How to Take Notes in Class: The 5 Best Methods – College Info Geek
What is the best system for taking notes in
class? Luckily for you, I did the research and it turns out that there are five different
note taking systems that are generally accepted to be pretty darn good. Of course, I will
be representing these note taking systems with Street Fighter characters because, why
not. The five note taking systems I’m going to
go over in this video include the outline method, the Cornell method, the mind map method,
the flow method and the write on the slides method.
The first note taking system on my list is the outline method. I chose Ryu to represent
it because the outline method is straightforward, based on hierarchy, disciplined and overall
very simple. In fact, you couldn’t get more simple than the outline method unless you
were just straight up writing paragraph notes down. If you think that’s going to be a
good note taking method, well, things are not going to work out for you.
The outline method is a note taking system that’s based on bullet points and hierarchy.
Basically, to take outline style notes you simply create top level bullet points of all
of the main points in the lecture. Then you make lower level bullet points to fill out
all the details. If you’re taking outline notes on paper,
it’s a good idea to either space out your main bullet points or summarize them at the
top if your professor goes through them. Then, make new bullet points that are more detailed
down the line. However, if you’re taking these notes on
a computer like I always did in a program like Evernote or Byword or another word processor,
you can easily go back, add new bullet points and format things without having to mess up
the structure of your document too much. Honestly, for the outline method I think using
a computer is a perfect approach. The second note taking method on my list is the Cornell
method. I’ve chosen Chun-Li to represent it because she’s got multiple kicks and it’s
got multiple sections. The Cornell method was developed by Walter
Pauk back in the 1950s and it still holds up pretty well today. When you take your notes
in the Cornell style, you divide your paper into three distinct sections. On the top of
your paper you’ll two different columns, the left one being the cue column and the
right one being the note taking column. Underneath those two columns you add another
box for the summary. During class, you use the note taking column on the right to write
notes in a normal style. However, this is where the Cornell method deviates from other
note taking systems. As soon as you can after class, you write down questions or cues in
the cue column. These are meant to help you review later.
You also write down a summary of the lecture in the summary column. These two sections
of the Cornell method, the summary and the cue column, they’re both designed to help
you build reviewable notes the first time you write them. That way you don’t have
to go back and rework your notes so much. Note taking system number three is the mind
map method. It’s been said that your mind is a map of the territory that is reality.
Maybe by that logic the mind map system is the perfect note taking system. Actually,
that doesn’t make any sense at all. Either way, I chose Dhalsim to represent the mind
mapping system because he’s a meditator and he’s always focused on improving his
mind. To begin a mind map, you simply take a blank
piece of paper, draw a circle in the middle of it and add the main topic of the lecture
there. Then you’ll start branching off little trees and adding sub topics. Eventually you’ll
have lots of little branches and you’ll create a mind map.
I never actually used mind maps for my class notes but I have used them for blog post topics
before. When I’m wanting to write a blog post on all the ways you could save money
in college I wanted to make sure I could cover all my bases. I created a mind map. I put
saving money in college in the middle and then tried to figure out all the different
facets of a student’s life where they have to spend money.
Building a mind map help me organize all these topics and as a result, I was able to create
a more comprehensive list in the end. The fourth note taking system is the flow method.
This system was invented by the writer Scott Young who’s probably best known for going
through the entire MIT computer science curriculum in a single year.
Scott uses what he calls holistic learning and his approach is diametrically opposed
to the rigid transcribing style of the outline method. As a result, I chose Blanka to represent
this note taking system. His fighting style is that of basically a wild animal and it’s
the complete opposite of more disciplined fighters like Ryu or Guile.
That is a perfect way to describe the flow system of note taking. You’re not trying
to get every single detail from the lecture down to your paper and in fact the point is
not to transcribe the lecture at all. Rather it’s to learn while you are sitting in class.
As you take your notes, your goal is to create an original document that represents your
mental image of the subject. It’s not to record verbatim what your professor said.
As you take notes, you can go back to earlier points, add details, draw on arrows and little
offshoots and basically create something that is your own.
The entire point of the flow system of note taking is to learn it once. This lets you
accelerate your learning and that’s the real strength to this system. Final system
of taking notes is the lazy man’s way of taking notes. I call it the write on the slides
method. To represent this note taking method, I chose Zangief because Zangief.
Seriously, do you really think I put a whole lot of thought into these things? If your
professor actually lets you download the lecture slides before class, then it can be pretty
convenient to just go print them off at the computer lab and write directly on them. One
of the cool things about this method is that the slides more or less mirror the flow of
the lecture. You almost get a timeline view when you take notes on slides.
It’s kind of like SoundCloud where people can actually leave comments at specific times
during an audio file. Taking notes on slides isn’t that accurate but it’s pretty close.
When you do it you can look back and say okay at this slide he was talking about return
on the cost of buzzword synergy management. Those are the real strengths of the method.
You don’t have to write as much because the slides do it for you. You get a timeline
view for your notes. Those are in my humble opinion the best five
note taking systems out there. Which one’s right for you? Hey there, thanks for watching
my video on the different note taking systems you can use. If you like this video, I would
absolutely appreciate it if you could give it a like and share it with a friend who’s
maybe not as good taking notes as you are. Charity’s a good thing right? If you want
to hear more videos every single week on being awesome in college, including more videos
on how to take better notes, which I’ll having coming out in the next couple of weeks,
then hit the subscribe button up in the corner. Yeah, that one. If you missed last week’s
video, you can click the button right under that. It’s not actually a button, it’s
more like a little movie clip but it’ll get you there all the same so whatever. You
want to get links to other websites with additional information on any of these note taking systems
then click the orange logo on the left corner where you’ll find the companion blog post
for this video. If you’d like to get a free chapter of my
book, Hacking Productivity, when it comes out well click that thing. Also, if you would
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