented in order to take effective notes.
How to fix the not listening issue:
Rather than taking notes blindly, students should focus on actively listening to the lecture ro seminar, identifying key points, and jotting them down in your own words.
Mistake #2: Writing Down Every Single Thing
Another common mistake is either writing too much or too little. This can happen when someone is either trying to write down every single detail or is not paying close enough attention to the important information. It is important to find a balance and write down the most important information. Check out my article on How to take study notes when Reading.
How to fix writing too much or too little issue:
Instead, students should focus on capturing the most critical pieces of information, such as the main points, supporting examples, and key takeaways. Teachers/ Professors tend to say words like “it’s important to note…” or “you’ll want to make note of this…” to signal important information that you should be writing down.
Mistake #3: Not reviewing notes soon enough
Waiting too long to review notes can also be a mistake. It is important to revisit notes soon after taking them to ensure that the material is still fresh in your mind and to fill in any gaps in your notes.
How to fix not reviewing notes issue:
Review your notes as soon after the lecture or seminar is over to reinforce the new information you just learned and to disrupt the forgetting curve.
Related Article: Top Tips On How To Take Notes At University and Ace Your Final Exams
Mistake #4: Focusing too much on details instead of main ideas
Lastly, another common mistake is focusing too much on details instead of the main ideas. It is important to identify the key concepts and main points and then fill in the details later.
How to fix this issue:
Jot down the big ideas in your own words, jot down your thoughts in the moment about the ideas and what you understand about the key ideas.
Mistake #5: Not Organising Notes
Effective note-taking requires organization. Without proper organization, notes can be challenging to read and understand, which defeats the purpose of taking notes in the first place. Students should use bullet points, headings, and subheadings to organise their notes and make them easier to navigate during revision.
How to fix lack of organisational of your notes issue:
Students should use bullet points, headings, and subheadings to organise their notes and make them easier to navigate during revision.
Related Article: 45+ Best Tips on How to Organize School Supplies [Easy Ways]
Mistake #6: Not Asking Questions
Taking notes is not a passive activity; it is an interactive process. Students should feel free to ask questions during the lecture to clarify any doubts or misunderstandings. I did this and it helped alot! but you may get weird looks from the other students who are either too shy to put their hand up to ask or too lazy to be bothered to ask any questions. This approach can help them gain a deeper understanding of the subject and improve their note-taking skills.
How to fix not asking questions issue:
This one is easy, just ask questions. It takes courage to put your hands up and ask, trust me I know but if you want to get the most out of your learning, then you need to get over your shyness and just ask.
Mistake #7: Not Customising Notes
Not all students learn in the same way, and taking notes in a standardised format may not be effective for everyone. Amanote provides a customizable note-taking system that allows students to take notes in a way that works best for them. Students can add mathematical or chemical formulas, drawings, charts, and code, making their notes more comprehensive and understandable. Furthermore, Amanote is compatible with a Pencil on computer and tablet, making it ideal for aesthetic notes.
How to fix customising notes issue:
There are many things that you can do to customise your notes making it more aesthetically pleasing and easier to understand, this includes taking your own notes using short-hand. Check out my article on Note Taking Shortcuts – The Easy Way
Mistake #8: Not Sharing Notes
Sharing notes with friends can be an effective way to learn and remember information. Amanote simplifies the process of sharing notes by offering a code that allows students to share their notes with ease. This feature is especially helpful for students who were unable to attend a lecture or require further explanation on specific topics.
How to fix the not sharing issue:
There are numerous ways to share you notes with someone. The most effective way is to use collaborative programs such as Teams, Google Docs and utilise the sharing features built-in.
Mistake #9: Not Using Visuals or Diagrams
Unlock the power of your notes by using visuals and diagrams to reinforce information and make it easier to remember. Don’t forget to ask questions and clarify information to ensure accuracy and completeness. And when you come across a key phrase or quote, use quotation marks to make it stand out!
How to fix the visuals/ diagram issues:
You can try drawing the visuals and diagrams yourself, you don’t have to be picasso, but sketching out the underlying concept and important points can help you better understand and retain the material. The same can be said for drawing mind maps.
Mistake #10: Not being prepared
This is one of the most common note-taking mistakes that almost all student make at some point in their academic career is not preparing for every class. This could mean you haven’t done the required reading, or research. Not having the appropriate material sich as a pen, notebook etc.
How to fix not being prepared issue:
This one is so easy, you need to do the work. Uni work is meant to challenge you, nothing will grow in your comfort zone, so get ‘uncomfortable’ and do the hard work.
Now that we’ve got that covered, let’s dive into some of the tools that you may need for effective note-taking.
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Tools for Note-Taking
Pen and Paper
Ah, the good ol’ pen and paper! It’s like the grandparent of note-taking methods – traditional and reliable, but not exactly the coolest kid on the block. But let’s give it some credit, shall we? Despite being ancient, it’s still got some perks. For one, it’s so easy to use that even your grandma could handle it (no offense, grandma).
Plus, you don’t have to worry about it running out of battery or losing internet connection like those fancy computers and mobile devices. And let’s not forget the best part – no pesky notifications to distract you from your brilliant ideas! So next time you’re debating between pen and paper or technology, remember that sometimes the old school way is the way to go.
Oh, computers, the ultimate multitasking tool! With lightning-fast speed and efficiency, taking notes on a computer is like having a personal assistant – minus the attitude.
The only annoying think about taking notes with computers are the endless notifications, emals and social media updated, and the junk email notifications.
Don’t even get me started on the horror of losing all your hard work due to random computer crashes. So, remember to keep your files backed up.
PRO TIP: Take advantage of your university FREE online cloud storage and use that to back up your assignments, etc. Trust me- better safe than sorry!
Oh, those trusty mobile devices! They’re like the Batman utility belt of note-taking, always at the ready no matter where you go. They’re so light and portable that you can carry them in your pocket, backpack, or even your man-purse (no judgment here). And with the ability to sync your notes across multiple devices, you’ll feel like a tech-savvy superhero! But hold on tight, my friend, because the tiny screen size can be a real catch-22.
On one hand, it keeps things neat and tidy, but on the other hand taking detailed notes can feel like trying to thread a needle with oven mitts on. And let’s not forget about the risk of distraction – with social media, games, and cat videos just a tap away, it’s a wonder anyone gets any work done. So, if you’re brave enough to dive into the world of mobile note-taking, just remember to stay focused and keep your eyes on the prize (or the notes, in this case).
PRO TIP: If your taking notes on your mobile, just me sure to let your professors know just so they don’t think you’re being disrespectful and not paying attention to their lectures.
Related Article 2 Secret Note Taking Technique
Styles of Note-Taking
The best way to take effective notes is to figure out which note-taking method works best for you. This will depend on personal preference and a little bit of practice. Now, that we’ve covered the most common note-taking mistake to avoid, here are some of the most common note-taking styles for you to experiment with to see which ones works best for you:
One traditional note-taking method is by hand, where you write down important information in your own words. Handwritten notes aid in better understanding and retaining the material.
Cornell notes are one technique that divides your notes into three sections: the main notes section, the cue column, and the summary section, making it useful for summarizing the main points of a lecture or reading.
Revolutionize the way you learn with Mind Mapping! This powerful technique uses visual diagrams to help you grasp complex information and easily understand the relationships between different concepts.
Looking to simplify a complex topic? Look no further than the outline method! By breaking down the main topic into smaller, more manageable subtopics, you can easily tackle even the most daunting subjects.
Plus, by using visual cues like lines, letters, and key words, you can emphasize critical information and related concepts. Don’t forget to use the cue column on the left for notes and the right-hand column for any additional information or personal thoughts.
Do you struggle to understand and remember important information? Paraphrasing can help! This method involves restating the information in your own words, which can make it easier to grasp and retain.
Final thoughts on common note taking mistakes for students…
While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to note-taking, students can benefit from trying out different techniques and finding what works best for them. Additionally, it’s important to review and summarize notes soon after taking them, as well as avoiding common mistakes like not paying close attention or writing too much or too little.
This post was all about common note taking mistakes for students.
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