How to take notes during a lecture:
My Focus Notes
Instead of transcribing exactly what the professor says, capture the big ideas or main points. Pause your lecture at each main point. Going through the process in your mind of thinking about what the lecture has said and then re-wording it to what you have gathered out of it solidifies the concept. This allows you to better understand the actual concepts being taught.
- Take notes in the form of short questions followed by short answers, this will help with your MCQ's.
- Group together the questions and idea's which cover the same topic into a cluster.
- Don't hesitate to make reference to your own notes within other notes. When you review your notes later and don't understand a topic, it helps to see where you reference to more notes that might help you understand.
- Add a few general background questions regarding the topic at the end of the cluster, I review the MCQ's in the section and then write the ones down that I miss at the bottom of the notes that the section applies too. Write the question, answer, AND the explanation as to why this is the answer.
To study using these notes: print each cluster onto its own page. Format the answers so that they’re not on the same line as their question. Proceed through the cluster, trying to answer each question out loud without peeking at the answer. (I use a sheet of blank paper to block the answer.) If you get more than one answer wrong, then treat the entire cluster as unlearned and return to it later.
I hand write all my notes, so when I start a new section/area I use a fresh piece of paper. I write my learning objectives at the top (typically found in your study book at the beginning). Then at the end of my notes I write a 1-3 paragraph summary of what I learned. This summary is what I read 2-3 times a week to keep the information fresh in my mind.