The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

TR advisor’s workshop emphasizes taking notes

By Drew Williams/reporter

Being named one of the top students at her campus isn’t enough for TR student Anita Weddle.

At 43, Weddle is the oldest member of the Trinity River All-Stars, a group of 18 panel-interviewed, exemplary students on campus.

Maintaining the All-Star-required 3.0 GPA isn’t an easy task, Weddle said.

So, along with many fellow students, she attended a lunchtime workshop Oct. 5 on TR Campus.

They Talk So Fast! Taking Useful Notes in Lecture was led by Dr. James Hood, a TR academic advisor, who emphasized the importance of taking good notes in class.

“Taking notes isn’t about writing down what’s most important necessarily. It’s about writing down what your instructor considers to be most important,” he said.

“And sometimes that can be two different things.”

Hood has been an academic advisor at TCC for 12 years. 

His first 10 years were spent on South Campus before he moved to TR.

The presentation covered ideas to get the most out of one’s notes, starting with the basics. Regular class attendance and the location of the student’s desk can contribute to success, Hood said.

For example, he said sitting in the middle of the classroom can actually cut down on the amount of time students spend daydreaming in class.

Hood offered advice on how to keep an eye out for the instructor’s cues, such as writing things on the blackboard or emphasizing things with repeated hand gestures.

Hood then talked about how to increase note-taking speed.

“Don’t be afraid to abbreviate and don’t worry about spelling a word right,” he said. “As long as you can understand what you wrote down, abbreviating can really save you time. If you misspell a word, you can always find the correct spelling in the book later.”

Hood introduced several note-taking styles that were new to many of the students, including the mind-mapping/cluster format and the Cornell format.

The Cornell approach includes a cue column, a note-taking area and an area at the bottom of the page where students can write a summary of the lecture.

And as for Weddle, even though she’s already an All-Star, she believes there is nowhere to go but up.

“I’m just trying to learn how to become the smartest student possible,” she said.

Hood answered positively when asked if note taking is one of the biggest ingredients in college success.

“Absolutely, without a doubt,” he said. “Taking good notes, along with active listening, should be able to tremendously increase your ability to regurgitate what you’ve reviewed, studied and heard.”

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