How to Keep Your Note-Taking Skills Sharp This Summer

By Christine Ascher on June 9, 2018

After finishing finals, the last thing you may want to think about is your in-class note-taking. However, spending some time working on your study skills over the summer can be a great way to set yourself up for success for the next school year. In particular, making sure that your note-taking skills stay sharp, or even improve, this summer will help you get off to a strong start when fall comes around. To make sure that you stay on top of your note-taking game this summer, check out the following tips.

Notes, Notebook, Pen

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Decide Between a Notebook and Your Laptop

While there are advantages and disadvantages to taking notes on your computer and going the old-fashioned route and taking them in a notebook, generally one way will work better than the other for each person. Give some thought to how you take your best notes. In some cases, it may depend on the course material; for instance, in a math class, you’ll probably find that taking notes on paper is a lot easier. However, if your professor covers a lot of material quickly, you may be better off typing your notes, as you’ll be able to get more down. Think about what has worked well for you in the past, and consider practicing each type of note-taking so you can see which method gives you the best results. In some cases, writing notes by hand can help you better absorb the material, so you may want to give it a shot this coming semester. If you’re not used to writing notes in a notebook, take some time to get used to it over the summer, so you’re well-prepared when the school year starts.

Practice Note-Taking in Your Summer School Courses

If you’re taking a summer school course, that gives you a great opportunity to practice your note-taking and to try to improve it. As you’ll likely have fewer responsibilities to juggle over the summer, you’ll be able to spend more time preparing for class and reviewing your notes afterward. You may want to try out some new note-taking methods, which you can prepare your notebook for before class. Then, after your lecture, reflect on how that method worked for you. Check out the notes you took during class to see how they compare with your typical note-taking techniques. Especially when it comes time for you to study for your exams, you’ll be able to get a better idea of what note-taking strategies are the most beneficial for you.

Incorporate Note-Taking into Your Internship

If you’re taking a break from school this summer and interning instead, you can still use your internship experience as an opportunity to maintain your note-taking skills. You’ll be learning a lot as an intern, whether it’s seeing the way that a company runs, learning how to use a specific software, or figuring out how to handle certain responsibilities, so you’ll have plenty to jot down as you go through your day-to-day tasks. Try to keep a notebook handy or use your computer to take notes on what you’re learning. In addition to helping you work on note-taking for the following school year, you’ll also end up with a great set of notes that will help you retain everything you learned during your internship.

Reflect on Your Previous Note-Taking

Even if you don’t have the specific opportunity to work on your note-taking for school or an internship, it can be beneficial to take some time to go back through your notes from the previous semester and to think about what worked for you and what didn’t. Once you’ve finished finals, think about how your lecture notes helped you study. If you didn’t look at them often, try to determine why that could be. Were they too wordy and hard to get through? Did they not give you enough information? Whatever problem you found with them, make a resolution to fix that problem this coming semester. If you have a goal in mind for how to improve your notes for the following semester, you’ll definitely get off to a stronger start.

Try Out Some New Note-Taking Techniques

While it may seem silly to practice taking notes when you’re not in school, it can actually go a long way in helping you get your ideal grades in the future. One way that you can practice this summer is by trying out new note-taking methods that you think could work for you. Especially if you tend to just scribble down everything your professor says, you could benefit by trying out a new way to take notes. By using a specific note-taking technique, you’ll put more thought into what you do and don’t write down, which will help you reflect on what you’re learning at the moment in addition to helping you compile meaningful notes that you can study from later on.

Note-taking probably isn’t going to be a top priority for you this summer. However, if you dedicate a little bit of time to sharpening your note-taking skills, whether through self-reflection or through incorporating note-taking into your summer responsibilities, you’ll ensure that you’re ready for a new school year when fall comes around.

By Christine Ascher

Uloop Writer
Hi! I'm Christine and I'm currently a senior at the University of Southern California, where I study English Literature, Economics, and French.

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