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Think carefully about whether to use a laptop to take notes. Laptops can be useful tools for note-taking, but recent research suggests perhaps unsurprisingly they can be distracting, both to you and other students. Furthermore, because most students can type significantly faster than they can write, taking notes by laptop tends to encourage transcribing the lecture word-for-word, rather than critically thinking about what is important—even if students have been advised against transcription.

First and foremost, actively review your notes after the lecture, preferably within 24 hour to maximize future recall.

Benefits of Notetaking?

You should therefore try to make a habit of reviewing your notes as soon as possible after the lecture. Some students recopy their notes, and while this can be useful in some cases, it is often time-consuming and may not contribute to your understanding of the material if done in a purely rote manner.

How to study efficiently: The Cornell Notes Method

Consult with other students and compare lecture notes, not as a substitute for attending lecture and taking your own notes, but in order to identify what other students thought was important, interesting, or unclear. Sources Kiewra, Kenneth A.

Effective note-taking | Imperial students | Imperial College London

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Columbia CSA on Instagram. CSArts on Soundcloud. No matter what the distractions may be — noises, worries, or people — you must take responsibility for concentrating on what a class provides.


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No one else can listen for you. Make a commitment to listen even when it is difficult and reduce any distractions for yourself. Focus on central themes. As you take notes, imagine that you must summarize the information you record to others after class.

The ultimate guide to effective note-taking at work

This will force you to decide on essential information to pass along. Use your extra speed of thought to make sense of what you are hearing. Of course, this kind of thinking requires concentration. If you prepare for class by doing assigned reading and reviewing previous class notes, you will be well prepared position to take in and organize new information you hear.

Come prepared to learn. Maintain your focus. When your mind wanders, refocus. Prioritize that personal connection by ditching your laptop as a note-taking device and opt for a small, unobtrusive notebook.

A Framework for Note Prioritization

I typed notes, jotted down action items, and distributed the minutes of almost each one of my meetings. Sometimes a personal connection is more important than recording every single word. Brainstorming sessions can be a flurry of activity with ideas flying.

What Makes a Great Note Taking App?

When your team brainstorms, you need to be able to record a lot of information quickly, capture unusual concepts and combine, refine and build on those ideas. You need the freedom to be able to record whatever comes up, be they words, sketches, diagrams, photos or other visual elements. You can use good old fashioned paper or a whiteboard, but an online mind mapping tool allows you to share mind maps with the team or save maps so you can come back to them later. They also offer an endless amount of space, so your map can be as big as it needs to be. Interviews can take lots of forms.

In these situations, look to journalistic methods of taking notes for tips.

Clark also says you should record the interview but not rely on the recorder completely. According to one UCLA study , even when you use your laptop solely for note-taking and not browsing social media or getting distracted by email notifications processing still might be more shallow than it would be with handwritten notes.

You can draw from several academic note-taking systems , like outlining or charting, but the Cornell Method is most applicable to professional situations.