Keys to your keyboard

Posted on Friday, February 4, 2022

Did you know that in March 2020, the world experienced 5 years of technological advancement in only 8 weeks? The COVID-19 pandemic has showed us just how powerful the virtual world can be, and what we can achieve being connected online. We’d hope that going into our third calendar year, we’d have mastered the art of online note taking. If this isn’t you, fret not! Here are some tips and tricks to get you tipping, retaining, and memorizing information.

  1. OMI: Only the Main ideas

Don’t feel the rush to write everything down when you hear your professor say something. If you write everything they say, you’re most likely to suffer from information overload when you’ll try to study later!  Be aware of the main ideas and make connections when you hear them. Using abbreviations and short sentences is a key when taking notes: don’t waste time with full sentences as you can come back to your notes later and make further additions. You can equally look at what information is already on the course slide and enhance that information with notes from what your professor is saying.

2. Be an active reader

When reading your material and watching your lectures, you should take notes to get the most out of it. For example, rather than skimming absent-mindedly through your material, take notes while reading the material. If you don't understand something, leave a question mark in the margin, and go back to it later. By doing this, you can be prepared for your upcoming lecture and know what information you’ve already captured ahead of time.

3. Stay organized & clean

Your notes should be readable, organized, and easy to understand. One way to keep your notes organized and structured is to implement a hierarchical structure; for example, start with a primary headline and add sub-topics. Then, underneath the sub-topics, you can start writing bullets points, then proceed with short sentences and main ideas.

  1. Avoid distractions

This can be a tough one! Having the world at your fingertips (We see you Tik Tok) can make it tempting to move your attention from your present class and miss important information. Try as best you can to shut off or set your devices to “Do not disturb”, close all other irrelevant browser tabs and limit using your class time to accomplish other tasks such as cooking, laundry, cleaning, etc.

  1. Review, refresh, repeat

Spending at least 30 minutes every week reviewing all your previous notes will help you to achieve long-term memory so you will be able to recall the material later. This will help you do two things:  notice what notes you find relevant and what notes you don’t which will help you when you got to take notes at your next lecture and, notice if your professor has mentioned the same fact twice or if they repeated a fact.

With all these tips in mind, you’re ready to go seize the keyboard!

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