Note taking is a great skill to have because having good study notes is crucial for exam success. There is a lot you can do to improve your note taking skills so you don’t have to go scour the internet 2 days before the examination!
The right medium.
Do you write faster on a laptop or on paper? Do you have difficulty concentrating when sitting at the back of the room? If these matters are addressed properly they can have a positive effect on your note taking skills.
If you feel that you can’t keep up with the lecturer (and this may happen if you aren’t used to taking notes), it may help if you buy a voice recorder or just use your phone or laptop to record the lecture.
There is no way anyone can ever write everything the lecturer says. Jot down key ideas in big, clear writing, and then write more specific points underneath. This will help you organize your notes and make sense of it later. You can skip smaller words such as “the” or “in”- anything that’ll take up your writing time without adding any value to your notes. It will also help tremendously if you assign abbreviations to large words that are used often in the lecture.
Using these tips, you should be able to shrink a sentence such as this:
“Geosequestration is one of the many ways to control our carbon dioxide emissions”
“GS- a way to control CO2 levels”
You can shorten ideas as much as you like, just make sure your notes make sense and that you’re not taking any information away by shortening your notes.
Examples to support your main idea are extremely important. You may have difficulty understanding a topic 2 months after the lecture unless you see it being applied on paper. Where applicable, try to give an example based on what the lecturer is talking about. Quick diagrams are good where possible- for example, if you’re studying organic chemistry, molecular diagrams are a must!
Summarize and edit your notes afterwards.
While you’re in class you may not have had time to think about what you learned. A good revision tactic is to look through, and perhaps rewrite some parts of your notes.
If I have the time, I like to opt to rewrite the day’s notes on separate pieces of paper (i.e. not in the book I wrote my original notes in) and add extensive examples and diagrams (the Internet helps heaps here) as well as underlining or color-coding important information. When it comes to exam time, you have lots and lots of thorough and clearly written notes that’ll help tremendously with exam revision.
Many of you probably ask yourself a variation of this question from time to time:
Am I studying enough?
If you feel like you should be studying more, feelings such as guilt and regret that you didn’t study enough for a certain subject or exam may arise.
These feelings are negative, and they must be addressed for your peace of mind.
The obvious answer to guilt for not studying enough is to study more.
The problem, however, lies in the fact that that the word “more” is very subjective.
More time or more effort?
I’ve got a confession to make. There have been days where I’ve decided that I’d study 8 hours in one day for an upcoming exam- only to get about 3-4 hours of work done because of distractions. You might be guilty of that too; infact, I won’t be surprised that this happens to everyone more often than they’d like to admit.
Rather than wasting four of those 8 hours, I could have allotted 6 hours instead to that same task, while making only one other change: putting more effort in. The results?
I would have gotten 2-3 hours more work done,
I wouldn’t have felt like a time waster afterwards, and
I’d have a couple of hours to relax and get to work on my website
See the difference? By now you might be thinking, “This is obvious! Why are you telling me this?”
Because it needs to be said over and over again before people realize that poor effort leads to poor results! The sooner you come to accept this, the quicker you can move on and save TIME while getting MORE done!
So, rather than allotting lots of time to a certain number of goals that you need to accomplish, you’ll want to work smarter and harder over a shorter period of time rather than working slower and without your full effort over a longer time.
By doing so, you’ll be able to accomplish more than your peers while having more time for other commitments (or just leisure time!)
So just remember-
Set definite goals!
Set a tight deadline for those goals. Minimize (or completely remove, if you know how to stay in the now) leeway time.
Work hard, and, more importantly, work smart.
In the journey to studying success, there will be times where you just want to give up.
There will be times where you just want to set fire to your text books and go live in a jungle, where exam marks and difficult assignments are only myths.
But remember, if you want it badly enough, you are going to find a way to get it.
I have always believed that people who try harder than everyone else will generally see better results than everyone else. I believe this holds true unless you have a legitimate mental disability that impairs your ability to learn.
You can whine, complain and moan and tell me that the reason you didn’t get into the course you wanted was because your teachers don’t know how to teach or that you weren’t born as smart as everyone else. Well guess what? If you hold yourself accountable for your own failures or successes, you will realize that these things simple do. not. matter.
Tell me, do you want studying success? Do you want it BADLY? Are you willing to skip on your precious Friday nights out to study for your exams? Tell me, how many of you are willing to put down your freaking smart-phone to study for hours and hours a day? Doesn’t sound hard, does it? To find answers on your questions, use a helpful StudyFAQ Platform, where you will find Student QA service.
Then why the hell are most people unable to do so?
Because we love making excuses. We love screwing up because of our laziness and blaming our ineptitude on a bad lecturer or even our own genetics. Even having the nerve to do this is an insult to all the successful people out there- do you think they just got lucky, that they didn’t have to work for this, and that they were literally handed the right opportunities and environment? NO! They got here because they invested their time, sweat and blood into their craft; because they were willing to do what it takes when ninety-nine percent of people were not.
So stop screwing around. From today onwards, YOU will be totally responsible for putting in enough effort so that you achieve the goals YOU want to achieve, and that as long as you live you will always acknowledge that you have the sole responsibility over your academic and career path.
And remember, if it is important to you, you will find a way. Be consistent in your efforts, don’t give up, and know that hard work always beats talent.
Get out there and make yourself proud!
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