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

Note-taking lessons given on South

By Rosa Martinez Rodriguez/reporter

Students usually forget half of a lecture within an hour after class is over, a South Campus counselor told students Feb. 17.

In a seminar on Effective Note Taking, Steve Rakoff said note taking can be difficult because it is hard to write everything someone is saying and because those words can be quickly forgotten.

“People don’t have the skill,” he said. “Note taking is a skill that requires active listening and organization.”

Rakoff said when people actively listen, they are usually thinking about what is said and can identify the main idea. Therefore, a person can summarize and remember facts and the order of sequence of an event.

But students often get overwhelmed with the information and wonder what is important to write and what is not, Rakoff said. Instructors will give hints such as writing on the board, slowing the lecture pace or repeating information.

Organization is also important in taking effective notes, Rakoff said. He recommended using three ring binders for convenience and different colored pens to read important information more easily and to make it fun. He gave an example of using red ink to write information that will most likely be on exams.

Furthermore, writing on one side of the page, writing remarks on the left or right side of the red line of a paper and leaving two spaces in between main ideas keep notes neat and easy to read, he said.

Abbreviating words is another suggestion Rakoff gave students. Abbreviating common names or long words can make note taking effortless and quick as long as the person knows what their abbreviations mean, Rakoff said. For example, the word “abbreviation” could be “abbrev.” 

Students can also use symbols for their notes. For example, instead of writing a word, students can use @, =, & or $. Rakoff said students need to know their meaning because sometimes it could get confusing.

Some people use the Bliss symbol technique, Pittmand shorthand or Dutton speed words. However, anyone can make up their own abbreviations and symbols.

Rakoff said different material sometimes require a certain technique of note taking. An example would be college algebra, which requires problem-solving. He advised students to draw a line in the middle of the paper and write the principle on the left side and the examples on the right side.

Jecika Witt, South Campus freshman, said she already has a method of taking notes, but the seminar helped her discover new techniques.

Rakoff said although taking notes sounds simple, some students have difficulty because they don’t actively listen because of visual distractions, thought distractions or boredom. Rakoff offered advice to students who are distracted because of problems at home.

“Leave your thoughts at the door,” he said.

Some distractions can also be in the classroom. Rakoff used a couple who were in the same class as an example.

One was very serious about education, but the other one was not.

“The guy broke up with this girl because she was not serious about school,” he said.

Rakoff said people who sit in the front tend to do better than the ones who sit in the back because they can focus on the lecture rather than distractions in class.

He also said students should prepare before class by reviewing prior notes, reading the topic of the day and writing any questions to keep the lecture interesting. And after class is over (preferably within an hour after class), he suggested reviewing notes to reorganize them, to fill in any missing information and to label key words and main ideas.

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