What Are The Best Ways To Take Notes at University

Being in university is a lengthy process for all. Hours of lectures, academic reading, essays, tests, and the list goes on… It can be difficult to find effective ways to process and store all the information when there’s so much of it. But stress no more; we’ve got you covered.

Focus on key points

Many students make the mistake of trying to quickly scribble down every word the lecturer says. This won’t help you when looking back over your notes. Instead, write clear, concise points that include key information you need to remember.

If technology helps you take notes faster, invest in a good laptop or tablet with a stylus to get creative with your note-taking while satisfying your tech addiction. Use colour-coding techniques and highlight keywords to make your notes stand out.

If you’re an auditory learner, it may be really helpful to audio record the lectures for you to listen back over at a later date. If you are a writing learner, use the Cornell method to make note-taking and revision fun.

Avoid distractions

It’s easy to get distracted at university when there are other things you want to be doing with the time spent in lectures, studying at the library, and writing assignments. However, we can help ourselves a lot by removing as many distractions as possible. 

For more efficient note-taking and revision sessions at home, remove any technology, such as phones and TV, so you won’t feel compelled to keep scrolling on Instagram or get lost in an hour-long episode of Friends, which leads to four hours on Netflix instead of working. If background noise distracts you, it may be beneficial to play a study playlist to put you in the zone or study alone if your friends prevent you from doing any work.

For note-taking in lectures, having a notepad or laptop with you to take notes will help you remember important bits of information you’ll need for future exams. It may also help to sit away from your friends so you don’t find yourself gossiping for two hours and missing the whole lecture.

Finding your learning style

One reason students tend to struggle so much with note-taking and revision is that they haven’t taken the time or been encouraged to discover what their learning style is. It’s so easy to procrastinate revision or shut off during lectures if all the approaches you know towards learning don’t work for you.

To help you discover your learning style, here is a list of the different types:

  1. Visual Learners: You learn best through visual aids. This can range from YouTube videos, charts and diagrams to mind maps, and written notes. You’ll find it easier to decipher and retain information this way.
  2. Auditory learners: You find it easier to understand and remember information when it’s spoken to you. Listening to podcasts, watching YouTube videos, sitting through lectures, and having group study sessions may help you revise more efficiently.
  3. Kinesthetic Learners: Kinesthetic learners learn best through practical, hands-on work. You may find it best to revise using activities such as games to test your knowledge, interactive learning with friends, creating visual formats of what you’ve learned, or teaching it to others.
  4. Reading and Writing Learners: Reading and writing learners prefer written materials to retain information and use them as a reference in the future. You may find it beneficial to study textbooks, write extensive revision notes, and practise example essays. 

You will be able to recognise which learning style benefits you the most by analysing how focused you stay with each approach and how much information you absorb. You can also ask friends, family, or tutors to examine how well you do with each one and receive any insights they have through their observations.

We’ve got some great suggestions for the best apps for students, including note taking apps on our blog ‘The top 6 apps for students you should download‘, check it out.