How To Learn Faster: When you create your own notes, you are creating your own learning. Here are some tips I’ve learned over the past 10 years working with thousands of students. I hope they are useful for you. :)

1. Listen intently

Listen intently to the person who you are trying to learn from. Listen to what they are saying, listen to what they are not saying, look at the person, try to figure out what they are really trying to convey to you. Most the time people don’t know. If you think you can sit passively in a lecture, in a meeting, at any event for the rest of your life and learn anything meaningful, you’re wrong. By the way, in a time when everyone is distracting it is incredibly fun and engaging to have someone listen intently to you. You can stand out by being a great listener.

2. Connect what you are learning to things you care about.

I learned how to take notes in high school and college by serious teachers. In high school I mostly learned to keep up and I had teachers who encouraged me to think for myself. Those teachers helped me in my college classes. In college I learned that if I wasn’t connecting to what I was learning I wouldn’t care about it so I needed to make the connections for myself.

3. Write down everything you can

Write down everything you see and hear that matters. Write down what matters, don’t just COPY what’s already written. If you’re a student and you’re copying your teacher’s power points and tuning your teacher out you are missing an opportunity. Look at your teacher, listen to them, write down important things they say. Look at their notes, look at your notes, combine them. This goes for profs too. Teachers and professors got into teaching to help kids. It is the biggest compliment you can pay a teacher to listen to what they are trying to tell you. There are people who subscribe to the less-is-more philosophy.

4. Write down your questions

While you are learning write down any questions you have. Think about the questions and if you have an opportunity, ask them. Think about what you are learning and whatever you don’t get, those are your questions. Ask them. Even if it’s just “Huh?” you need to know what you don’t know so you can learn.

5. What’s the big takeaway?

At the end of the lecture, meeting, work session, ask yourself, “What’s the big takeaway from this?” Write that down and any questions you might have for later.

Bonus Tip: Sketching/Drawing

I’ve had students who have a lot of success drawing and sketching in their notebook books. The more visual you are the more important it is to include pictures, sketches, and drawings in your notes.

Having any note taking tips? I’d love to hear them? If they are good I’ll pass them along to my students. Thank you :) If you found anything of value here, please recommend the post below!