I used to take notes whenever I listened to a lecture. I used pencil and paper. I am not good at notes taking, because my handwriting is rather slow, but after the lecture I reviewed my notes and I worked to make them clear. It helped me remember the lecture, it helped me understand and learn.

There are many ways to take notes. You can use a laptop, a tablet or the traditional pencil and paper. Whatever the means, it is certainly useful to take notes, to write it down after you hear it.

According to Professor Walter Pauk at Cornell, we forget things easily and the more time passes the more we forget. After 20 minutes we forget 47% of what we are told, after 1 day we forget 62%, and after 75 days we forget about 75%. We need to write it down as soon as we hear it, and then we need to review it from time to time, if it is something we need to remember.

By the way, I remember the old saying: the more we learn, the more we know; the more we know the more we forget; the more we forget the less we know; the less we know, the more we learn…

If you use pencil and paper for notes taking, it is useful to leave some space on each page for after the lecture reviews. For instance, you can use a column of about 2.5 inches (on the left hand side or on the right hand side of the page) for things you want to write down after the lecture, when you review the notes taken in class. It is also useful to leave some space on the down portion of the page where you write a summary in your own words. You may also use highlighting to stress the main ideas. If you use a laptop or a tablet for notes taking then it is very easy to add cues and a summary when you review your notes. But you must be able to type quickly.

One other benefit of note taking in class is that your brain gets used to distinguish between important ideas and less important details. You should be able to figure out which is the primary topic of discussion, which are the secondary topics, and so on. When you take notes your brain is filtering and organizing the information. This is a very useful process, because it combats forgetfulness.

Still, according to a 2010 Chronicle survey, only 62.5% of students take notes in class. One has to develop a personal notes taking method which will help during the learning process. In class notes taking is certainly one of your college needs.

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