Taking notes during class is a study of self-discipline. It is a conscious effort to listen to the teacher while writing at the same time. One study revealed that respondents recalled half of the information the next day, and about 20% after two weeks. There is also another advantage if you keep notes. You can actually sell university notes to websites that will keep them and pay for your efforts.
But how do you prepare self-study notes? The easy way is the 5Rs method.
- Record — Write down all the valuable information in your notebook. It will serve as the condensed form of the lecture.
- Reduce — After that, you edit your notes. You can highlight some areas that you think are meaningful enough for further study. When you summarize, you:
- Understand better some of the concepts and contextualize them with the bigger picture
- Boost your retention of the information
- It allows you to study subconsciously so that you only need to review during an upcoming exam.
- Recite — You might think it is memorization, but it really is not. You need to say out loud the notes, and you must use your own words. This way, you know that you understand the lecture.
- Reflect — You take the process another level. What is your opinion of the lecture? Do you agree or disagree with the concepts? If a person emerges from a cave and asks you to explain the idea, would you be able to do it without looking at the notes?
- Review — When it is time for the exam, you can go back to your notes to review. But you do not need to rack your brain on the eve of the test. Encountering the same information will already refresh your memory.
When you record the lecture on your notebook, it would also help if you write at the margins for your opinions and views. Any questions you may have on the concepts shared by the teacher can be brought up in the next session.
Why not simply bring a laptop to class? That is because you retain the information better when you transfer what you wrote to the computer. Also, no matter how fast you type, you could never catch up to the lecturer.
Writing long-hand is quicker and more efficient. Some students also developed a system to write even faster. For instance, they skip the articles, prepositions, and connecting verbs to focus on the keywords. They can then work later on to make sense of what they wrote.
Noting the lecture has helped millions of students across the world. And it will help you, too. The best part is that you can make money if you sell university notes afterward. If you put up your notes on a website, you can earn a royalty every time someone downloads your paper from the site. The royalty fee is usually 50% of the price of the download.
Why not start with the 5Rs method now if you are having a tough time following the lectures? And if you are done with your notes, someone somewhere will have a use for them.