One of the keys to success as a student is to make the best possible studying habits for yourself, and taking good notes is definitely one of them. While it’s an essential part of making sure you understand the course material to the best of your ability, it’s also an art in and of itself in the sense that some methods are better at helping you digest information.
Improving your ability to take in new information can set you up for academic success—especially in a learning environment as enriching as the one at JCU. Here are some tips on how you can take better notes while studying in Rome.
For Best Results, Try Writing Your Notes Down on Paper Rather Than on Your Laptop
While writing notes down on paper might seem like an outdated method in today’s technologically advanced world, it’s actually the more effective method of the two. The reason? Retention of information. Although those typing notes onto their laptop might take more notes, they aren’t necessarily retaining them as well as they might on paper—rather, it’s as if they’re transcribing the course material instead of truly learning from it. This is also to say nothing of the fact that computers can come with all kinds of added distractions. When you write on paper, you are often more inclined to digest what’s being taught by listening and then writing in your own words, therefore allowing for better comprehension of the material.
If You Take Notes on a Laptop, Write the Notes on Paper Afterward
When you study in Italy, there’s so much to take in—especially given the country’s rich heritage in art and history, among other disciplines—that it can be easy to just type everything down on a laptop. Even if writing notes by hand has many benefits, you might still find yourself reaching for your laptop from time to time.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to try taking what you’ve already typed down and rewrite those notes on paper. This will be a way for you to ensure you can retain that information. Not only will it help the course material stick in your head a bit more, but you can look at the notes on your laptop as you go along and choose which parts are important to rewrite, and which ones aren’t. Just make sure you turn off all Internet-related distractions while you do it, though!
Make Your Notes More Visual, if You Consider Yourself a Visual Learner
A great way to learn things when you study abroad is by making visual cues—after all, a “visual learner” is something many of us can consider ourselves. You can make things interesting for yourself while note-taking by making diagrams or charts while writing on paper. This way, the information you take down within each chart or diagram can stick with you more easily, because you’ll have a visual reference to draw them from. You can also use highlighters to emphasize certain points you write down. However, be careful not to highlight too much, as information will get lost in the shuffle when you read over your notes!
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