Note taking has been one of the most helpful, research-tested methods for successfully learning new material since the dawn of education. It’s one very important study habit. Students may find it tedious, but there really is no better way to cement information into their brains. You may be surprised to learn that handwritten note taking is better for your brain because it maximizes learning potential because of the kinesthetic connection between body and brain. Here are some things to consider as you look to refine your study habits.
Review Notes From The Previous Lecture
Before heading into your next class, take some time to review the notes from the previous lecture. This will help kickstart your brain and help you access the pathways initiated in the last class. Think of your mind like a filing cabinet, and before you can add onto to a file, you first need to open it up and rifle through. You can complete this task in as little as ten minutes.
Take Handwritten Notes
While most of us have enjoyed the luxuries of our laptops and iPads, when it comes to note-taking, there is more value in writing your notes by hand. The process engages your brain and body in a process that allows for better retention. Also, because most students type faster than they write, they end up writing down almost exactly what the teacher says. When students take longhand notes, they engage their brain in rewriting the information, a process that helps personalize the information and make it “stick” better. In this way, handwritten note taking is better for your brain. It may be tempting to just take notes on your phone or laptop, especially if you participate in any kind of online school, but you’ll learn much better if you get out the paper and pencil.
Ask Questions to Clarify the Subject
Another helpful study tip is to ask questions as you need clarification. Not only does this show your teacher that you are actively listening, but it also helps your brain absorb information correctly– the first time around. It’s difficult to learn the next building block of information without understanding the first, so be sure to inquire early and often. This can be more difficult if you’re taking classes online, since most lectures aren’t live. However, if you have questions, send a message to your teacher right away instead of just sitting on it.
Pay Attention During the Lecture
All of these tips can help you pay attention during a lecture, which is really your most valuable habit. This might sound obvious, but minds do often wander. Curtail this by being an active notetaker and asking questions; this will ensure your mind is engaged and your brain working at optimum capacity.
Forming good study habits will provide efficiency in your learning. Don’t spend twice as long trying to study; instead, try reviewing previous lectures, taking handwritten notes, asking good questions, and keeping your brain focused during class.