Four Ways to Supercharge Your Note Taking Skills

September 7th, 2010

Yes, it's that time again, out come the back to school checklists. Time to stretch out and brush the dust off of your study habits. This blog post is the first in a series of back to school posts that are designed to help you quickly readjust to school life using today's technology to jump ahead. We're kicking things off with these four tips to help you improve your note taking skills. mind mapping Four Ways to Supercharge Your Note Taking SkillsImage Credit 1. Use an Audio Recorder Whether or not you take written notes, we suggest that you always audio record your lectures (with the teacher's permission, of course). That way, you can be sure that you have captured all information the teacher has given. You may also consider a video recording or you can supplement the audio with photos of the chalk/white board. If you have a smartphone, then you likely already have everything you need, just be sure to have enough charge for the length of the lecture. With the iPhone, you have the built-in recorder app Voice Memo, or you may want to try the free Blue FiRe app. Android phones don't have a built-in recorder, but there are many apps available that you can download (check out the Android Market on your handset). Try a few out until you find the one that fits your needs. One option we like is Rehearsal Assistant, but there are many great apps suited to this purpose. If your smartphone does not support voice recording reliably, then you may consider buying a standalone digital voice recorder. 2. Learn Shorthand Whether you come up with your own system of shortcuts or use a more formal approach, reducing the amount of time it takes to write allows you to focus more on absorbing the content of the lecture and capturing the most important points. Combine shorthand with mind mapping and you have a powerful set of note taking tools. 3. Digitize Your Notes As we move towards an increasingly paperless society, more and more tools are now available to help achieve a paperless reality. Among the advantages of going digital is the ability to search almost instantly with a few keywords as opposed to shuffling through stacks of papers strewn about. Currently, you can easily digitize your notes using your own paper and our Mobile Digital Scribe pen. Here's a review of the product, and check out the video below to see how it works. 4. Outline and Review To gain the most value from your notes, spend ample time in review mode. The quality of that review time will depend on how well you take them in the first of place, so we suggest that you review and edit your “raw” notes right after class, while they are still fresh in your mind. Take the “raw” notes and organize them in either an outline or mind map. Bonus points if you read your outline aloud into a voice recorder for a later listening review while at the gym or doing chores. Do you have any note taking tips and tricks? We would love to hear them! Please take some time and share here on the blog, on Twitter or Facebook.

About the Author



IOGEAR enjoys long walks on the beach and romantic getaways. While not traveling, IOGEAR enjoys a great game of shuffle board whilst playing the banjo.