Perfecting Note Taking for University

There is no doubt that the standard of note taking expected in high school in comparison to university is incredibly different. Teachers provide more group time and are more attentive if a student is distracted in class. Professors on the other hand have so many students to cater to that they seldom ask students to get off their phone and pay attention. Because of this they are also incapable of monitoring the notes that are written by their students.

Melanie Timmons, a first year student at Ryerson says that she cannot believe how vast the difference is, and how she was never expected to stay fully alert for two hours taking notes. This is why it is important to develop note taking skills in high school; this is what the student will use to study from.

There are a number of note taking methods that are useful to university students for example:

  • Summarizing the notes in your own words: don’t copy what a teacher says verbatim, it will make it hard to follow along with the teacher and it will also be difficult to find important elements of the class when studying
  • Use abbreviations: it is helpful to use abbreviations in class, especially big words when the professor is still talking. If it helps write a legend in your textbook what each abbreviated word means
  • Ask a tutor: if the student finds that it is hard to get the essential parts of the class written down, sit with a tutor and they can discover what method would benefit the student with their learning style
  • Using symbols: it may be useful for a student to use symbols on a computer or writing on paper. These symbols can also be used to draw attention to certain parts of the text so they know what will be useful to study for upcoming tests
  • Make sure to attend every class and if one was missed it is always possible to ask a peer and to read their notes immediately to make sure they are easily understood