Taking notes as a college student can be challenging. Many classes take place in huge classrooms with poor acoustics, which can make what the professor is saying difficult to follow. Even if you can hear the words clearly, it can be hard to write fast enough to keep up with a professor who talks too quickly. No-tech rules in classrooms don't make the struggle any easier for college students who type faster than they can write by hand.
As you look around, you may wonder how other students are managing to keep up and wish you could sneak a look at their notes after class. But asking to borrow notes from every other person in the room would be awkward and time-consuming, wouldn't it?
An Ingenious Solution for College Students
One group of college students has come up with an ingenious solution to the problem of taking notes in class. They worked together, taking notes simultaneously in a shared Google document. This class-wide collaboration lasted throughout an entire semester, allowing students to pool their knowledge and help each other out during study sessions. The word viral is used loosely here, but take a look at the Twitter post from a University of Pennsylvania PhD student and graduate teaching assistant that sparked this conversation.
Collaboration Helps College Students Succeed
In addition to taking notes in the shared Google document, students also marked places where they were confused or could not follow what the lecturer was saying. Other students rushed in to help, giving explanations and answering questions from their peers. By sharing their knowledge in this way, students not only ensured no one was left behind, but they also engaged more deeply with the material than if they were simply taking notes on their own. College and career readiness means being able to think critically and apply solutions just like this to practical problems in work and life.
Revolutionizing Note-Taking in Your School
You can also benefit from this collaborative approach to taking notes in college classes. Why not get together with your friends and agree to share your notes with each other? If your classrooms allow laptops and other technological devices to take notes, you could set up a similar sharing solution instead of relying on pen and paper. Google Docs makes file sharing easy, and it's free to use.
Tips for Taking Notes in College
College bound? Take note. Many students make the mistake of trying to write down every word that comes out of the professor's mouth. This method is sure to leave you struggling to keep up in class. A better approach is to listen attentively and take down only the most important points.
Before you start taking notes in class, find out what you actually need to record. Some professors make PowerPoint slides available to view after the lecture, which means you don't need to record the information already presented there. If you're not sure what resources will be available, be sure to ask.
During class, there isn't always time to ask questions. However, if any questions arise while you're listening to the lecture, be sure to write them down. Follow up with your professor to find out the answers.
Making the Most of College Notes
The notes you take in class will only help you learn if you take the time to review them, preferably as soon as possible. Use this time to edit and expand on the notes, as well as reading them carefully to help the material take root.