Note taking skills are one of those things that you are going to need to have in order to have any success in your educational years. If you take good notes, you are more likely to have better materials to study from, and a better understanding of what is going on. If you can’t understand your own notes, you aren’t going to have an easy time studying, and you will be back to Wikipedia trying to study for your next test.
The first thing you need to know is how to write legibly. If you are able to do this, you are going to be able to clearly remember what it is you wrote. You won’t mistake Martin Luther for Marlin Luther and wonder what the heck you are trying to study. Trust me, stuff like that does happen, and it can be funny to watch someone try to study the really bad notes that they were taking in class.
The next thing you need to learn is how to take notes that you can remember. It can be a lot of writing to take all the notes down from one lecture. If you are in a class for anywhere from 40 minutes to over an hour, you can be writing for a long time. This means that you are going to have to take shortcuts and use shorthand to get your notes down.
This means you need to have system so that you can write an abbreviation down and remember what it means the next time you go to study. Initials of a person are great, but are you going to remember it later on? If you aren’t you are better off writing the first few letters of a person’s name. Dates are easier to simplify because you can write out January 3rd, 1984 as 1/3/84 and be done with it. Place names are a little tricky but you can abbreviate countries or states.
Remember to take complete notes. Don’t take notes about the events that were lectured about in class on Monday, and then not take great notes in class on Tuesday. This causes gaps in your notes, and can make it hard to study. You might have a question on the test about what happened in class on Tuesday, and you might be totally blanking.
Taking notes is a crucial element to success in a class so make sure that you are taking notes that you are going to be able to remember, and are using a system that you can use for each class. if you can do that, you are going to be doing well in class, and will never forget a lecture.