Fun Activities That Teach Note-Taking Skills for College Students

Enhance study skills by taking proper notes in class.
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Note takers can typically only jot down 25 of the 125 words the average college professor speaks in a minute. College students need efficient note-taking skills to record the most pertinent information from a lecture. Useful, informative notes provide students with helpful study materials and also guide them to answers while taking open-note tests. Some college level students lack proper note-taking skills and benefit from fun classroom activities focused on practicing these skills.

1 Outlining

When students create notes from professor lectures or in-class videos, they must quickly fill their pages with information but cannot include everything. By making outlines and using keywords, college students organize material in a way that summarizes the main points of lectures. As a fun activity for outlining, ask students to make outlines of casual conversations with their friends or scenes from favorite television shows. They will sharpen note-taking skills by grouping familiar content into main topics and subtopics.

2 Mind Mapping

Mind mapping allows students to focus on one main idea and break it down into smaller categories. They will draw circles in the middle of their papers with words or phrases in them and surround them with connecting circles containing related topics. College students can practice mind mapping with fun subjects to prepare for using mind maps when taking class notes. Start a group mind map by circling the term "spring break" on the center of the white board. Students will take turns attaching terms that relate to spring break and collectively create a class mind map.

3 Analyzing Notes

Analyzing notes and instructions allows college students to determine what works for them. Review various product assembly instructions with students and ask them to notice how the arrangement of information helps to guide each process. Write a set of instructions for building a paper airplane but leave out a key step in the process. This will illustrate the importance of including all key factors of a lecture. Students should swap notes following a lecture to review the strategies of their peers and get new ideas.

4 Picture Notes

College students should take comprehensive notes including diagrams, graphs and illustrations. Ask students to review their notes from a recent class lecture and find ways to replace words with diagrams or pictures. For a fun activity, present a mock lecture and challenge students to record information without using any words. By breaking the information down into symbols and pictures, students gain new note-taking skills. They will then share the illustrated notes with the class to showcase their creativity.

Based in Southern California, Audrey Lucas has nine years of experience teaching preschool children. She contributes to the parenting section of her local children's magazine. Lucas graduated from California State University, San Marcos, in 2006, earning a Bachelor of Arts in liberal studies with an emphasis in literature and writing.