It is important to remember that there’s more than one way to take good notes. In fact, there are actually a number of different note taking strategies that may be able to help you improve your note taking. However, one of the note taking strategies that a number of note takers use is charting. Charting is when a note taker attempts to place all of the key points that his or her teacher or professor has discussed during class in a table or graph. This strategy can be very helpful when your teacher or professor is discussing a series of concepts that fall into different categories or a series of concepts that are closely related, but there are a couple of things that you should know about charting before you use it.
- First, to create a chart for a class, you need to be able to identify categories that will allow you to record details about every major concept. This is important because charting can actually make it more difficult for you to take notes if the categories that you have chosen are not broad enough to cover all of the information that you may have to write down. For example, if your teacher or professor is discussing the civil war, you might be tempted to use each of the years from 1861 to 1865 as your categories because these are the years in which the war took place. However, there is a very good chance that your teacher or professor may discuss some of the events that may have led up to the war and/or some of the events that occurred after the war, which means that it may be a better idea to use simpler categories such as the date, event, and impact. This method, as a result, can be very helpful when you know what to expect, but it is very difficult to use when you don’t know what your teacher or professor is going to discuss.
- Secondly, once you have identified your categories, you need to make sure that you have a series of columns that have enough space for you to write the information that you may need to write in each category. This is important because one of the main advantages of the charting method is that it will allow you to record a lot of information in a very short period of time. However, this method will only work if you have actually left yourself enough space to write everything down without searching for an empty spot on the page, and you may have trouble keeping your notes organized and/or keeping up with your teacher or professor if you’re constantly looking for somewhere to cram more information.